Northern Sunflower Trails

I have long been fascinated by sunflowers.  On my travels across the prairies of the Dakotas I loved to encounter sunflower fields with their collective bright yellow heads all aimed in the same direction.  

It is generally known that sunflowers track the sun across the sky, from east to west.  I wondered what happens after sunset, when the flowers would all be facing west.  With no phototropism to guide it, how would they get ready for the eastern sunrise?  Would they be caught off-guard in the morning and suddenly swing their heads back at the risk of floral whiplash?  Or is there a gradual re-setting of the neck-stalk fibers back to an easterly gaze?

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Comet Neowise

A photogenic comet visits in a year when the world is shut down by a virus.  We can still appreciate its beauty and find an isolated area in a nearby park.  Photographing comets has become considerably easier in the twenty years since my previous attempts trying to capture Comet Hale-Bopp on film!

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Excelsior, MN
20 July 2020
Canon EOS Ra with 70-200mm (200)4 sec, f/2.8, ISO 1600


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Arctic Power

The ocean of trees part to make way for electric power to cross the northern regions of Sweden.  The sun has momentarily peeked above the horizon and will soon drop below it again in the days before the winter solstice at this arctic circle location. 

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18 Dec 2019
Jokkmokk, Sweden


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Ayres Natural Bridge Park

The Earth moves under the North Star while the moon illuminates the red rock canyon wall of Ayers Natural Bridges Park.

We were pleasantly surprised to discover this hidden gem in Wyoming, land donated from their ranch by the Ayres family.  The park was entirely free, including campsites, but no pets are allowed.  This is considered a benefit to some.

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10 July 2019
Ayres Natural Bridge Park, Douglas Wyoming
Canon 60Da with EOS EFS 10-22mm(@10mm)
Composited 5-minute exposures at f/5.6, ISO 200, 2-1/2 hours elapsed


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Astronomical League

Amateur astronomers from around the country gathered at the observing facilities of the Minnesota Astronomical Society on a warm July evening.  They discuss their observing plans for the night and  wait in eager anticipation as the brighter planets start to appear in the fading twilight.  

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13 July 2018
Eagle Lake Observatory at Baylor Regional Park,  Young America MN
Apple iPhone 7+
1/60 @ f/2.8, ISO 1250


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Minneapolis Moonrise

The moon rises over the cityscape of Minneapolis as its buildings start to turn on their own lighting..  This is the “supermoon”, a designation for when the moon is unusually close to Earth and hence, appears even larger than expected.

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Minneapolis MN
2 December 2017
Canon EOS 60Da, EF 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 70mm
1/60, f/2.8, ISO 400


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Icelandic Aurora

At 66 degrees north, Husavik Iceland is one degree away from the arctic circle.  This places it directly beneath the usual position of the auroral oval, that zone of active energized atmosphere that creates the northern lights.  The weather in Iceland is often overcast, but on this day the clouds cleared and the aurora were so brilliant they could be seen even over the lights of the city center and its active harbor.

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Husavik Iceland
21 September 2017
Canon EOS 60Da, EFS 10-22mm @ 12mm
2 sec, f/4, ISO 800


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