F*ck the Moon

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No, this is not a picture of the November Supermoon. It was cloudy yesterday and is looking to be cloudy this evening by the time the moon rises again. This is just my favorite moon shot I’ve ever taken so seemed like a good pic to post with my rant.

So why, “f*ck the moon” you ask? I’ll tell you why!

As someone who very much enjoys stargazing, and of course astro-photography, the moon is basically just a big bright light-polluting orb in the sky that thwarts my efforts 2/3rds of the time. That’s not an exaggeration, Aside from about 5 days prior to a new moon and 5 days post (the waning crescent, new moon, and waxing crescent stages) the moon gives off enough light to drastically dim the rest of the night sky.

So as everyone’s going crazy for thisĀ  once-in-every few dozen years supermoon, out and about staring at the sky (which is actually great! get out there, go look at the night sky) they don’t realize how much more interesting the sky really can be at the right time.

The largest meteor shower of the year (geminids, Dec 13) lands right during a full moon this year. The Perseids back in August were also dimmed by a nearly full moon. Even just as a photographer wanting to capture the Milky Way in all it’s glory, the moon cuts my opportunities to do so by 66%, mixed with the fact there’s no true Astronomical Dusk here in Alberta in the summer months (minus another 50% of the year), and none of this even matters if it’s cloudy (don’t even get me started on clouds) I have only 2 or 3 weekends a YEAR to fully appreciate a truly dark sky.

Suppose there’s no point complaining about something that’s not going to change any time soon. Frankly if something was about to happen to the moon I’d be a whole lot more worried about that than I am about it giving off light pollution to the night sky! Guess I can just treasure my 2 or 3 yearly chances at having everything work out to have the perfect stargazing experience.

Lance Edwards-Hampton
http://www.insaneshotsphotography.com

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Buller Pass

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Buller Pass is rated as a difficult 13km hike with 650m elevation gain. I’ve done it once before many years ago and at the time thought it was pretty badass. Now years later having traversed many much higher and more difficult climbs, was thankful and inspired by the less than ideal weather we had during this hike.

Hiking through falling snow over half the hike and having a much deeper snow pack in the higher elevations made me feel like a real adventurer, worthy of the beard I’ve been growing. I love winter scenery and am only beginning to make it into the backcountry during the winter months (with snowshoes) so this was a good first taste of the type of things I want to accomplish this winter.

The first picture at the top is me looking back through the valley we had just hiked through, with the trail to the pass being right behind me. This next picture is of Paddy, Leah and Bowser on a small cliff right before the ascent to the top of the pass, which can kind of be seen in the background to the right.

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The short but steep hike up to the top of the pass wasn’t as grueling as I remember it from years ago. Partly because i’m more experienced now, and partly because I think the snow actually made the scramble up the loose scree a lot easier. This next photo is a shot from the top of the pass looking down to the east towards Ribbon Lake. There’s a nice backcountry campground located there that I’ve been meaning to stay at for quite some time, but haven’t yet had the chance.

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This next group of shots are just me, Paddy, Leah and Bowser enjoying the views from the top of the pass before we started out ascent. As we were walking up the valley to the West looked beautiful, but with my camera tucked away in my bag I didn’t get any shots of it on the way up. Upon starting our decent, within the time we were at the top the snow cloud had moved into the valley and I wasn’t able to get a good shot from above of the valley we had hiked through, and would be hiking through on our way back to the Smith Dorrien.

Lance Edwards-Hampton
http://www.insaneshotsphotography.com

Bah

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Bighorn Sheep Ewes.

My title means two things. 1-sheep go bah. 2-“Bah” is a slang phrase used to denote boredom.

I have thousands of pictures of Bighorn Sheep. I’d be more excited if there was a Ram or a Lamb in here somewhere. I actually have some pretty good shots of both Bighorn sheep Rams and Lambs. You should go look for them. I just like the fall colors and the building in this photo.

I hear people call these Mountain Goats all the time. These are not goats. Mountain goats are white, and you will probably not see one beside a highway, or ever, for that matter. There’s a salt lick along the Icefields Parkway where you might see Mountain Goats, but that’s only slightly better than a zoo in my opinion and I don’t think counts as a true sighting. Not to mention it attracts the elusive alpine critters down from their safe rocky ledges to open forested areas where predators may be roaming.

Lance Edwards-Hampton
http://www.insaneshotsphotography.com

For the MacKenzie Family

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Had a nice shoot earlier today. Went to Big Hill Springs, which is kind of a go-to photo shoot location for me. Definitely not a secret location anymore, but still worth the short drive to get into some nature and public land to snap some pics, even if you have to wait for one of the other photographers who also probably use this as a go-to location to get out of your way haha.

I also like bringing people here because I think most people have more fun walking around a nice park in the country than they do around town, and more fun usually means better pictures.

Anywho thanks for the good time you guys, and hope you enjoy your sneak peek!

 

Lance Edwards-Hampton
http://www.insaneshotsphotography.com

Playing Around

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Went out last night after bowling because there was supposed to be Northern Lights.

It was also supposed to be a clear night, but after only about an hour in the country the clouds totally took over and I called it a night.

I knew the clouds were coming so didn’t really feel like driving around looking for something cool to put in my foreground, so at my go-to spot for looking at the sky I decided to just try some light painting.

It was a spur of the moment thing and I didn’t have anything to make light except my lighter, and being too windy to keep the flame lit had to flick it a bunch of times to make anything out of it. Got this one on my second attempt. Not spectacular or anything but still kinda neat. Will be carrying a small dim flashlight with me on future night outings to try some more intricate light painting.

Although I definitely consider myself still a novice at astro-photography, I am doing much more planning than I did last year to get myself ready for night photography season. Have a few locations picked out that I think are going to turn out amazing, and most are within 2 hours away. The main hindrance to photography where I live is that there’s no public land anywhere, and even the closest provincial parks to me are not suitable for night time photography.

I know some people might think that it’s crazy to go on a 2 hour (one way) drive just to try photographing the night sky when you have to go to work the next morning, but I’ve gotta do something to up my game a little. I also don’t want to go into Banff area even though it’s about the same distance as my locations, because I assume if there’s aurora forecast there’d be dozens (if not hundreds) of photographers who had that idea already and would be lined up on Lake Minnewanka like the paparazzi. I like to think I’m more original than that.

Last winter I pretty much only went out when there was supposed to be northen lights, and that meant a lot of time I was putting my energy into it even if the conditions weren’t ideal. I’d go out even if it was cloudy or the moon was out just to see the aurora, and because of this i’m sure I missed some of the best nights to watch the stars with a crisp clear light and no moon out. This winter I vow to put more effort into the night in general, and not just the Northern Lights. Hopefully this also helps me improve my skills at this most difficult form of photography.

Lance Edwards-Hampton
http://www.insaneshotsphotography.com