The confluence was two-fold: our solar system, and my schedule. It was a weekend off from work, and there was no place or thing i had to be or do. As for our celestial neighborhood, the two brightest planets were (from our vantage point) getting close together, and on that very night, a cool, crescent moon would join with them in tight formation.
Checking the forecast every so often, i had an almost child-like giddiness thinking ‘the stars’ were lining up so well. There should be a few clouds around to make for a nice sunset, but the sky in general should be clear. My neighbor, James, (eager to try out his new camera) and i grabbed some fast food and headed west…looking right into the face of a massive line of dark gray coming from the northwest. “It’s early…that’ll pass right on through and we’ll be done with it before the show starts.”
As younger folk are want to say, “Yeah, right.”
It didn’t pass. We got to the overlook near Sprewell Bluff as the demarcation of cloud had just passed the sun. I started a gopro time lapse, but after a while, the rain made its way to our vantage point, and i saw no point in tempting fate.
Of course, once i dismantled the time lapse setup, the 127 drops of rain i encountered were done, and so James and i stood around on the platform, thinking our evening was a waste, and wondering which of us would be first to order a retreat.
With naïve hopes there might be sufficient parting of the clouds later that evening before our targets dropped below the horizon, we waited around, greeting occasional tourists stopping by long enough to snap their ‘we-were-at-the-Sprewell-Bluff-overlook-and-here’s-our-selfie-to-prove-it picture.’
After the ambient light had begun falling off in earnest, we noticed a piece of the western sky was beginning to pink up. With this, my impression was, “i’m not impressed…this isn’t worth setting the gopro back up for a few moments of token color.” As i kept watching, and James kept shooting, the color eventually burst forth over a huge chunk of sky, and so as i’ve done many times before, i rolled my eyes and questioned why i was so foolish as to [yet, again!] not have made the right decision. At this point, all i could do was grab a few shots with the 5D…time was lapsing such that there was no time to resume the time lapse.
The glorious display quickly ebbed into some little lines of color, and we began seeing a bit of heat lightning over the other side of the western ridge. So since the 5D was warmed up and on deck, i decided to finish the evening with a few long exposures to see if any bolts were catchable.
The resulting score for the night was clouds won, king zero. James and i hung around for a while more, but it became clear that the part of the sky we wanted to see…wasn’t going to be.
And so, here is my lame shot from the following night. Venus in the very bottom right corner, dimmer Jupiter is a little ways diagonally toward the moon from Venus, and the (one day older) moon in the upper left. Twenty-four hours can change a spectacular rendezvous into a ‘not-all-that-close encounter of the less exciting kind.’
Still, let there be no question i’m thankful for my Weatherman, and His dominion over all there is. To cite a quote i heard my dad make when i was a kid, “Mankind, despite thousands of years of advancement, still owes his existence to six inches of topsoil and the fact that it rains.”
Grateful for His reign,