Aug 062017

There is nothing like a trip to Island Park to inspire me.  I thought I would make the first post about the sky.  The first night at the cabin I went out about 11pm and got set up to take some Milky Way picture.  The Moon was up which isn’t great for taking milky way shots, but I thought I’d see what came of it.

Just as I got set up I was interrupted by a group taking a float down the river….starting there float a 11 pm!  Well, lots of moon light so why not.  This first shot is terrible, but I learned that I can drag the Milky  Way out of even this shot.  Car headlights and taillights clearly visible and making a mess of things.  Maybe I should mention here that I was also interrupted by a group on ATVs out for a little midnight ride as well.















Because I wasn’t going to get a good clean picture of the Milky Way with them sitting there, I decided to move and take a shot of the moon and see what would come of that.  There car headlights lit the foreground in an interesting way.  So here’s what we ended up with.  These shots include members of the group floating through the picture, but because my shutter was open so long you don’t even see them.  You can also see that some of the planets and stars that are visible move slightly.

















After these folks moved out of the scene I took a few more pics with out the benefit of there light, just to see how that would look.


















Then I moved back into position to grab some Milky Way.  I took only five shots and put two of them together for this two shot panorama.


















I went out early two mornings as well.  To late the first morning (5 am) to get Milky Way, but early enough to grab some sunrise shots.  This is a five shot pan.











The last morning at 3 am the moon was still out, the sky was full of smoke from wild fires which made a nice red moon but left me with no desire to see what I might get.  I went back to bed.

Sep 102015

This is really The Spirit of Boise Balloon Classic Part III, but it’s also the day Janis and I got to fly!  Big day for me and Janis both.  A special thanks to the Spencer’s and Spirit of Boise, our Pilot Tom, and all that made this possible.  Yes, Hot Air Balloons are aircraft and you have to have a pilots licence to fly one.  The FAA watches everything that goes on at these events.  But I digress.  What a beautiful day, nice and chilly and very light winds, perfect for ballooning.  We met our pilot Tom and his wife at the pilots briefing, went through check in and got ready (briefed) by our pilot what was expected of  us.  I think we were unofficial co-pilots; watch for power poles and lines, light poles, watch for balloon ascending from below – they have the right of way.  I thought this was all pretty interesting.  So when do we fly I wonder?  I really want to do this thing.  After a few minutes the balloon is fully inflated and then the pilot started to heat the air by firing the burner.  This is all a little tricky and a bit of an art.  The balloon slowly rotates from it’s horizontal position to the vertical one and the pilot gets in the basket as it turns upright.  Everyone in the crew is holding the balloon down and the pilot invites us to get into the basket with him.  He warns us that we can’t get out until he tells us we can; we are now ballast.  An all clear from the FAA folks and a couple of blasts from the burner and we’re off watching out for the other balloons taking off.  I really had never noticed the difference in how these pilots do this.  Some of the pilots rose very quickly, others seem to take their time.  It was very fun to watch from this new perspective.  At any rate one of the challenges for the pilots was to drop something from the balloon onto a target “X” in a field some distance from where we took off.   We maneuvered over the X and the pilot dropped his marker.  We were somewhere around 3,000 to 4,000 feet and I thought we were golden.  The closer the marker got the earth however the more obvious it became we weren’t really that close.  I remember dropping clothes pins into a bottle as a kid.  This was way different.

This was really a great experience and one I won’t soon forget.  Thanks again to all my new ballooning friends!

PS Glad they left the gate of the Pioneer Cemetery open for us.