Milky Way in Navajoland: YIKÁÍSDÁHÁ

May 13, 2014

Milky Way over Monument Valley Navajo Park. Photo by Gavin Heffernan and Harun Mehmedinović, from the video

Milky Way over Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park. Photo by Gavin Heffernan and Harun Mehmedinović, from the video (which also features Grand Canyon National Park)

Phil Plait’s column/blog at Slate, Bad Astronomy, put me on to this one.  Wow.

You can see it at Vimeo, and read a lot more about the making of the film.

YIKÁÍSDÁHÁ (Navajo for Milky Way or “That Which Awaits the Dawn”)

Phil wrote:

And that they do. The Milky Way is the star of the show; the galactic bulge, disk, and dark fingers of vast dust lanes as clear as if this were taken from space. Well, sort of; I was impressed by the mix of clouds and sky, to be honest. The contrast was interesting, and it’s rather amazing the Milky Way could stand out so clearly above the cloud line.

One thing I want to point out specifically: At 2:10 in, a meteor flashes and leaves behind a curling wisp of what looks like smoke. This is called a persistent train, the vaporized remains of the meteoroid itself, and can glow for several minutes. The upper level winds from 60–100 km above Earth’s surface are what blow it into those curlicues.

More details, for more films from these guys:

Shot and Produced by: Gavin Heffernan and Harun Mehmedinović
Music: A Seated Night (Ambient) by Moby. Courtesy MobyGratis.com / Unknown Native Chant
Thanks: Northern Arizona University, Grand Canyon National Park, Monument Valley Tribal Park.

See other Sunchaser Timelapses on Vimeo here: vimeo.com/album/189653
LIKE Sunchaser Pictures on Facebook! facebook.com/SunchaserPicturesPage
LIKE Bloodhoney on Facebook! facebook.com/blood.honey.by.harun.mehmedinovic

For more from the artists:

BloodHoney.com
SunchaserPictures.com

 


Insta-Millard: “Not available on the App Store” — real child’s play

May 9, 2014

Found on Twitter:

Deep thoughts on Twitter, about children, childhood, recess and play. https://twitter.com/IntThings/status/464766923201576960

Deep thoughts on Twitter, about children, childhood, recess and play. https://twitter.com/IntThings/status/464766923201576960


Milky Way from Joshua Tree N.P..

May 5, 2014

From the U.S Department of Interior Twitter feed:  To celebrate being named to the @TIME #Twitter140, here is an amazing photo from @JoshuaTreeNP. pic.twitter.com/F4DS5Xv9vq

From the U.S Department of Interior Twitter feed: To celebrate being named to the @TIME #Twitter140, here is an amazing photo from @JoshuaTreeNP. pic.twitter.com/F4DS5Xv9vq

Milky Way in a long exposure with a light-painted tree in Joshua Tree National Park, California.

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Dark Sky Week, Lyrid meteor shower – get outside!

April 23, 2014

From the Arches National Park Facebook page:  photo of Pine Tree Arch by Andy Porter)

From the Arches National Park Facebook page: photo of Pine Tree Arch and meteoroid by Andy Porter)

A few minutes before 9:00 p.m. Central on Tuesday, I saw a sizable fireball falling north to south, appearing from my vantage on the top of Cedar Hill to be over south Grand Prairie, Texas.  Best meteoroid I’ve seen for a while.

Part of the Lyrid Meteor Shower, perhaps?  The Lyrids coincide with Dark Sky Week this year.  Dark Sky Week’s egalitarian origins should inspire all of us to go outside and look up, no?  The celebration was invented by a high school student, Jennifer Barlow, in 2003.

I want people to be able to see the wonder of the night sky without the effects of light pollution. The universe is our view into our past and our vision into the future . . . I want to help preserve its wonder.” – Jennifer Barlow

The International Dark Sky Association promotes activities worldwide to encourage star-gazing and sky-watching.

Go out tonight, and look up!

More: 

 


Daytime Moon and jet

April 17, 2014

Passenger jet and Moon.  Photo by Rodger Schmitt, from Lake Powell, Utah.

Passenger jet and Moon. Photo by Rodger Schmitt, from Lake Powell, Utah.

Handheld Nikon.  Nikon stabilizing lens.  Good hands, I’d say.

Third to last time I was out near Lake Powell, I was with Rodger (and about a dozen others) organizing hearings of the President’s Commission on Americans Outdoors.  We flew into Page, Arizona, on an Otter II coming up from Phoenix flying low, looking for elk, and legally buzzing Rainbow Bridge (impressive from the air, too).

We had a luncheon meeting at Wahweap Marina, as I recall; no time for boating.

Then we were off to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon.  There we inspected pine trees 30 feet tall, growing between the ties of the then-abandoned rail lines.  (And did a lot of other stuff.)

Today trains carry tourists to the South Rim on those tracks, the trees gone.  Progress, really.

Rodger carries on in the knowledge that use of the outdoors, especially these public lands, heals souls, and sometimes gives you great photos.

Rodger said I could borrow the photo.  Thanks!


Joshua Tree National Park at night

January 19, 2014

A long exposure, you can tell by the airplane streaks near the horizon.  Walking that fine photography edge of long enough to get the exposure, but short enough not to distort the stars too much.

Long exposure of a Joshua tree, in Joshua Tree National Park. Photo: Sarah Chah (www.sharetheexperience.org)

Long exposure of a Joshua tree, in Joshua Tree National Park. Photo: Sarah Chah (www.sharetheexperience.org)

Captioned at America’s Great Outdoors Tumblr, by the U.S. Department of Interior:

Viewed from the road, this desert park only hints at its vitality. Closer examination reveals a fascinating variety of plants and animals that make their home in this land shaped by strong winds, unpredictable torrents of rain, and climatic extremes. Dark night skies, a rich cultural history, and surreal geologic features add to the attraction of this place. Come see Joshua Tree National Park for yourself!

Photo: Sarah Chah (www.sharetheexperience.org)


You should visit Yosemite National Park in winter

January 11, 2014

Here’s why, another video from the good people at Yosemite National Park:

Any of the National Parks is special, in winter.  What is your snow and cold experience in them?

More:

Winter photo of the Yosemite Valley, by Q T Luong -- a key photo used by the Ken Burns group in their series of films on the National Parks.

Winter photo of the Yosemite Valley, by Q T Luong — a key photo used by the Ken Burns group in their series of films on the National Parks.


Something about a campfire, in Arches National Park

November 8, 2013

Campfire in Arches National Park, by John Dale

Photographer John Dale wrote: “We rolled in to Arches National Park to a beautiful sunset and got to our campsite just as it got dark, but that left us with a clear sky, plenty of stars, and a fire to warm up next to. Here’s a photo from the timelapse I took that night.”

From a photographer named John Dale, via Arches National Park’s Facebook page.

More:

Map of Arches National Park, Utah, United Stat...

Map of Arches National Park, Utah, United States showing predominant features such as arches, peaks, rivers and streams, mines, and roads. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Sunrise at Hawk Mountain, Pennsylvania

October 4, 2013

Photograph posted on Facebook by the Hawk Mountain Sanctuary Association:

Sunrise at Hawk Mountain, Quelia Paulino, Hawk Mountain Sanctuary

Planning a trip to Hawk Mountain this weekend? Arrive early to enjoy great views of low-hanging fog and to see the sun peek out over the valley. It’s a great way to start any day. — with Quelia Paulino at Hawk Mountain Sanctuary Association.

More: 


Top o’ the world to you

September 3, 2013

Top of Colorado, anyway.

View from Longs Peak, yesterday:

View from Long's Peak, September 2, 2013; 14,259 ft.  Photo by Xiang Li.

View from Longs Peak, September 2, 2013; 14,259 ft. Photo by Xiang Li.

Xiang Li and James Darrell summited the mountain yesterday, a bit tougher climb than they had expected.  No view like that comes without some great effort somewhere.  They topped Grays Peak a couple of weeks ago — a slightly higher mountain (20 feet), but an easier climb.

Long’s Peak is the highest point in Rocky Mountain National Park.

Longs Peak is one of the 54 mountains with summits over 14,000 feet in Colorado.[3] It can be prominently seen from Longmont, Colorado, as well as from the rest of the Colorado Front Range. It is named after Major Stephen Long, who explored the area in the 1820s. Longs Peak is one of the most prominent mountains in Colorado, rising nearly 10,000 feet above the western edge of the Great Plains.

More:


Steens Mountain, sunrise, or sunset?

July 31, 2013

Either someone just spent a very cold night to get a photo, or they’re getting ready to spend a very cold night.

Which is it?

Steens Mountain in #Oregon

US Dept of Interior: If you haven’t seen Steens Mountain in #Oregon, you really should check out this stunning photo from @BLMOregon pic.twitter.com/H2eePMmfsX

Steens Mountain at sunrise is a very popular image for photographers — but very few get a shot from the mountain itself like this one.

Steens Mountain is a large fault-block mountain in the southeastern part of the U.S. state of Oregon. Located in Harney County, it stretches some 50 miles (80 km) long north to south, and rises from alongside the Alvord Desert at elevation of about 4,200 feet (1,300 m) to a summit elevation of 9,733 feet (2,967 m). It is sometimes confused with a mountain range, but is properly a single mountain.

More:

English: The Alvord Desert playa, looking sout...

The Alvord Desert playa, looking southeast from Steens Mountain, southeast Oregon; Wikipedia image


Craig Clyde’s “Flowers on Timpanogos”

July 27, 2013

Photo by Craig Clyde, who explained:

Spent the night on the north end of Mount Timpanogos at 10,000 feet, by myself, taking it all in.

Flowers on the north end of Utah's Mt. Timpanogos, about 10,000 feet up.  Photo by Craig Clyde.

Flowers on the north end of Utah’s Mt. Timpanogos, about 10,000 feet up. Photo by Craig Clyde.

Photo from July 25, 2013. Flowers include “Blue-pod Lupine, Narrow Goldenrod, Giant Red Paintbrush and Mountain Bluebells.”

Contact him for prints for framing.


Return of the roadrunners

July 13, 2013

Our move to Texas in 1987 offered as one amenity, local roadrunners.

Camp Wisdom road was mostly two lanes then — it’s six, now.  Clark Road was two lanes.  It’s expanded to six, with a direct link to the freeway Spur 408.  Wheatland Road was two lanes.  You guessed it: Six now.

Not sure about baseball fields any more, but with roads, if you build ‘em, people will come.  The empty prairie and cedar forests favored by golden-cheeked warblers, and favorable to lizard-eating roadrunners, gave way to bulldozers putting up apartment complexes, strip shopping centers (still mostly vacant), self-storage businesses, and more roads.  Roads bring automobiles, and autos provide collision courses for roadrunners.

In the summer, I used to see a roadrunner at least weekly at the intersection of Camp Wisdom and Clark; once watched one hunt down a very large Texas fence lizard and dash off with the lizard dangling from either side of its beak.  In the era before electronic cameras.

All that development takes the habitat of roadrunners, and that is the slow death of much wildlife.  Roadrunners dwindled down.  About 2009 we discussed how rare they were.  In 2011 Kathryn and I saw one lone roadrunner along Old Clark Road in Cedar Hill, precariously living in a 50-yard swath between two roads (which are slated to be widened), sharing a railroad track.  Nothing since.

Mama and chick roadrunners

Mama roadrunner gives me the eyeball from the safety of the cedar tree, while the chick grooms. Is it safe to go out into the sun?

Until two weeks ago.  Kathryn called me, excited that she’d seen a roadrunner crossing Mountain Creek Parkway, where Wheatland Road dead-ends into it.  It’s good roadrunner weather.  We were happy to know at least one survived.

Then, last Thursday I was driving along Old Clark Road.  I brought along the Pentax K10D because I was hopeful of catching the hawk family living a block off of Wheatland and Cedar Ridge Roads.  A roadrunner dashed across the road from a small ranchette into a “vacant” field of wild prairie grasses dotted with Ashe cedars.  My experience is they are reclusive, and don’t like to be watched.  I grabbed the camera and got a couple of shots of the bird, running under a tree and meeting up with another, smaller one — a chick!

I doubled back and u-turned, hoping they might at least dash.  The larger one danced on the edge of the shadow of the tree for a minute, then uncharacteristically strutted out, hunting something to eat.  She got something that looked like a lizard, or a fantastically large grasshopper, and a few other tidbits from the grass.  She strutted around, and headed back to the shade, and to the younger one.

Mama Roadrunner flaps happily after ingesting a large something.

Mama Roadrunner flaps happily after ingesting a large something.

Roadrunners, the greater roadrunner, Geococcyx californianus (which means “Californian Earth-cuckoo,” a description of many politicians in the Golden State, perhaps).

I shot stills, with a 50-200 mm telephoto zoom, and I got a bunch of shots.  I strung them together in Windows Moviemaker.

Are the roadrunners doing okay?  Not really.  They’re not gone, but much of their old habitat disappeared from this hill, the highest point in Texas between the Louisiana border and the Rockies — swallowed by human development, homes, suburban shopping, and the roads that go with that development.

How are roadrunners doing in your area?  Got pictures?  (Cindy Knoke has a longer telephoto than I’ve got, and photos to prove it; go see.)

Greater Roadrunner running

Greater Roadrunner doing what roadrunners to, back to the shade of a cedar tree and her chick. It was 102 degrees F, after all.

More:


Time lapse at Everest – Elia Saikaly

June 13, 2013

English: Mount Everest North Face as seen from...

Mount Everest North Face as seen from the path to the base camp, Tibet. Wikipedia image

A pick from the staff at Vimeo.

It’s astonishing how many people ascend Mt. Everest in our time.  Look at the tent city.

Everest’s beauty is stunning, always has been, but is now revealed by high-definition image capture unavailable just 10 years ago, now distributed by the internet.

These photos are mostly from about 25,000 feet in elevation — about where much domestic U.S. air travel occurs.  The weather up there is spectacular, if you’re not in it. It’s spectactular if you’re in it, too — but I’m viewing it from Dallas, where we’re above 90 degrees in the day, now, just 800 feet above sea level.

As these climbers risk their lives in adventure (10% of all people who attempt to summit, die), the Himalayas suffer from effects of global climate change.  Pakistan suffers from flooding today from premature and quick melting of glaciers.

What a great planet we have.  Can we keep it?

Notes from the film maker, Elia Saikaly:

eliasaikaly.com
Experience the beauty of Mt. Everest at night in time-lapse.

While most climbers slept, I attempted to capture some of the magic that the Himalayan skies have to offer while climbing to the top of the world.

Here’s a bit of what I endured at the end to make this possible: eliasaikaly.com/2013/05/into-the-death-zone/

One of the most rewarding parts of the journey was being able to share it with thousands of students on epals.com/everest

This time lapse video is comprised of thousands of photographs, processed and assembled on Mt. Everest.

Shot on a Canon 5D Mark II
-Canon 2.8 16-35mm
-Canon 2.8 24-70mm
-Canon 2.8 70-200mm (which was way to heavy to carry beyond 6400M)
-TL Remote was purchased off eBay

Edited in Final Cut Pro
Processed in Adobe LightRoom
Movies compiled in Quicktime

Music: A Heartbeat away purchased on goo.gl/AJZcM

I hope you enjoy it. If you do, please leave a comment and let me know what you think.

My stock footage, professional and charitable work can be see on my website at eliasaikaly.com
And on FB: facebook.com/elia.saikaly.adventurer

More:

2004 photo mosaic the Himalayas with Makalu an...

2004 photo mosaic the Himalayas with Makalu and Mount Everest from the International Space Station, Expedition 8. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Holes in the wall, Glen Canyon NRA

June 11, 2013

Ever get one of those days you just want to find a nice, warm hole and crawl inside?

Then head out to Glen Canyon National Recreation Area:

There are many unique areas within America’s public lands. Case in point this spot in Glen Canyon National Recreation Area.  Photo: Cassandra Crowley

Caption from America’s Great Outdoors: There are many unique areas within America’s public lands. Case in point this spot in Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. Photo: Cassandra Crowley

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