Wednesday, July 15, 2009

July 14th auroras

There was again a pretty good showing of auroras on the 14th. I didn't get out until the afternoon and missed out on hours of good shots, but the ones I did manage to get will suffice. I liked the ones I got last month better, but you do what you can. The first hour I was out there with Krissie I took a bunch of really cool shots, I then walked inside after being too cold to continue and noticed my focus ring was nowhere near where it was supposed to be... I apparently bumped the dang thing while I was heading out causing all the shots to be completely out of focus. They were tossed immediately preceded by an emphatic "Dammit!" I froze my hands for nothing... Well I suppose it was a lesson well learned, always check the focus ring.

We then went back outside to a different spot to take some more photos, and this time I made sure that the focus ring was where it was supposed to be. The shots were alright, nothing special. I just have too high of expectations now I suppose. Here are the shots from the second outing. *Note that for the 4 people who read this blog, I have changed the way I comment on photos. I now comment beneath the photos rather than preceding the photo; it just felt wrong before.



The red alien orbs and line you see there in front of the station were, well aliens naturally. I caught the little buggers doing some sort of recon on the station. They immediately fled after the shot, or it may have just been Krissie walking towards me with her headlamp on. If you look to the left of the station you can see both a bright red orb, and a yellow triangle. The bright red orb was either Nathan, or Jude with their headlamps on or a combination of both and the yellow triangle you see is the Scott tent with some form of light in it.



This shot if you look closely at the stairs you will see a very bright white light in a sort 7 shape. This was again the little aliens, only a different group with a very different lighting schema to their ship, or this could have been Ella walking back into the station with her headlamp on (white I might add, tsk tsk tsk)



This shot you can see someone going out onto the upper deck, well you see the light from the open door anyway.



Just a station shot



Same basic shot as above only shifted to center the station a bit to also show the warm glow from the alien spaceship that just landed, or the VMF. There is a theme here if you haven't noticed ;}



Krissie and the station. Two problems with this shot according to her: one she is lit up, two the station is in the shot and she for some reason doesn't like the station in the photos. It's unnatural she says. My retort, well you're unnatural so there!



She apparently only wanted to be silhouetted, and not lit up for all of these shots. Something she failed to mention when we started taking photos. I blame her! Yes you, I know you are reading this, I blame you :P This shot you can see the two different shadows from the two different lights I used.



I finally agreed to get shots without the station, sheesh.



Same pose, a pose she apparently hates and is contemplating a redesign to, but a different shape in the aurora.



The shot that she wanted, all silhouetty.



And a good ol shot of the aurora. You can have your summer heat, I'll take the purdies.


So we then went back in the station. After the camera warmed up a bit I decided to go out and try and take some shots of the tent to see how they would turn out so that Krissie and I could go out there and get some shots in front of it. While I was heading out there I ran into Francis who was also going to the tent. We both then ran into Cully who was taking shots with the tent. Now Cully was supposed to be in dishpit, but apparently some folks just don't care about dishpit duties! Not really I just want to give him crap since he always gets AMAZING photos, jerk... So we all were taking photos, Cully threw his white headlamp into the tent so it would show up all nice and purdy in the photos. There wasn't much in the way of auroras at that point compared to earlier when Krissie and I went out, but they did start to come out over the station. I was getting very annoyed while out there because all the photos I was taking out there were very dark, and I couldn't figure out why. When I got inside I noticed while out there trying to turn on the light on the camera displays I ended up changing the F-stop on the camera to a smaller value (larger number, smaller iris) which naturally made the photos much darker than normal. This meant that when I upped the EV value when I got in they were incredibly grainy, I was not pleased. Thankfully I was able to remove the majority of the noise post processing. You have to be careful when you do this, because you can really ruin a photo if you go overboard. Here is what I ended up with, meh.



As you can see it is a very dark photo, I could have upped the EV more but it just turned into a grainy noisy disaster.



Another supper dark image :{



This was Francis' headlamp shining on the tent while fiddling with his camera.



The person in the red light is Cully, and Francis is the dark silhouette next to him, the red light in the background is ARO (atmospheric research observatory, i think anyway)



Uber dark still, the lights in the background are ICL, and building 61 which is across from MAPO



Decent photo, Krissie likes this photo because the aurora looks like a sombrero or the spaceship from Independence Day.



This is one of 3 of these photos I actually liked, Krissie's Silhouette, the solo aurora, and this. Francis and Cully were packing up shop to head back in the station, when I asked if Cully would walk around the tent with his head lamp on. This is how it turned out. You can see ghosts of Cully making it around the tent which is awesome and you can also see in the left of the image, the path that Francis took with his headlamp walking back to the station. It took me a while to first, notice the red light on the left, and then to figure out what it was. Pretty freaking sweet. Though still too dark, grrrrrrrrr



This was another pretty cool shot, though way too dark for my tastes. This was a shot of the little devilish aliens shooting Cully in with a tractor beam from inside the tent! We had no idea they were in there the whole time we were shooting the photos, thankfully the aliens misjudged Cully's weight and were unable to bring him in. They then flew off in utter shame, as they should, or this was Cully entering the tent to retrieve his headlamp.


I am very disappointed with these photos, I really debated whether or not I should post them, or even add them to our internal server where some of us place our photos for all to see. I have the unfortunate personality of an absolute perfectionist. Unless whatever it is I do is perfect it is total crap in my eyes, like these photos. I unfortunately have to be amazing or the best at whatever I try to do and if I'm not then I'm not satisfied. Now I suppose I could say that this is only the sixth time I've ever photographed anything with something that wasn't a point and shoot, and only the sixth time I've ever tried to photograph anything at night. And I'm currently practicing with a professional's camera, the Canon EOS 1D Mark II, not exactly your typical point and shoot. Even though this may all be true I still think I should be able to shoot the exact same photos as Cully or better preferably. It doesn't matter how many years he has been doing this. I only target Cully here because personally I think he is the best photographer we have on station, and I would kill to take the shots he does. I spose the only way to get better is to first make mistakes, and second practice...

Oh and a lot of us are getting quite spoiled out here now, we only want to take photos of "good" auroras. We don't really care to even go outside to look unless it's something worth taking a photo of. Marc was telling me the other night he heard over the radios someone call out an aurora with a reply from someone else, well is it any good? When we first got here many of us, myself included ran out to see any aurora we could. I was so excited to see a barely existent blip of color in the sky at first, and now I simply go out to see if it is photo worthy.

And on a side note having noting to do with the auroras, I've recently found something slightly disturbing about myself. I've been spending a lot of time figuring out what Krissie and I are going to do when we leave here, and well nothing excites me like it used to. I used to look at photos of New Zealand, and any place remotely tropical and dream of going there. Oh how I would have done anything to be able to go to Hawaii. Now that I've been here, a year at the South Pole by the time I leave, nothing is remarkable anymore. They are simply places I could go hop on a plane and see. And what I see may very well be a carbon copy of every other beach I've seen, every other lake/forest I've seen. It's hard to explain, and just well very weird. I wonder if this is how people who travel all the time feel. Now don't get me wrong, it's not like I've lost all interest in the outside world, I still am incredible excited to be in Sydney for New Years, and I can't wait to see Sydney and Auckland and the like at night, but the old things I used to crave are gone. I don't know if this will change when I leave, or if everything will be compared to my experiences down here at the pole.

I suppose this is what you call one of those life changing experiences and I welcome it with open arms. I've never really been happy before, and now I am. I've always felt like I've simply been existing, not living. And now I feel like for the first time I am living my life. Life's pretty cool once you start living it...

1 comment:

jeanne said...

Maybe your brain is just froze:)