Day 50 – Best Outcome Is Sometimes Unplanned

Day 50 – Best Outcome Is Sometimes Unplanned

A small photography experience I had yesterday that taught me something about life – sometimes the best outcome is unplanned.

And here is the milky way I captured.  It was 9:15pm.  Imagine I was standing in a completely dark mountain top, at Pinnacles Overlook, Badlands National Park.  It was so cold and windy that I felt myself and the tripod could be easily blown away off the mountain.  I pointed my wide angle lens (16-35mm, f2.8) to the sky, and set my camera to manual focus, f2.8, 16mm, ISO12800 and 15 sec.  I remembered last time I spot milky way, I set the shutter speed at 30 second, and for some reason there was obvious star trail due to earth’s rotation.  Therefore I decided to shorten the exposure time this time.  The same problem existed however – I had a very hard time focusing even I pointed my lens to the brightest star, and I barely could see anything in my viewfinder.  I had to play “trial and error”.  After taking the first three shots, I went back to the car and uploaded the image to my laptop.  I tried to see if the large image on my computer screen was sharp.  To my surprise, just with this 5-minute delay, all the stars and milky way disappeared.  I knew the weather would change at night but didn’t know the clouds came in so fast.  I stayed awake in the car for another few hours and unfortunately never found a second chance to get back the starry sky.  Alas, I felt lucky to have captured the milky way right before it disappeared.


Day 50 - Milky Way From Pinnacles Overlook-001


I ended up staying in the car the whole night, and barely slept.  When my alarm rang at 6am (sunrise on the day was 6:40am according to and twilight happens typically within 30 minutes before sunrise and after sunset), all I saw was thick clouds in the sky.  I knew unless miracles happen (it did sometimes!) I will most likely not be able to capture the sunrise.  In fact this is exactly what has happened.

Alas, this is not something we can control.  I learned over the years to unconditionally accept whatever the universe gives us.  Just as I shortened my tripod and walked back to the car, I saw a couple of young bighorn sheep moving on the mountain ridge.  I swiftly got in position and ended up capturing a group of them enjoying breakfast grass.  :-)


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