This shot is taken from a similar position and angle to another star trail I posted last year, this time with a wider angle. The pre-dawn glow is barely visible to the right of the image. The north star, Polaris, is near the upper left. Click the image to see more detail.
The crystal clear, windless sky made for crisp air (28°F). It may not be darkest just before the dawn but it is often coldest.
A clear view down to a burn area somewhere north of the San Fernando Valley and west of Interstate 5. Click to enlarge - some flames can actually be discerned even from this altitude and at this reduced resolution.
Another burn area seen from a bit higher.
Yet more active burns.
Looking toward the coast, the smoke is very evident.
Considerably further north and still smoky.
Another fire up near Fresno.
Plume from a fire near Mt. Shasta.
Klamath Lake with Mt. Loughlin looming in the background. Smoke from many fires visible all around.
Crater Lake. More fires visible in the foreground and the background.
Beginning on October 21, fierce winds fanned the flames of at least 11 large fires in Southern California. After a long dry spell there was plenty of fuel for the fires to consume. As of this posting, the winds continue to blow and the flames continue to spread, threatening many residential areas. As of this writing, some homes have already been lost but many more are in danger.
Smoke billows from the Castaic fire; the sun filters through.
A wide view over the lake.
A closer view.
Smoke starting to fill valleys and canyons in the Santa Clarita area.
Smoke from the Agua Dulce fire seen from highway 14 looking across Vasquez Rocks County Park.
The view from the slanted rocks in the previous image.
Amidst the chaos, a tranquil scene.
Down the road, flames can be seen on the hillside.
A little closer, it becomes apparent just how huge this one fire is. And how close to neighborhoods.
Helicopters of various descriptions work to protect homes and fight the fire.
A Sikorsky Sky Crane rigged with water dropping tank.
Closer up under a tank-equipped chopper.
Off to the fire they go.
The winds are blowing so strongly that it's difficult to stand; harder still to hold the camera steady. Even on a tripod or braced against a log fencepost, with image stabilization at 1600 ISO, it's hard not to get some image blur. The effect of these gusts on the fire is at once amazing and frightening.
As the days grow shorter, the late harvest comes in providing, among the bounty, pumpkins. At this time, creatures set about their preparations for the coming winter, winds pick up and whistle through the trees taking with them colored leaves that settle to a crunchy carpet on the ground. Imagination runs a bit wild, hearing voices in the breeze, seeing shapes in the trees, and fearing what the blustery weather may bring.
If only for a brief time, the rain has subsided, the clouds have moved off, and the sun shines down through a deep blue sky. Autumn has progressed to a point of deeper colors but the show is far from over. Many trees are just beginning to show signs of their color change and others have yet to start.
Around every corner, behind every shrub, waits another feast for the eyes. Sunlight peeks through the trees and touches the leaves, announcing their presence in shades of red, orange, yellow, and green.
As the day draws to a close and the sun angle approaches the horizon, a gentle light filters through the changing leaves, flooding some with light while others remain quietly in the shadows.
Scenes like these are repeated all around. Gentle breezes bend and creak the branches. Distant dogs bark and coyotes howl; crows and ravens call. Spider webs abound. Sunset passes and a full moon rises in the distance casting its eerie glow upon the scene.
It's not hard to imagine how earlier peoples living in environments like these conjured mythologies of spirits, ghosts, and demons. Today we are more enlightened and can see these scenes for their tranquil beauty without the need for such fanciful explanations. But somewhere deep down in our beings lives a memory of earlier times and we may be forgiven if occasionally we succumb, however briefly, to a sense of mysticism in the air.
To all of you leaving your wonderful comments, thank you very much. They are always greatly appreciated.
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Frequently people land on this site with search queries like "what part of the eye corresponds to the camera shutter". With a camera, the shutter opens for a very precise amount of time and allows light to hit the film or sensor inside the camera. The closest comparison to that in the eye would be the eyelid that can open and close but its purpose is more analogous to that of the lens cap than the shutter. Shutter mechanisms come in a variety of configurations. More detailed information about camera shutters can be found in this article [Wikipedia].
Camera lenses also have a diaphragm iris [Wikipedia] which adjusts to increase or decrease the amount of the available light that can pass through it during any given period of time. This corresponds directly to the iris in the eye [Wikipedia] which serves the same purpose. I suspect many people confuse this with the diaphragm-type shutter mechanism, however both the eye's iris and that of the camera are visible through the lens while the shutter is generally inside the camera and out of sight. In modern cameras, the iris is usually fully open except at the moment when a picture is taken so it can be seen to move right about the same time as the shutter.