Space, Sound and Silence

I might drive out into the Hill Country tonight, maybe Pedernales Falls or Enchanted Rock, or even just the side of the road somewhere. I want to try my hand at Night Sky photography again. I learned alot from my failed attempts last weekend, and I’m ready to apply what learned, and try again tonight.

I think I’ve figured out the better settings for what I’m trying to capture, and how to work the parts of the camera I’ve avoided thus far. I mainly live in Aperture Priority mode, or Time Mode. With Night Photography, it’s been all manual, and awkward, and mistakes. It’s been fun to explore the mechanics of the camera again. It’s been cool.

But, it’ll be just above freezing tonight, so it’ll be cold. Does that make this a dumb idea?Those temps may be a deterrent, or should be, but then it may also make for a good night to be out alone, away from the city and light pollution and sound pollution and under the stars you can’t see from the city.

Part of the reason I like hiking and being outside in the nearby wild is the space and silence. They heighten the experience of other life, or the weather, or the passing moments. In the rush of city life, you don’t get that space and silence to consider each bird call, to perceive movement in a branch just above you, or to be in awe of a vulture in long, floating flight. The city is too much on an onslaught of sounds, and sights, and closing off to large segments of input seems to be a survival mechanism for the streets. Keep your nose down and mind your own business. Outside, when you hike in silence, you keep you nose up, and your eyes open, and all your senses reaching out into space to feel what is around you, and what is around you are all these different life forms, and the unknown, and maybe danger.

At night, you get even more space and more silence in between the night noises and the unknown. It’s at night when you notice that hearing is primarily about sensing movement. We simply call it sound, but it’s the perception of vibrations in the air from the movement of things, maybe monsters. As an organism on a dangerous planet, which is often dark as the night sky, it’s important to be able to sense the movement of possible predators, or possible meals.

Plus there are the stars. I keep thinking of driving further and further into West Texas on a moonless night to see as many stars as possible. A black pool of stars I could splash into. I want to take photographs of the universe, and the arm of my own galaxy.

Pedernales Falls is a Dark Sky park (Texas Dark Skies Program) and so is Enchanted Rock, but they have low ratings. I want to see the sky in a truly dark sky park. I plan to visit Big Bend, and the Monahans Sandhills, and Davis Mountains, etc., soon.  Very Soon.

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