Sunday, 30 August 2015

Cape Spear, Part 'X'

2013_NL_F24_0151_0155The end of our tour put us back in St. John's right at the height of the Perseid meteor shower. I wanted to shoot them, so it was up and out around midnight to see what we could see.


I wanted to get a nice composition of the meteors over the city, and thought that Signal Hill would give me the best vantage point to do so. I quickly realized that the lights of the city were drowning out the starlight and the light from the meteors.

Note: click on a photo to view it full-scale in Flickr.

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The only place close to the city where I thought it might be dark enough was Cape Spear, one of my all-time favourite places to photograph. It's such a favourite of mine that I cannot remember how many times I have been there to take photos, hence the "X" in this post's title!

I took a quick test shot from the parking lot and was pleased to see that the stars could stand out on their own.

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I wasn't worried about the orange glow from the street light in the parking lot, as I was going to be much further up the hill and pointed away from it. So I took another quick test shot of the Old Light at the top of the hill, and realized that the light from the New Light was going to be a BIG problem because its light is mostly green in colour.

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That "white" light is hardly ever white is not something most people think about because our brain automatically converts what our eyes are seeing in order to make sense of it. In the above photo, you can see the green light from the lighthouse, the white light from the visitor centre, and the yellow light from the city streetlights!

With my test shots done, I settled in for some long exposures hoping to catch a Perseid or two. I did manage to get one, but it was quite faint. If you click on the photo to see it full size, you should be able to see a faint trail. Start with the gap between the fence and the Old Light and move your eye upward.

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I decided to move up the hill to the Old Light and try a different composition, letting the light from the New Light play a bigger role.

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Walking around the building, I made an alternate composition by mixing the lighthouse light and my own light from my flashlight, for the most unusual photo I have ever made of the Old Light.

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I played with that theme for quite a while. Time sort of slipped past me. A couple of hours in fact. Suddenly, I noticed that the sky was starting to lighten up and I was not capturing as many stars.

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I tried pointing away from the rising sun, and while I managed to capture a couple more meteors (above the Old Light in this image), it was getting harder and harder to do so.

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When the sky became blue and orange, I knew it was time to give up on the Perseids. On to more traditional compositions...

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By this point I realized that the light from the sunrise was much more orange than I had ever seen at Cape Spear. I did not ponder long on the mystery of why, but rather set about to record it because, in a rather spectacular way, the New Light and its green-hued light complemented the orange light from the rising sun and the blue ambient light.

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The light persisted long enough for me to capture it in my parting shot on the road back to Town.

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While I did not get as many shots of the Perseids as I had hoped, I walked away from the long night's shoot with several additions for my Cape Spear Folio, and I will update my Facebook page when this is complete.


Here is a list of links to all of the blog posts from my 2013 tour around Newfoundland:

Cuckolds Cove to Carbonear
Signal Hill
Boat Tour!
Bird Watching!
Whale Watching!
Fogo Part 1: Getting There
Fogo Part 2: Walking Around
Fogo Part 3: The Fishery
Fogo Part 4: The Fogo Island Inn
Twillingate Part 1: Getting There
Twillingate Part 2: Wine, Music, and Whine
Twillingate Part 3: An Iceberg and a Lighthouse
Twillingate Part 4: Down to the Sea in Boats
Trout River and Gros Morne National Park
St. Anthony: Grenfell House and Big Boats
St. Anthony: A Whale of a Tale!
St. Anthony: Ice, Ice, Baby!
Red Bay: A World Heritage Site
Mary's Harbour
Battle Harbour
Point Armour and Gros Morne
Winterset in Summer
Cape Spear

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