October 19, 2011
Ann left back to New York today, so I’m on my own for the next two and a half weeks. It will be lonely since she had encouraged me through the whole process of applying for the residencies. She would help here with the scouting of locations, cook our great meals, as well as editing the blog. Though she usually preferred Dickens to standing outside in the dark and cold looking at stars. We drove this morning to the Flagstaff airport which Ann reports as being quite small and quaint. They don’t have automated check-in kiosks, you have to deal with an actual person. And no public address system, she said a man comes out at the solo gate to announce your flight, saying, “All Aboard!”
I picked up more food in Flagstaff so I’ll have some to take to Petrified Forest next week. Managed to find a fabric shop next to a Michael’s art supply that had black cloth I can use to solve the reflection problems with the lens filter.
Rene tells me in an email to meet Betty at the park headquarters library and she will tell me the location of the not-well-known South Rim aspen grove that is in full color now. So I walk there and she hands me a topo map with instructions where to find the dirt lot to park and a path to walk to a culvert, which you walk carefully down towards the canyon rim (hopefully not too fast) and there one will find the aspens. So I’ll check that out tomorrow.
Last night had some successes and partial successes. The quarter moon rose in such a weird fashion, behind some layered clouds or smoke that Ann said looked like modern artwork. It reminded me of the striated layers of the canyon walls. Never seen a moon rise like that. Was working two cameras at that point, running back and forth to shoot the moon, then to shoot the moon light on the canyon.
Earlier in the night I spent some time using my Astro-Trac, a device that tracks the stars so you can take photos of individual objects, like galaxies, star clusters, planets. And it works really well if you remember to bring the instructions, which I didn’t. So I attached it to my tripod as I remember from using it about a year ago, that turned out to be about 90 degrees from where it is supposed to be. You have to align it with the north star, which I didn’t do quite well since the photos still showed streaks of the stars in the long exposures. But, I got the Andromeda Galaxy, the Pleiades star cluster (“the Seven Sisters” or “Subaru” in Japanese) and some detail of the Milky Way. When I finally figure it out, I hope the photos to be better.