Earlier this year I received an email from a good friend of mine Spencer who announced that he was getting married and wanted to celebrate with a select group of friends out in West Texas on some land he owned in Terlingua. So In April, I hopped in a 4 seat Cessna with someone whom I have never met and 3.5 hours later we were there.
Now about the title of this entry. The star trail image above was something I’ve wanted to do for a while and I knew this trip would provide the opportunity, landscape, lack of light pollution and all the things necessary to make it happen. I set up on a tripod and using my Planets app along with the Compass app, I picked a spot in the southern sky, hooked up my shutter remote and proceeded to let the camera take back to back 30 second exposures until the battery ran out. And that’s exactly what happened 474 images later.
When I woke up the next day, I hopped out of the shipping container and grabbed my camera, put in a new battery and started to jog though all the images. It was perfect. I knew I would have some post work ahead of me but was very pleased at what I was seeing.
The rest of the group was also waking up at this point and we all got together to discuss our contributions to a time capsule dedicated to our weekend out there. My contribution was to be individual portraits of our group and toss the CF card into the time capsule. I had a separate card dedicated for this specific reason but I also wanted to have the images to share with the group so I was switching back and forth between my two cards. We gathered together making our individual offerings to the capsule and decided to head out for breakfast before hitting the road home. On the way to breakfast I pulled my camera out to take another spin through the images from the night before and I was overcome with a sinking feeling in my stomach, the images were gone. The card got accidentally formatted during the portrait session earlier with all the back and forth between cards. I immediately took my dilemma to Spencer who is also a photographer and a brilliant filmmaker who said he would take the card and run it through a robust data recovery software he had back home. Well, it worked.
Day 1 - Above from left to right: Our descent, The Rio Grande Border, HQ - The Perch (the container on the right is where I slept), Too many choices.
Day 2 - About a five minute car ride from The Perch lies a nice split in the earth along with a sweet little cave (image 3).
Above: At our base camp “The Perch” (La Percha) The crew in order of appearance - Speñ (Snakehole), Megan (Solitaire), Greg (Doucement), Chris (Chappy), Jake (Hassie) and Dan (La Piña). Yours truly (Night Ranger) is front and center in the last group image.