So it's been a little while since I've made a blog post. Needless to say I've been busy, don't ask me with what but that's my excuse.
It's also been a while since I have attempted to photograph the Milky Way. During summer in the Northern Hemisphere gives us the best views of our galaxy, so knowing that, I took it upon myself to plan a little adventure toward some dark skies. Last Saturday turned out to be extremely perfect. It was a new moon, which meant the moon wouldn't be rising at all any time during the night and on top of that, we've been having some incredibly clear skies.
Before departing, I spent about a week or two getting things in order, I had never been camping before and I wanted to stay there the night. I was a bit nervous about driving back, off road, at night, during a new moon, it doesn't get much darker than that. I bought a whole bunch of emergency supplies, like a jug for extra water, extra gas can, first aid kit, rope, recovery gear in case the truck got stuck, etc. In hindsight I may have been a bit over prepared (and maybe a little paranoid) but better to be ready for the worst than wishing you had done this or that.
The trail to Delamar turned out to be relatively easy. I don't even think you need a 4wd to get there, just something with a bit of ground clearance to get over some of the big rocks. Some of the terrain is so flat and smooth, you can do speeds up to 50 mph quite comfortably. Friends, Christian and Matt with his wife Donna in their Jeep, decided to join on the drive, which made things a little less nerve racking. After getting there and setting up camp, we waited for the Sun to set, which turned out to be very colorful and beautiful. It wasn't long until the only light we had was from the Milky Way. I had seen some dark skies in the past but this was definitely the darkest. Stars strung across the sky at every point in every direction and a band of milkiness stretched from one horizon to the next. Our galaxy was now visible to the naked eye.
This time of year also coincides with the Perseid meteor shower and while it wasn't the peak night, I was still able to count off about two dozen meteors, flashing across half of the sky. Having people there was definitely a nice bonus, because it got dark, real dark and quiet. Strange noises could be heard all around, surely from nocturnal creatures of course, but I see how your imagination could run away from you and how I could have quickly scared myself out of there had I been alone.
All in all, I can't wait to head back up there, it really puts things into perspective sitting underneath a blanket of stars like that. Taking moments to think about how there are other planets orbiting those suns. Light is propagating through space and taking hundreds, thousands and millions of years to reach us at that moment. We saw that, we experienced it, and most of all we understood what we were looking at. That is an amazing thing. The universe is all around us and also it is within us, we are the universe conscious of itself.
I've added the image below to my print gallery because I think it should be on walls. Available in 12x18 inch at $30, link is here if anyone is interested in some art: http://www.kristofflutchman.com/store/the-milky-way-up-close-and-personal