Zion – Starry Night and Sunrise

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(c) 2011 Nicole Norris

Well, I’d like to tell you that I went out specifically to get the star field photos, but to tell you the truth, they are the product of an uber ditzy move on my part.

(c) 2011 Nicole Norris

I am using the excuse that the weekend I was there was Daylight Saving Time weekend.  So, that combined with the fact that Las Vegas, where I was staying, was three hours behind EST time, started mild confusion.  Not too much, but it did help me get up earlier than usual.  THEN, when I went to Zion, I didn’t even think about the fact that Utah is an hour ahead of Nevada.  Oopsie.

(c) 2011 Nicole Norris

It all started because I kept missing that great blue you get about 30-45 minutes before sunrise everyday in Las Vegas and I wanted to get it here.  So, with Daylight Saving Time, the time change, Utah being an hour ahead, and every single clock that I had in my posession being on a different time I was in total confusion.  I thought that setting my alarm clock for 3:00am would give me enough time for the 30-ish minute drive into the park, time to get to a spot that I really liked, set up and start shooting.  Oh wait, even more confusion – could be that I was up so early.  I could have slept in another hour, not got up an hour earlier – spring forward.  Duh.

(c) 2011 Nicole Norris

Needless to say, I was pretty much the only one awake and moving around in Zion National Park at what appeared to be 3am in the morning, with the exception of the deer, a fox and a certain wild turkey that gobbled a little too close for comfort.  (But who am I to judge? I probably woke him up, too.)

(c) 2011 Nicole Norris

Anyway, I have never taken photos like these before and have no idea how I was supposed to edit them or anything.  They are very noisy and I had some light pollution from the visitor center in some of them.  It took me a while to get up the courage to go into the deep dark depths of the park.  It was super windy and everything moving in the wind was scary.  (So, I am a wimp, big deal – it was really cold in the wind, too)  But then I figured out how to set up my tripod out of my car window and I was good to go.

(c) 2011 Nicole Norris

I like these photos for the most part.  They are actually very frustrating to look at, but I want to get out there and do it again to see if I can do it more.  I tried researching it a bit on line, but there are only a few sites that are for very very very beginners like me.  Most are for the super serious astrophotographers who don’t realize that I might not know the difference between the big dipper and the little dipper until I see which one is bigger.  I really wanted to see how I could edit the photos, but I mostly got this, “in this photo is nebula two point six and at 2:44.34 am when I took this photo, it was 1.453 trillion light years away.  And in the upper left hand corner, there is an alien kid waving at me from the backseat of his family space-sedan.”  ….I am still looking.

(c) 2011 Nicole Norris

And then I got my blue skies for sunrise.  I am happy with those.  Most of these I didn’t really edit and some are the raw versions right out of the camera.  I got my blue and was a happy camper.  Then went to a coffee shop to empty out the memory card and caffenate (I’d already been up for 6 hours) and plan the rest of my day.  Which ended up being 23.5 hours.  But it was a good one!

(c) 2011 Nicole Norris

More Zion to come.  Day 2. 🙂

(c) 2011 Nicole Norris

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