For no apparent reason that I could think of I awoke at 3 a.m. this morning & couldn’t get back to sleep. So, an hour later, I got out of bed & got dressed. After making myself a large cup of instant coffee I walked out to the studio then stared at my computer monitor for a while. That got kind of boring pretty quick. Then I remembered that I’d been wanting to try taking pictures of star trails and since the skies were clear, with lots of visible stars, I gathered up my camera equipment & went outside into the darkness.
After my eyes adjusted I picked out a likely looking patch of star studded sky, pointed my tripod mounted camera at it and stared an exposure of 4 minutes using a Nikon MC-36 remote release. At the end of the the exposure, when I looked at the LCD screen, I saw nothing but blackness.
“Hmmm.” I thought to myself.
So I tried it once more, but this time I set the exposure for 20 minutes. Then I sat down in a nearby chair to begin my long wait.
It was very quiet at that time in the morning. I could barely hear any traffic from the nearby highway. I like quiet, and I listened to it for a spell, feeling my shoulders relax as I closed my eyes and slumped further down into the chair to enjoy the sounds of nothing at all.
And how very nice it was.
Gradually I began to hear real sounds, sounds not man made. Owls, several of them, and in all directions from me seemed to be calling out to each other.
“HOOT HOOT…hoo hoo hoo,” one would say say. Then another, a little further away, would answer using the same exact phrase.
“HOOT HOOT…hoo hoo hoo.”
These conversations kept up more or less continuously and I really enjoyed listening to them.
But then, suddenly, I heard a much different sound, and much closer to me.
At first I wasn’t sure I’d really heard something, so I listened closer. A few seconds later I heard it again, clearly this time.
It was a lonely cow moose in the nearby woods, calling out for another moose, a gentleman preferably, to keep her company.
She continued calling at regular intervals for quite some time. But she never did get an answer. Each moan she made sounded sadder, a little lonelier, than the previous one.
“Mehhhhhhhhhhhhhhh,” she cried.
But no one answered her.
No one at all.
I thought I could hear her sobbing between calls, but I wasn’t sure.
Finally, her calls got further and further away from me as she walked across the valley.
“Mehh.” I heard her say one last time. Then she was gone.
“So long.” I said under my breath, wishing her good luck & hoping she’d find some happiness very soon.
It was quiet again, except for the owls of course. They were still talking to each other.
Trying to decide who was buying breakfast I guessed.
Finally, it was time to end my exposure of the stars. This time I could actually see white lines on the screen, star trails I was sure, and was quite pleased with myself for that. It wasn’t exactly a breathtaking photograph, far from it I suppose, but at least I knew I could do it and approximately how much time to set the exposure for. Now, the next time I couldn’t sleep and the stars were out, I could give it another try, trying a little harder to be more creative perhaps.
By now it was getting much lighter out, I could see a brightness in the sky to my left as the sun crept up the backside of the distant mountains. Pastel colors began appearing in various regions of the sky too, so I just stayed out there on the deck, enjoying the rest of the morning, and taking many more pictures of another sunrise in Alaska.
I’m actually glad I got up early. I enjoyed feeling like I was a part of nature for a while.
Before the rest of the world woke up and started making noise again.
Feel free to leave comments for me. Just click on the word Link at the end of this sentence. [Link]