Meteors and other camping phenomena

Hello everyone! How are you? Cobalt and I went camping last weekend! On Saturday afternoon, we and our friends M and E (and their dog Bear) and K (and her dog Josie) piled into two cars with tons of camping supplies and hit the road to go camping in Umatilla National Forest!

So I like car camping because you don’t have to carry all of your stuff on your back and you have plenty of room for all the fun camera supplies you want. I had an extra bag full of a tripod, a variety of lenses, and my trusty DSLR because I was hoping to photograph the Perseid meteor shower.

While I gave myself a crazy photo challenge of trying to catch meteors streaking across a random spot in the sky, I think that camping offers a fun environment to try night time photography. It’s usually way darker out there since one point of camping is to get away from the city. And wow you can see so many stars (unless the moon is out…)! Plus it’s just fun to play with light when it’s dark. So I thought I’d talk a little about that, show off some crazy night sky pictures, and then we’ll top it all off with some fun hike pictures from the next day. Sound good?

Great. Let’s get started. So for those of you have followed this blog for a while, you’ll know that Cobalt and I love taking weird photos at night. There are some creepy ones like this one of him sneaking up on me. There’s a romantic one of us with the Big Dipper. Plus there are some weird ones like this one with the moon making weird patterns in the sky.

The thing I like about night time photography is that you have to be creative about what kind of light your camera sees. So sometimes I use the flash followed by ambient light. Sometimes I use just ambient light. And sometimes I use ambient light to convey motion. That is the most fun.

Check out my crazy star pictures from this weekend. Both of them have a pretty long exposure — I left the shutter open for a long time to try to capture a meteor in action. Look at how the stars are swirling around. Cooool.

Holy light streaks, Batman! Also maybe that’s a meteor in the top right hand corner? I played around a little with the settings in Lightroom here but maybe it’s too black and white? Check out the next photo for comparison.
We started the picture and then walked away for ~10 minutes while we got ready for bed. The stars moved sooooo much! Also maybe I caught two meteors on the right? It’s hard to tell. :-/

I ended up getting pretty frustrated with this whole process because the remote control I usually use with my camera to start and stop loooooong exposures was on the fritz. I think it needs a new battery. Also we kept seeing AMAZING meteors in the opposite direction from where my camera was pointing. Oh well… that is life. Plus, it’s important to remember to actually experience life too. Not just stare at it through a camera lens.

P.S. Do you see all those weird specks of light all over my pictures? Pretty sure it was still smokier than we thought out there. :p

While the night sky was perfect for star watching, we woke up Sunday morning to rain. Not big fat drops but just enough to make for a wet, cold morning. After hot oatmeal and coffee, five damp humans — and two soggy pups — shuffled up the trail for a 5 mile hike. I decided to leave the DSLR in the car though because I didn’t want to get it wet. So the iPhone got to take pictures instead.

Check out this fun panorama with Cobalt and M. I think they need to start making music together because it looks like an album cover to me. What do you think? Something indie, most likely.

I think their band would be called “Elk Snacks.” Thoughts?

If I had brought my DSLR, I think I would have liked to do some jumping pictures like I have in this blog post about the Maroon Bells. Those are always fun to do but they require some playing around with settings that makes them best suited for a DSLR instead.

I like to test the limits of my iPhone camera anyway though so here is my attempt to photograph this wet bee that was clinging to a flower. I got the camera close enough to the bee that you can make out her spiky fur while the background is a blur.

Fuzzy…..

Finally, I got one of my favorite hiking photos: Cobalt with the trail in front of him. I take this type of photo a lot. I like it because it shows off some scenery but then Cobalt’s there to put it all in perspective and make it interesting. Plus he’s always so determined on hikes. Here he’s wearing my amazing shark backpack. Also, isn’t this trail gorgeous? We’ve really been missing our trees over here.

That’s all for now. Who’s excited about the eclipse in LESS THAN A WEEK!?!?! What percentage totality is it where you live?

Cabination!


Wow! It’s been forever since I posted again… Sorry you guys… this semester has been really busy what with trying to graduate and the hurt ankles and all… It’s been a rough month for this Potassium, that’s for sure.

Anyway, there have been some good things that I’ve been photographing and not posting so let’s talk about that! Last weekend, Cobalt and I went camping with our friends The Chocolate Pudding and her husband the Millionaire Space Accountant and J and her husband K for K’s birthday. Before you freak out about what kind of people would go camping in Colorado in March, let me tell you that by camping I mean sleeping in a warm cabin while it snows outside. Yay! So yeah, we drove up to the cabin on Friday evening and settled in for the night. The cabin had a firepit and a picnic table in front of it so we set about making delicious hobo packs for dinner. Yum!

Now the thing about TCP, MSA, J, K, and Cobalt and me is that we are pretty much the best of friends. We can talk forever! So we brought games and other activities but did we do any of them? Nope. Suddenly it was really late and J and I were falling asleep sitting up. So we went off to sleep in the comfy beds in our cabin! In the morning we were going to do some hiking/walking around for Potassium and her messed-up ankles but it started snowing like crazy right as we were packing up the cars (see that top picture!) so we ended up just leaving. Still it was a fun weekend and I can’t wait for more cabin/camping adventures as this year finally warms up a little.

Below are some of the pictures I took while everyone else was toasting marshmallows!

First up, we have K and J looking awesome with their headlights!

Now we have MSA roasting a marshmallow while TCP supervises. I like the way the fire illuminates their faces.

For this picture and the following two pictures we were playing with “light painting.” I put my camera on a tripod and then put the shutter on the “bulb” setting. With this setting, I tell the camera when to open and close the shutter so it’s really good for night time photography (especially star pictures… too bad it was cloudy for us…). Anyway, then we took K’s headlight and “painted” J and K with it while I had the camera shutter open. I think it has a really neat lighting effect. Also it’s a bit like taking pictures a long time ago because you can’t move while you are getting painted or you will be blurry…

After J and K’s picture turned out so well, we all wanted to try it!

MSA and TCP. :D

Now it’s your turn. Tell me about an adventure with your friends. Doesn’t have to be camping related though. I’m excited to hear your stories! Also, tell me what you want to hear me talk about! It’s been hard coming up with ideas lately when I am so busy/stressed out. Maybe we should have a “blast from the past” and I can talk more about my trips out of the country (France, Germany) last year? Let me know! :D