Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Space Shuttle over Calgary

Is the smudge leading away from Venus towards the left. Click on the picture for a larger version.

Was leaving work for the first time.. Didn't recognize that guy in the mirror in the elevator, realized that I'd taken off my glasses to rub my face or something and had left them in my office. So, I went back up and got them. On my second attempt to leave I ran into Dave.

While walking over to the parkade, he mentioned that the space shuttle was suppose to be over head at 5:48pm. There was other stuff about work, but I kind of zoned out and imagined being in a place where I'd setup my camera with the fish eye lense, full horizon to horizon shot of the space shuttle trail passing over the beautiful Calgary skyline, rich saturated blues as dusk turned to darkness, bold and bright stream of white light - maybe a twinkle from the shuttle itself creating a nice star pattern in my lense. Started to think about how the final picture would look - world class shot of the space shuttle twinkling as it drifted over the Calgary skyline.

While Dave was talking, I thought I should set an alarm on my phone to remind me - I fumbled around trying to set it for 5:50.. no, that won't work, 5:40.. not enough time.. set it for 5:35.. that should be ok. Dave probably thought I was nuts, but somehow I think he understands.

Driving home, I kind of forgot about the shuttle and the picture - had some loud music on the radio distracting me. The alarm went off on my phone and I didn't know what it was at first so I dismissed it. But then something tweaked in my brain and I remembered.. It was about 5:40 or so, I was driving across the Deerfoot valley on McKnight Blvd.

Without too much thought I decided to try and make the picture. After all the thing would be speeding across the sky and it wouldn't take very long.. whats a few minutes. I looked for a place to stop and ended up in some parking lot off of 19th street above Deerfoot trail with the downtown skyline in view.

I parked the car, jumped into the backseat and opened up my camera backpack ( always carry my camera with me ) and hoped that'd I'd put the fisheye in there.. It wasn't there. The 10-24mm was in there though, that's pretty wide. Mounted it, got the tripod out of the trunk and set it up. Muddled with the focus a bit, Pointed the camera across the horizon as wide as it would go. Not sure what I was looking for or how I'd know what it was when I saw it. There were some airplanes flying around with their blinking lights.

Then out of the North West a steady light moving across the sky. Dave had mentioned it would come from the West, that much I picked up.

Not as bright as I had imagined. There was a light in front, and a second, more faint light following it. They were moving across the sky towards the South East together in a determined sort of way. This it must be it.

I took at couple of shots of 30 second exposures as it passed overhead. In the one above, it's passing near Venus and below the Moon. I set the aperture at f5.6,  iso 200 and was exposing for 30 seconds, I didn't really know if everything would be too dark, or if it'd be blown out with too much light. The results are, well, they are what they are overall I think it looks ok.

Thanks for looking.

1 comment:

Kim Pawelko said...

Wow Brad. We sure are lucky that you decided to stop and try. Its a great shot. I love that you can see the skyline and the Shuttle crossing through our skyline. How did you find out this would be happening?