Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Perseid Meteor Showers

My next photography adventure was heading out to shoot the Perseid meteor showers. After a realtively weak showing at the first night at Mono Lake, in part due to the large amount of dust in the air there (great for sunrises, not so great for seeing stars or meteors rising over the eastern horizon), I drove down to the higher and clearer Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest.

This time I had spoken to Tom Lowe several times in the weeks leading up to the event and I decided not to wait to capture the crescent moon setting over the crest of the Sierra Nevada before driving up to the Patriarch Grove at 11,300 feet. Several other photographers on Flcir who had expressed an interest in shooting this event had communicated that they would not be making it after all, but photographer Jean Day was expecting to join us. As luck would have it, her truck was up on a jack with a flat tire, shortly after Schulman Grove, still 10 miles and at least a half hour to 40 minutes short of my destination.

Even worse, someone who stopepd to help had overextended the jack, breaking the handle in the process. I had both cans of Punture Seal and an air compressor built into my minivan, but my jack was too short, so I shot the crescent moon descending behind some communication towers while we waited for an adequate jack.

After several people stopped we eventually were able to get the truck down off its jack, and drive, inflate, drive, inflate our way to highway 168 before the leak in the tire got too bad to reinflate. Fortunately we had been able to flag down a flatbed tow truck on its way to another call, who would now be looking for her as he drove out. Jean urged me to get back up there and shoot, so I headed back up.

To make a long story short, I was off to a late start, but I found a shooting location which would not get lit up by late arrivals, and set my camera and intervalometer timer loose to capture hundreds of consecutive 30 second shots.