Dances with Meteors
I went out to Joshua Tree National Park to try to photograph the Lyrid meteor shower. Capturing a meteor is always a challenge, so I was up at 2 AM photographing the Milky Way at the Indian Cove Campground. I had shot hundreds of images, but never captured the elusive meteor.
I wanted to do one of my "Falling in Love with the Universe" images showing people, earth, and sky, but there was no one around to pose. Then, all of a sudden, a couple showed up in the darkness, and I asked them if they would like to pose. After a number of awkward and flat-footed poses, I asked her if she like liked to dance. She lit up and started to move. So, we put her in front of the camera and I opened the shutter for the 15 second exposure. I painted her with a flashlight to bring out her figure and the bushes. I noticed later that her body is arching to the exact center of our galaxy, and the Sagittarius A black hole.
Amazingly, a meteor also appeared in the frame, as well. Photographers talk about the "critical moment" - an instant that is not too soon, nor too late to make the scene. Having a model stroll by, asking her to dance, and having a meteor appear made this a super-critical moment.
And thanks to Wally Pacholka for his compositional suggestions. He took his famous Hale Bopp Time Magazine picture of the year image just down the road two campsites. www.astropics.com/jostimpic.html