Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Geminids with a Side of Turkey

I spent the night of December 13/14 in my favorite meteor watching field on the Bamberger Ranch Preserve (thanks to David and Lois, respectively, for making that possible). I was counting, and, most of all, trying to photograph, Geminid meteors. Watching commenced in earnest only after I’d finished setting-up my camera and started it clicking away at 11:56 PM. It was freezing up there, and when the wind blew … much worse. The correct attire for Geminid watching even in the Texas hill country is a zero degree sleeping bag. What my meteor watching brethren in colder territories do to survive, I don’t know. (Layers are probably the key. Undoubtedly a sleeping bag would still be a good start, then wrapping that in a well heated house should just about do the trick.)

Anyway, I gave up at 6:10 AM as the sky started to brighten prior to sunrise. During those 6¼ hours, I counted five hundred and five meteors (a personal record), ranging in appearance from so faint they were barely visible, to bright enough that they briefly left a little glow in the sky after they burned-out. My camera seems to have caught at least 34 of them, but I wouldn’t describe any of the photos as remarkable. The best meteors, as usual, fell outside the small patch of sky I was photographing – though they were everywhere else at one time or another. Disappointing, but you can’t win, if you don’t play. (Conversely, if you don’t play, you also can’t loose.)

More later.

And now, a flock of wild turkeys I surprised as I was heading out of the ranch. This photo captures only a tiny fragment of the flock, but they started flying into the trees or briskly striding away even before I’d managed to stop the truck and grab the camera that I had ready & waiting for this eventuality. Still, I’ve been bumping into this flock for years, and this is the best turkey photo I’ve come up with so far.


  1. Susan Gatlin11:52 AM CST

    Awesome, was wondering if you went out there with all the hype sounds like you had a great time, even if it was COLD! Thanks

  2. Anonymous11:51 AM CST

    Must the cold weather, our wild turkeys in Michigan are twice that size.

  3. I wondered if you'd gone out there to photograph the Geminids. Sorry you about froze to death. Great turkey shot!

  4. Alison in Indiana4:21 PM CST

    Merry Christmas

  5. Season’s greetings, Alison.