Palace at Versailles – Grand Finale!

Abstract, Landscapes, Music, Photography, Travel

The two-hour fountain and fireworks show started at sunset and lasted well into dark. Symphony music streamed out from speakers hidden in hedges while water jets fired in sequence. The special event is held only a few times a year, and being in Versailles the weekend before Bastille Day it was performed twice.  

To me it felt gimmicky. The water patterns flat and repetitive and the music too loud. The setting in the gardens was incredibly gorgeous, and was fun to photograph. Most disappointing was how far back spectators must retreat before the fireworks. I’m spoiled – in Fairbanks we can sit as close as we want to most fireworks shows. 

The start of the show coincided with sunset.

The start of the show coincided with sunset.

A crescent moon begins to rise over the fountain.

A crescent moon begins to rise over the fountain.

Long exposure of the fountains.

Long exposure of the fountains.

People, fireworks and fountains during the grand finale.

People, fireworks and fountains during the grand finale.

 

 

Denali and Fairbanks

Denali and Fairbanks at Dusk

Alaska, Landscapes, Photography

Above: Denali – the tallest mountain in North America – is silhouetted at sunset as city lights from Fairbanks begin to shine. A 15-second exposure created the long tail of smoke leaving the power plant. November 20, 2013, 

Winter in Fairbanks is a double-edged sword. The clear days with stunning views are often some of the coldest. The low temperature was -32 degrees fahrenheit the night I took this photo, 2 years and 2 days after I took this similar photo.

Luckily one of the grandest sights is easily seen about 7 miles north of town, on the Steese Highway.

Northern Lights: Long exposures, a Satellite and a Satellite-Receiving Dish

Alaska, Landscapes, Photography

The Northern Lights visited last weekend, thanks to a solar flare that sent charged particles towards Earth. In a news brief, alerting northern residents to the likely lights display, The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner quoted a NASA scientist saying “This is the strongest flare seen so far in 2013.” It will likely be the last significant show of 2012-2013 winter, Fairbanks already has over 15 hours of sunlight, with dusk and dawn expanding far on either end.

I work late on the weekends, Friday night I had my tripod, but the lights weren’t very dramatic. Saturday night the lights were much stronger, but I foolishly was without tripod. I tried to find adequate surfaces to rest my camera and relied on the 2-second self timer, effective, but far from ideal.

2-second self timer, camera on the ground. A 40-second exposure allows the photographer to step back and enjoy the show, even while photographing.

2-second self timer, camera on the ground. A 40-second exposure allows the photographer to step back and enjoy the show, even while photographing.

Although April 10 recorded the strongest solar flare of the year, it did not produce the most dramatic lights I have seen this winter. Those came over the nights of March 16 and 17. I went out with a tripod that night.

Earth's originally satellite the moon, a satellite receiving dish and radio tower, all visible on top of Ski Boot Hill as northern lights streak overhead.

Earth’s original satellite – the moon, a satellite receiving dish and radio tower, all visible on top of Ski Boot Hill as northern lights streak overhead.
Setting the camera pointed straight up creates a fun, abstracted form. The Big Dipper is visible in the top-left portion of the photo.

Setting the camera pointed straight up creates a fun, abstracted form. The Big Dipper is visible in the top-left portion of the photo.

Thanks to all the wonderful visitors I’ve had over the last few days. I’ve greatly enjoyed viewing your blogs as well.