As mentioned in the previous post, the planets Venus and Mercury passed very close to each other in the evening twilight sky a few nights ago. In fact, this conjuction is the closest conjunction of these two planets until 2033. I chose to photograph the two planets the night before closest approach as I was interested in getting a bit of separation of the two in both the sky and their reflections in the water.
The first image was taken at 2025 MST 27 May 2021 with an 85mm focal length. The second image was taken a short time later at 2035 MST with a focal length of 120mm.
In the first image, there is a very nice and long reflection of Venus in the water; the reflection of Mercury is also present but is faint and diffuse. In the second image, the planets were just a few minutes away from dropping below the ridge to the northwest. In this image, the reflections of both planets are easily seen.
The weather cooperated nicely with light winds allowing reflections on the smooth water of Upper Lake Mary.
And so it begins. The North American Monsoon has begun with many thunderstorms but not much rain. As a result, lightning-sparked wildfires are a possibility.
Just by chance, I was heading out towards Mormon Lake this morning to capture images of the building thunderstorms over the San Francisco Peaks. I had noticed that the early buildups had some interesting structure—a combination of convective vertical growth as well as some laminar wave clouds.
As I drove towards Upper Lake Mary I saw a small plume of smoke from a wildfire. Moments later, I spotted a helicopter dropping water on the fire.
Fortunately, the fire was a very short distance from the lake allowing multiple passes in quick succession.
The recent increase in moisture and a slight cooling of temperatures that we’ve experienced over the past few days will result in good chances of quickly containing this wildfire.
The lightning map for 07 July 2018 shows plenty of lightning across the higher terrain—so it’s likely this fire was caused by lightning.