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Cloudy! This sucks big time! I had scheduled this night off weeks ago specifically to get a shot of Comet C/2011 L4 PANSTARRS with a very young crescent moon and all day long a steady stream of high altitude clouds mocked me and my naive thinking that Utah weather would cooperate with my astronomical viewing wants.  Had I learned nothing from last years eclipse and transit?

Since I had the night off I took the kids to their piano lessons and continued to watch the sky dismayed yet resolved to get out and try no matter what. As sunset drew nearer I had to decide where to shoot from, I had been talking back and forth with another local photographer Scott Stringham who is an amazing photographer (please check out his site, but wait until you read this post or you’ll never come back!) He was headed out to the south eastern edge of the Great Salt Lake and I decided to tag along.

A short drive along the frontage road and 1/2 mile walk/hike later and we set up at the edge of the mudflats and pylon remnants of the original Salt Air Amusement park and watched a beautiful sunset as the clouds began to clear…

It will knock your shoes off.. 9 shot HDR using the Promote Control

The Great Salt Lake has sunsets so pretty they’ll knock your shoe off..
9 shot HDR using the Promote Control

Some of the original pylons for Salt Air. 9 shot HDR

Some of the pylons from the original Salt Air.
9 shot HDR 

During Sunsets/Sunrises you should always turn around just in case, I often forget to do that, but not this time.

 

Salt Lake City at sunset  9 shot HDR

Salt Lake City glows at sunset
9 shot HDR

As the sky darkened we looked first for the crescent moon as it would be easier to see in the bright twilight than the comet.

One of the thinnest/youngest Moons I've seen or photographed, it was beautiful! single exposure: 70-300mm @ 150mm  f/16 1.6sec iso100

One of the thinnest/youngest Moons I’ve seen or photographed, it was beautiful!
single exposure: 70-300mm @ 150mm f/16 1.6sec iso100

70-300mm @ 70mm f/16 1/4 sec iso 100

70-300mm @ 70mm f/16 1/4 sec iso 100

Soon it darkened enough for the comet to show up along with some amazing earthshine.

70-300mm @ 180mm, f/6.3 1/4 sec, iso 800

70-300mm @ 180mm, f/6.3 1/4 sec, iso 800

70-300mm @ 270mm f/6.3, 3sec, iso 800

70-300mm @ 270mm f/6.3, 3sec, iso 800

What an awesome night!! It just so happened that the next few nights ended up being clouded out so Scott and I were one of the few to have caught PANSTARRS while it was so near the young moon that week. Dogged determination pays off sometimes I guess.

Thanks so much for stopping by, I hope you enjoyed seeing the pictures as much as I did in capturing them.

Happy Shooting and Clear skies!

Howard

 

 

 

 

 

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