Midwestern Wanderlog

2015-03-02 – Gorgeous sunrise… speckled sensor.

So, today is a better day.  Better organized, although I might still be late, considering the truck has a very strong sound to it when it goes above fifty MPH.  Probably a wheel bearing going out.  So Jerry has an appointment for it up at Milo’s.  He’d arranged to drop the truck off at 7:30, but I of course have to be up here by 6:44, so he came with me this morning.  Of course, that means I’ll be out here until he gets back.

It’s colder out here today than it was yesterday, but that’s okay because I’m still dressed for it.  I love my hunting jacket and my Carhartts.  And my thick, fuzzy, bright orange face mask.

I think if I can make the top of the stairs by twenty after, I should be good.

Last night was not a good night for sleeping.  Not sure why.  I kept waking up, and then it took me forever to fall back to sleep again.  And my calf muscles have been really sore the past couple of days.  Not really surprising, I suppose, given the trial run and then walking across the ice up on Superior.

Fortunately, I remembered water today.  I got so thirsty yesterday…

Going to be a magnificent sunrise.  The orange is starting to flare on the horizon and the sky is completely clear.

Been needing more breathers today.  I stopped at the top of the first hill, at the bottom of the stairs, halfway up the stairs, and halfway up the big hill.  But even so, I think that’s probably the fastest I’ve walked the lower trail.

I was also thinking that taking just the two pictures is a little lame.  Why wouldn’t I want to see more periodic pictures of each trip up here?

Wonder if I should wear the GoPro daily?  That’d be kind of cool, to have an entire year of footage… a lot of trouble, though.  And a lot of disc space.  And for some reason every time I record with the GoPro, the camera creates one file, but when I go to download it to the computer the file is suddenly broken up into 2.1-gig segments.  Annoying.

Top of the stairs, and I am definitely overheating… which, considering I’ll have to wait for Jerry by the time I get back down, is going to get very uncomfortable.

6:17 at the top of the stairs, I’m doing okay.  My face mask is starting to press on my throat, though.  Very uncomfortable.  So long as I don’t trigger my gag reflex… it’s rather sensitive, and anything putting pressure on my throat will set it off.  But, if I don’t think about it, it won’t happen.

Trudging up the last hill I started murmuring, “One foot, two foot; one foot, two foot…”  Hope it’s not breezy at the top of the hill.  I’ve got a stitch in my side, and oh, that water’s going to taste soooo good…

The water of the Mississippi is still like glass this morning, reflecting the snow and skeleton trees.  Looking across the water I can see a blinking light.  It’s irregular, but there’s a pattern within the irregularity.  I’ve no idea what it is – can’t be a buoy, it’s on the shore.  A channel marker, maybe?  It’s a lonely little light, flashing in the predawn darkness.

There is no wind up here this morning – which makes it a lot more comfortable than if I was feeling a cold breeze, chilling my sweat and bringing tears to my eyes… which is kind of strange, since I thought that wind up here on the bluff would always be stronger than the breeze down below.

 

Color on second sunriseOh, yeah.  Now that is some color.  And there’s steam rising above the river.  (Though if I’d stopped when I first saw it, I probably would have gotten a better picture.  The fiery red faded a bit into a kind of pink, almost a salmon.)  Going to be a great sunrise.

I guess I don’t make decisions as quickly as I should.  I tend to get so focused on what it is that I’m doing that I overlook other things.

Iced water bottleOnce I get the camera set up and take a practice shot – cable release and all, I love my cable release – I take out my water bottle only to find out that my water has iced over just in the short walk from the truck!

I’m trying out two other sunrise calculators this morning, both apps for my iPhone.  It occurred to me yesterday that the Farmer’s Almanac is a calculation based on generic locations, rather than the specific spot, and that will change the time.  And the idea is to get two photos in the minute of sunrise – which is no problem if there aren’t any clouds in the way.  On the mornings where the sun is obscured – like, oh, say, yesterday – how am I to know when sunrise is?

Well, the Sunrise Free app says today’s sunrise is 6:47; Farmer’s Almanac says 6:44… and the Sunrise Clock says…6:42?  Where does it think I am?  Well, I guess I’ll use Farmer’s Almanac, at least until I find out which one is the most accurate.

I hope the steam coming off the river will show up in the photograph.

Wish there were a way to pack things with me.  That way I could wear less when I was exerting myself, and not be underdressed when I stopped.  I don’t like being cold.  Being cold is not my favorite thing in the world.  But I’m already carrying the camera backpack and the tripod; easiest way to bring anything else is to wear it.

Once everything’s set, there’s nothing to do but watch and wait.

It’s a special kind of thing, just being able to stand still.  I know most people don’t like to wait, but I don’t mind it.  It gives me the chance to just be alone and centered with my thoughts, standing here and just waiting for the sun to peek over the horizon, out there in the open, breathing crisp air and hearing… well, traffic noise, but no radios, no people chattering… just me and the bluff, the sunrise and the wind and the beauty of the Mississippi River…

A train went by this morning, just below where I stand.  Love trains.

I got so focused on standing there waiting, I missed my alarm!  I heard the music, but thought it was coming from the NSP plant below, a PA announcement or something.

Speckled imageBut I didn’t miss the rim of the sun peeking over the horizon, bwa-ha-ha.  And it was gorgeous!  Only trouble is, in looking at the display screen after I took the close-up shot of the sun, I noticed that there were specks in my best photograph!

Blast it.  My younger brother gave me some of his old equipment, an 18-55, a 75-300, and a film camera, a rebel similar to the one I learned on.  I could tell my looking that the connector pins would line up just fine, but he wanted to be certain and I didn’t think it through properly.  I put one of the lenses on and snapped a few shots.  Well, the lenses had been stored for two or three years in a camera bag, not a lens case.  You would not believe the dust that can build up, dust that is now all over my sensor.  And it shows when I have the F-stop adjusted for greater detail and depth of field.  Sigh.

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