Thursday, August 3, 2017

Delta Star Trails

A cold front passed through the state last weekend, bringing with it some much-needed lower temperatures and a significant drop in the humidity. Along with making it actually tolerable to be away from air conditioning in the summer, the low humidity also meant that there was some extremely clear skies at night. This would turn out to be perfect conditions for astrophotography.

I decided Sunday afternoon that I should probably take advantage of this by actually going out to take pictures. So I charged the batteries and gathered all the camera gear, and headed out to the Delta. There was a spot that I had actually visited a few weeks before that I thought would be a perfect spot for getting star trail pictures, and luckily it's only about an hour away from home. Along the way I made a quick stop at this field, near the small town of Coy.

At first glance, it just looks like a low hill that stands up from the field that surrounds it. But this spot is actually quite historic - this is an ancient mound that was built by a Native American culture that occupied this area from around the years 700 - 1000. Not much is known about the people who built this, but they are also the same ones that built the nearby Toltec Mounds.


From there I drove further into the Delta towards this old building. According to the owners of the property, this building was used to store and to dry rice. The machinery inside is out of date and not used anymore, but it is still the tallest building for many miles. It was amazingly clear outside, and the sky above it was covered with a countless number of stars.


It was also surrounded by a countless number of mosquitoes. I was attacked by a relentless swarm of mosquitoes while I attempted to set up the camera and tripod. I'm not trying to exaggerate, but there was a literal cloud of mosquitoes that descended on me like sharks. I tried to get the camera set up as quickly as possible while being feasted on by a unending onslaught of mosquitoes. And of course, bug spray was the one thing that I forgot to bring with me.

I did manage to get everything set up, and left the camera to take pictures for about an hour and a half (luckily it wasn't carried away by the mosquitoes). When I got home, I found some cortizone and then combined the nearly 200 pictures from that night together to create these star trails. The camera was looking due north towards Polaris, the North Star.

StarStaX_IMG_5866-3-IMG_6036-2_lighten version 2-2

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