Orion Over San Francisco Peaks


Oh no! As soon as I open the shutter for this long exposure of the Orion constellation rising over the mountains, I realize I should have added a lens hood. The meadow is damp from the previous night's rain, and dew may form on the lens during the exposure. Oh well, it is long past midnight -- I'm tired, cold, and not thinking clearly. I'll just go to bed and hope for the best. When I awaken an hour later and close the shutter, my fear is realized: the lens is solidly covered with dew; through the viewfinder I can see nothing! Certain that nothing will show up on the film either; I write this particular image off to experience. But when I get the film developed, I'm pleasantly surprised: the star trails were sharply recorded on the film during the first part of the exposure, and as the dew accumulated, the stars gradually faded out, giving the resulting trails a pleasant -- if unintended -- "shooting star" effect!

The leftmost of the two peaks in this photo is 12,633-foot Humphreys Peak, the highest point in Arizona.

Date: September 4, 2006
Time: 1:47 to 2:52 a.m. MST
Location: Coconino National Forest, Arizona
Camera: Olympus OM-1 35mm SLR on fixed tripod
Film: Fuji Provia 100F slide
Focal length: 40 mm
Aperture: f/4
Exposure time: 65 minutes
Scanner: Nikon Coolscan LS-2000

Revised: October 21, 2006
Copyright © 2006 Joe Orman
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