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Neowise and Starry Skies

July 16, 2020

The universe fills my heart with such wonder and awe.

2020 has been a wild year for many, full of unpredictable roundabouts and plot twists, but if you keep your eyes open and treasure every moment of grace amidst the chaos, you'll find an abundance of silver linings. Mid-summer, one of the rarest of blessings graced our stellar neighborhood to remind us of the wonder of this existence we are falling through.

Red Rock Canyon, Cantil, CA

I got out with some friends to Red Rock Canyon to catch comet NEOWISE, a visitor that only comes around every 7,000 years or so.

We climbed on top of a hill for a decent vantage point and set up our tripods just in time to spot the comets tail fading into view.

Neowise and Starry Skies

Fossil Falls, Coso, CA

We didn't have much time at Red Rock Canyon before NEOWISE tucked below the high horizon from our vantage point. We took chase, continuing down to Fossil Falls, only to catch the tail end of it dashing behind a cinder cone.

I would have loved more time to observe and frame it differently, but comet or no, I enjoy every moment under the stars. It was satisfying to meander here, pointing my camera in every direction, taking the same photo of the galaxy again and again, giddy with joy at each exposure.

For the curious, most of the remaining images were shot at 10s, f/1.4, 3200 ISO. This is much noisier than I usually prefer, but I was thrilled at how luminous the galaxy looked and at how much foreground came through on such a dark night.

As I processed these images, I noticed what looked like a smudge through part of the set. To my surprise, it was galaxy Andromeda! I hadn't expected that my untrained skills could capture other galaxies. I felt a rush of accomplishment and inspiration at the discovery. The universe fills my heart with such wonder and awe.

Fossil Falls, Coso, CA
Neowise and Starry Skies