Thursday, January 12, 2012

Ice Cyrstals in the Sky

Last Sunday night we were treated to a beautiful sight here in Sioux Falls.  I was taking the trash out when I saw light streaks across the sky. A neighbor thought it was an Aurora Borealis display but it looked more like the moon light was reflecting off thin cirrus clouds to me. I ran back in the house and quickly grabbed my camera and tripod.
The streaks had gotten larger at the back of the building but were still difficult to capture. I headed to the west side of the building in hopes of getting a better shot of them in the moonlight. I was rewarded with this beautiful sight.
I am not sure if that is a shooting star, meteor or maybe just a plane in the top center portion of the photo. My sister thinks the helicopter looks like a UFO in this shot. I just laughed and told her well it is a pretty one.
I was so intent on trying to get just the right aperture, shutter speed and ISO that I didn't even notice the Life Light Helicopter was in the air. Near the tree line just below the helicopter is one of the the light streaks that I had noticed on the east side of my apartment building. I am pretty sure the white specks in this shot and a few others are stars. I do know that they aren't specks on my lens because they do not show up on all of the shots.

Here you can see the halo has become more distinct and a few stars are still visible as is the cirrus streak.

I find this shot rather puzzling, exciting and eerie at the same time. It is puzzling to me because of the odd almost water stain mark that appears in the upper left corner. All I can think of is that it must have something to do with the formation of maybe lower ice crystals in the sky? Or could it possibly be that my lens was starting to fog up?
I love the circular green and purple reflections from the helicopter in combination with the moon and halo, it kind of makes me think of a sun spot.
I still have a lot of learning to do when photographing night shots, like remember to be dressed appropriately as well as all the technical stuff. I had been in such a hurry to get the shots I failed to grab my warm coat and gloves. Needles to say I rushed to get the shots and didn't make as many adjustments as I would have done if I had been dressed warmly. At least a few of the shots turned out half way decent. I hope you have enjoyed these photos.
It looks like winter has finally come to Sioux Falls.
Stay warm and enjoy!

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