August 25, 2010 Potpourri lol...Lunar Fog Bow Star Trail, Steam Devils, and...Swimming Deer!

I wanted to try this given the op again, but somehow wasn't thinking about it this morning. I was more focused on just thick low fog lit by the moon, views from above. Once I saw there was a slight breeze mixing out most of the fog in the dry air, I thought about lunar fog bows. Yet I continued to drive towards Murray Hill. Finally ran out of fog, for the most part, and flipped around. I was seeing lunar fog bow activity the whole drive back south. Not much for good places to pull off and shoot though. I drive to where I know this one barn is, but there was no fog there. I was running out of night quickly now and knew I wouldn't have much time before it was getting just too light out. I stop here after seeing a good bow and setup for a star trail sequence of images to stack later. I decided to jump in the shot just incase I wanted that later. If you decide you don't want yourself in just leave that shout out of the image stack.

I went too far into the shot, obviously. Pretty easy to do with ultrawide angle. You just don't have to go very far to get in the shot. There were some taller weeds along the road. I thought I'd jump over those and onto a field, not into a field! Pretty dark out and hazy with fog, I thought it was all just flat, mostly short grass/weeds/or dirt I was going over to. Soon I found myself stepping over rows and getting wet. If only I'd just stayed south where most of the fog was and done a longer trail! Arrgghhh. Maybe tomorrow will work, but the moon will be an hour higher. And that is the thing. In a sense seeing a lunar fog bow is easy enough to do. But one does need a low, bright, mostly full moon and have just right fog. It's only a couple few days each month the moon angle is going to be right during that time frame before sunrise you can get the fog to form. So it takes some luck to get the fog and the moon phase to work together right. And the most luck probably has to do with how the fog itself is. Too thick and not enough light will come through and make the bow. Too thin and dim dim bow. And the whole fog's relation to you is important too.

A longer star trail would be pretty dang cool with some scene like the above though. I jumped in the first shot or two, so its easy enough to also have a version you aren't in without losing much of the trails. These were 30 second, 800 ISO shots at F4. I started bumping them down to 25 and then 20 seconds because from the start morning light was kicking in. Change shutter and your star brightness won't change on you(past the short amount of time it will take it to cross a pixel location....10 seconds?). Change ISO and it will. I need to make up a prop fake pot of gold to take with next time lol. Gotta do more than just stand under the middle of the arc, that is for sure.

I head into Desoto Bend and try shooting some Herons, while I waited on better light to try some steam devils. I'm parked in the grass, not overly awake, day dreaming, when I notice something coming out of the reeds right ahead of me. I look up and am like, what the hell is that! This big object leaving the reeds and heading straight out into the lake. I first thought, is that a rabbit? I could then quickly see no, it was a damn deer! I never noticed it go into the water and it wasn't far in front of me. The above shot isn't even cropped. I thought, what the hell. I'd been here a whole lot of times, see deer everywhere, see them drinking from the lake on occasion, never have I seen one go swimming. I figured they could like a dog can, but that like a dog, it probably would do so only when it really really needed to.

It then turns around and starts coming back. Its feet are not touching, not even close.

Feet barely touching as he comes up out of the reeds.

Gets out and walks across the road into the trees. I thought, now that was different!

I then shot some steam devils for a bit. These are a lot easier to see/find after the sun is on the water, looking as much towards the sun as you can muster. They can be so amazing to watch, just so ghostly almost. Imaging them is odd though. They don't show up as well as one would think they would. The sun on the water is extremely bright compared to the steam they are in. Just doesn't seem like a friendly range for them to show up on a still for whatever reason.

I thought I was set but really I didn't see many. This so far is all the same one. Thing was rather long-lived, perhaps a full minute.

Here is how they are tricky. It's best with a dark background for contrast, like this one above for instance. When you have a bunch of steam you don't get that luxury. But you start getting too little steam and they are extremely transparent. Kinda a small window to image them worth a darn or even see them. They don't exactly like wind either. And when there's tons of steam, for some reason they don't seem to want to form as easily either.

Ok, so I'm sitting there about to call it a day on the whole steam devil chase. I catch something moving in the water back behind me to the north. Right off the bat I realized...there is a damn deer swimming in the water again! This one is already way out there and still going! The above is telephoto at 400mm.

Crop from the image before. See, a damn deer! 2nd one of the morning...doh. How can I go there as many times as I have, never see this happen, and see it twice in less than an hour.

I think this was backed out some to like 150mm or something, show better how far it is.

Zoomed in again, he's still going. Took him a good while to get across. You can see his wake too. Also notice that heron on the shore to the right of him.

He's reaching the shore about now, not that I could even see him through the lens anymore. The heron hasn't moved, he's just way right of that heron now. Notice the little red tree near the heron in the shot before is not in this frame. Quite the swimmers! I suppose you never see this here cause they have tons of land on the refuge to move around. He must have really wanted something over there. That'd be kinda funny to see while out there fishing away in some boat. Wonder if anyone has ever snagged a deerfish. Something tells me that was likely the same deer as before, he just went north in the trees near me then came out up there and crossed. Then again not sure why he'd bother doing all that since it is at least as wide where he's crossing here. When the first one did it I thought maybe he was going in to get the mosquitoes off. It was for sure strange when I first saw this deer head come out of the reeds, heading for the middle of the lake.