First Friday Art Walk with Sambatuque and Circus Bacchus

It’s the beginning of the month and another Flagstaff First Friday Art Walk is here. This is a year-round event that occurs every month, rain or shine (or snow) and is well attended.

Circus Bacchus performer.
Circus Bacchus performer.
Sambatuque performing on Heritage Square, Flagstaff, Arizona.
Sambatuque performing on Heritage Square, Flagstaff, Arizona.
Circus Bacchus playing with fire at Heritage Square, Flagstaff, Arizona.
Circus Bacchus playing with fire at Heritage Square, Flagstaff, Arizona.
Circus Bacchus at Heritage Square, Flagstaff, Arizona.
Circus Bacchus at Heritage Square, Flagstaff, Arizona.

This month there were performances at Heritage Square by Sambatuque on their percussion instruments and theatre performance by Circus Bacchus.

Venus Transit of the the Sun

The transit of Venus across the face of the Sun on 05-06 June 2012 UTC was an amazing sight. Even more amazing is the rarity of this event. Transits of Venus occur in pairs approximately eight years apart then not repeated again for over one hundred years. Since this was the second transit of the pair the next will not occur until the year 2117. So, if you wanted to see a transit, this was your last best chance!

NASA has compiled some stunning video and images of the transit. The SpaceWeather site also has information and a user gallery of images.

Venus transiting the sun at 1523 MST (2223 UTC). The full disk of the planet is visible at this time.
Venus transiting the sun at 1523 MST (2223 UTC). The full disk of the planet is visible at this time.

I was able to capture several images of the transit including first contact at ~2206 UTC and when the full disk first became completely visible in front of the sun.

Venus transiting the sun as the sun sets behind the low mountains west of Flagstaff. Image shot using a ND3 filter.
Venus transiting the sun as the sun sets behind the low mountains west of Flagstaff. Image shot using a ND3 filter.

As the sun began to set behind the mountains west of Flagstaff I was able to capture this image with the lower portion of the sun already behind the trees.

Composite image of (1) filtered image of the sun and Venus in transit and (2) the darkening sky a few minutes after sunset.
Composite image of (1) filtered image of the sun and Venus in transit and (2) the darkening sky a few minutes after sunset.

This image is a composite of a filtered image of the sun followed a few minutes later by a standard exposure showing the colors in the evening sky as well as numerous birds.

(Edit: Fixed typo in year of next transit.)

Thinly sliced snow

A major winter storm dropped anywhere from one to two feet of snow in the Flagstaff area this weekend. The mountains got even more with some areas reporting more than four feet of new snow.

Thinly sliced snow.
Thinly sliced snow.

Deep snow was sitting on this table and set of chairs in front of one of my favorite coffee shops — the Kickstand Kafe. The weight of the snow was pushing the snow below it through the vertical bars of the chair back resulting in thinly sliced snow.

Sometimes you go to the storm; sometimes the storm comes to you.

I enjoy capturing images of lightning. Most of the time I have to travel to where the storms are and then hope to get some good images. Once in a while, the storms come to me. Today was that kind of day. I set up the tripod and camera looking out the back porch of my house in Flagstaff and began to shoot.

Lightning near Flagstaff, Arizona. Settings: 1/4 second, f/8.0, ISO200, 28 mm lens.
Lightning near Flagstaff, Arizona. Settings: 1/4 second, f/8.0, ISO200, 28 mm lens.
Lightning near Flagstaff, Arizona. Settings: 1/8 second, f/11, ISO200, 28 mm lens.
Lightning near Flagstaff, Arizona. Settings: 1/8 second, f/11, ISO200, 28 mm lens.

These lightning strokes had many filaments and channels and were exquisitely detailed. Absolutely amazing! I think it is fair to say that these may be the best images I have captured in over 30 years of trying — first on film and now digitally.