January 13, 2015 Plant Optics

Been awhile since I've put up an image account.  All the typical fall into winter ops have failed.  Fog, auroras, geese, snow.  Just nothing. 

I partially blew this one.  The day before I figured there would be light pillars in town at night.  Really cold temps and the tricky easterly wind at the same time looked to be a lock.  The Cargill plant is on the east side of town and well it's tricky to have really cold air and southeast or easterly winds to blow the plume over town.  I looked around 11 pm, but just thought it might be too dry out.  Given everything I go out for endlessly failing anyway, I chalked it up to another likely fail and didn't set any alarm.  All I'd have to have done is wake up an hour or so earlier.  Super simple.  Least get some light pillars before sunlight.  I fear what I may have missed over the town prior to that.  As the northerly winds had to turn east for awhile and were south by sunrise.  During the east phase, some crazy ops could have been happening over the town lights.  South phase and it ends up more confined to the east side of town, which isn't terribly easy to shoot. 

Anyway, I wake up about an hour before sunrise.  I look out the window and see Cargill's plume going north for infinity.  Crap.  It was 5 to 10 below zero and I knew it was highly likely there was diamond dust falling under that plume and making optics.  Hurried up and got out the door.

Greeting me inside my super cold car was a super exploded can of pop.  Like a bouncing betty can of coke.  It was pretty dark yet and I thought, what the hell is all over the passenger door.  And the dash.  And the ceiling.  And the back seat.  Guessing that was in there from a failed attempt to shoot the comet a couple nights earlier.  I get out to scrape the windshield and think, wait that looks like frozen pop on the outside of the glass!  How did that get there!  Glance at my scraper and was like, oh. 

I zip around town looking for places to shoot, from in or west of the plume.  Nowhere was working.  I figure hell this thing goes northwest for as far as I can see, I'll head north to the bottoms and do it from there.  Sun with its own pillar and a sun dog above.  You could see the diamond dust falling in the air.  The problem with this op was you could rarely get both sun dogs going good at the same time.  Given the angle one would be away from the dust or else the other would be getting light blocked by the plume(if I went right above). 

Driving back to town from the west, looking southeast.  If you looked left/north along that plume, it went for as far as you could see, vanishing into the horizon. 

Back in town I find the best view to be at MACC.  This area is quite annoying, but it's the area near the plant where it's the easiest to get these ops in.  There are hills there, industrial buildings galore and power lines galore.  I need to do this from on the other side of MACC near the entrance sometime.  I could tell it had to be epic from there, as you could see sub-sun optics mixed in.  And in here with this wind direction the Sun was splitting the water tower plume and the stacks plumes.  This close to the plant the amount of diamond dust in the air is maxed out too.  So with the Sun splitting the plume blocks, it was super bright onto lots of diamond dust, making highly vivid optics.

Other one.  Really bright.

3 shot pano.  All Cargill moisture.  It would have to be fun to shoot a time lapse of this on the other side of MACC here.  Cold but fun. 

Out of the plume a bit but damn there was a bright pillar in the falling diamond dust.  The best op is like this.  Very near ground wind being more east while quickly turning to south at plume height.  Then the dust can trickle away from the sun blocking plume and you can see some really crazy bright optics. 

I should have put the camera on a tripod real quick here so I could make a better endlessly looping gif...below.  Or figure out to steady it in software.  Least I got a couple nasty spots cloned out for it. 

Sub-Sun pillar.  If only we had a big hill near here with a view.  Hmmm, suppose with a northeast breeze one might find one southwest of the plant.  But getting the dust that far might be somewhat hard or at least a lot of it. 

Horseshoe vortex with sun dog. 

The cemetery eventually wound up the best place to shoot it.  But even there it's rather tricky.  Hills slope the wrong way mostly. There are also a ton of trees.