Frivolity

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

North Coast Night Lights: Perception of Time

Posted By on Wed, May 15, 2019 at 11:03 AM

The rugged northern California coast is battered by a constant barrage of waves, their motion smoothed out in this 25-second exposure. Puffy clouds blowing by overhead were changed to streaks in the camera by their motion. Only the stars and rocks appeared to be still. - DAVID WILSON
  • David Wilson
  • The rugged northern California coast is battered by a constant barrage of waves, their motion smoothed out in this 25-second exposure. Puffy clouds blowing by overhead were changed to streaks in the camera by their motion. Only the stars and rocks appeared to be still.
Considering how the world is versus our perception of it is interesting. Take this photograph. What do you see in it? Perhaps give yourself a moment and label all the things you find in it. You could describe the image with all of the thousand words a picture is due, but yet miss entirely some of the action that was taking place during the photograph, either because it wasn’t recorded at all or it was recorded in such a way that it isn’t recognizable. Did you note the crashing waves pounding the rocks below, or describe the cottony-puffy shape of the clouds as they drifted across the sky? What about the motion of the Earth beneath the stars, or the perpetual crumbling of the coastline into the waves occurring before our very eyes? It’s all there, but did you see it?

What’s real time? Let’s say real time is how we perceive time passing via our personal biological senses of sight, sound, smell, etc. Our eyes are made to bring us a view of our surroundings in an instant, with moment-by-moment updates. When I shot this image, I was out photographing with my friend and former student Jake Langston. In real time we saw each of the individual waves arriving in a continuous procession. One by one they rolled in to the shore, crashing and splashing around the gigantic buffer rocks in the shallows before finally pounding against the cliffs and beaches amid the familiar roar of the surf’s white noise. Above us a cluster of small clouds slid slowly across the sky, each a discrete little puff. Stars twinkled behind them, hanging apparently motionless across the magnificent night.
Jake takes a starry night photo overlooking the Pacific Ocean along Scenic Drive, Humboldt County, California. - DAVID WILSON
  • David Wilson
  • Jake takes a starry night photo overlooking the Pacific Ocean along Scenic Drive, Humboldt County, California.


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Monday, May 13, 2019

Local Breweries Plan a Beer and Oyster Event on the Same Day as Oyster Fest

Posted By on Mon, May 13, 2019 at 5:09 PM

The logo for Eel River Brewing Co.'s June 15 event. - FACEBOOK
  • Facebook
  • The logo for Eel River Brewing Co.'s June 15 event.

Six Rivers Brewery, Mad River Brewing Co. and Tap Room, Redwood Curtain Brewing Co., Lost Coast Brewery and The Booth Brewing Co. are getting together for a local beer showcase with oysters at Eel River Brewing Co. in Fortuna. They're calling it Schuck Yeah and it's set for June 15, the same day as the Arcata Bay Oyster Festival from which all six local breweries have been effectively shut out. Last month festival organizer Arcata Main Street made an exclusive and controversial deal with Crescent City's SeaQuake Brewing, which will be donating two kegs for every keg purchased and be the only beer flowing on the plaza this year.

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Wednesday, May 8, 2019

North Coast Night Lights: Humboldt Moonset

Posted By on Wed, May 8, 2019 at 1:39 PM

A Humboldt Moonset - High Saturation. What passes between friends as the crescent moon sets over the Pacific at the end of the Milky Way? Humboldt County, California. November 10, 2018. - DAVID WILSON
  • David Wilson
  • A Humboldt Moonset - High Saturation. What passes between friends as the crescent moon sets over the Pacific at the end of the Milky Way? Humboldt County, California. November 10, 2018.
When friends or family visit from afar my first wish is to share the natural beauty of our area with them, especially if they come from city lives insulated from nature. From the legendary forests of our towering redwoods to the beautiful beaches and rugged coastlines, the natural beauty of our area is its greatest treasure.

It’s all still there at night, too, remember. And night offers something else city folk never see at home: a sky full of stars. It’s all too easy to take things for granted when one is accustomed to seeing them, and we live in a wonderland here. But conversely, to those unaccustomed to the sights, our area offers some amazing eye-openers, not the least of which is our night sky. Visitors from less rural areas are often amazed at the number of stars we still have in our skies. If you take your visitors out, or even go yourself, allow fifteen to twenty minutes to let your eyes grow used to the dark so see the most stars.

There is really no better way to feel small in the Universe than to stare into the night sky full of stars and realize that each one is itself a sun, and all are impossibly distant from each other. Some of those points in the sky are themselves entire galaxies full of stars. And everything we see is but a small part of the whole Universe … so it makes me feel small. Living amongst and beneath all this beauty we have on California’s North Coast goes remarkably well with my current passion: sharing these wonders of the nightscape via my photography.

Even visiting friends who themselves are not strangers to the outdoors will appreciate our unique scenery. Take the new moon’s crescent setting over the Pacific at the very foot of the Milky Way … I ask you. How many folks get to see that? Not too many, probably, for it happens only once each year. The Milky Way moves across the horizon from left to right month by month, and the previous month saw the Milky Way setting to the left of the crescent moon, while the following month it was to the right of the moon.

The moon was the brightest object in the sky at the time of the accompanying photograph, and in allowing the camera to gather enough light for the surrounding area the moon itself nearly became a featureless brightness in the sky. But its crescent shape is preserved in the original image, and can be seen when printed large. If you’re unable to see the crescent shape here, it’s because it is too small as presented.

In editing the photograph I noticed that the sky above the horizon had two distinct color casts between the left and right sides. In the spirit of fun, I bumped up the saturation to bring out the color differences. In part because of that, I halfway think of the image title as “High Saturation” but officially I have titled it “Humboldt Moonset.”

To keep abreast of David Wilson’s most current photography or peer into its past, visit and contact him at his website mindscapefx.com or follow him on Instagram at @david_wilson_mfx .
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Wednesday, May 1, 2019

North Coast Night Lights: Cave Fire Dancer

Posted By on Wed, May 1, 2019 at 11:24 AM

Shapes of the mind. Sometimes inner peace is only a surface illusion we cloak ourselves in to hide what’s really within. But if we hide it too well, would we lose ourselves? What do you find if you lose yourself in this image? Fire Dancer: Chelsea Burns. Humboldt County, California. - DAVID WILSON
  • David Wilson
  • Shapes of the mind. Sometimes inner peace is only a surface illusion we cloak ourselves in to hide what’s really within. But if we hide it too well, would we lose ourselves? What do you find if you lose yourself in this image? Fire Dancer: Chelsea Burns. Humboldt County, California.
Photographing a fire dancer this week was a new experience for me, and I was unsure how things would turn out when Chelsea Burns, a local fire dancer, approached me about taking pictures of her as she danced with fire. It sounded like something interesting to photograph in the dark, so I was into it. My imagination began to conjure images, seeing shapes and designs and scenes that we could make.

We chose a beach location for its fire safety and potential for reflections. I was interested in capturing images inside a nearby cave, and there were other large rocks and rock faces with great textures that could be brought out by the fire’s illumination.

But as I photographed while dusk slipped to night, I began to realize that capturing my vision of the fire dancer was going to take more experimenting than I had thought. Usually the fastest things moving about in my images are stars or clouds sliding across the sky, and bright light sources are held to a minimum. In contrast, the fire dancer’s twirling fire was a veritable cyclone of whirling light in constant blinding motion. It took a few frames to get used to that, and to be sure I am still not its master after photographing for only about an hour.

Looking through the photographs at home I couldn’t find any that I felt excited about. I needed more time to get used to the way the moving fire landed in the image in order to really capture what I was envisioning, but I see how it will be possible in future sessions. While I could find no single exposure that I thought stood on its own merits, I did find a number of them that I could put together into a fantasy environment. So I did.

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Wednesday, April 24, 2019

North Coast Night Lights: Smoky Coastal Skies and Milky Way

Posted By on Wed, Apr 24, 2019 at 11:30 AM

The Milky Way looms over the Pacific Ocean, standing out over the smoky, misty air along California’s North Coast. Smoke from inland fires lingered in the sky. August 2015. - DAVID WILSON
  • David Wilson
  • The Milky Way looms over the Pacific Ocean, standing out over the smoky, misty air along California’s North Coast. Smoke from inland fires lingered in the sky. August 2015.
At the end of the summer of 2015, my brother and I were out around midnight on a great rock overlooking the Pacific Ocean, enjoying the view between ourselves and the rest of the Universe. Fires inland had been burning for weeks, their pall of smoke glowing orange in the sky to the south of us, illuminated from below by the lights of coastal Humboldt County habitations. From out of our view in front of us, a lighthouse cast a cold blue light onto the Pacific to contrast with the orange color of the smoky sky. Above it all, rising from the fog of smoke and ocean mists loomed the Milky Way, a great galactic structure in the sky reminding us of our small part in the cosmic dance around us.

The night sky is a precious gift, a window out into something much larger than we are, a view into the cosmic splendor of which we play such a tiny part. It’s a window denied to those who reside in the city, but we on the California North Coast are fortunate to live where there are few major light sources at night and we can easily get away from them to enjoy rich starry skies. Here we find the natural beauty of the Earth by day, and at night we have the majesty and beauty of the universe to behold. It doesn’t get much better than that for those who love the natural world.

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Monday, April 22, 2019

Warming Trend Comes with River Warnings

Posted By on Mon, Apr 22, 2019 at 3:38 PM

NWS
  • NWS
For many, it seemed like winter was never going to release its grip on the North Coast. But according to the National Weather Service, it appears things are looking up in the mercury department for the next week.

According to the Eureka office, inland temps should reach into the 70s and 80s this week, although there is the potential for a “weak thunderstorm or two” in our neighbor counties of Trinity and Mendocino. As for the coast, the skies are looking to clear up for mild afternoons in the low to mid 60s.

While the warming trend may convince some folks it's time to head straight for our local rivers, the National Weather Service is also warning that the waters are still “running swift and cold.” They add that "even experienced swimmers can lose muscle control very quickly in cold water."
NWS
  • NWS
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CHP to the Rescue for this Feathered Family (Video)

Posted By on Mon, Apr 22, 2019 at 11:37 AM

The wayward family. - CHP
  • CHP
  • The wayward family.
Just because it's cute. Here is some video the CHP posted of a local officer lending a helping hand to a wayward family of Canada geese that he found wandering along the side of U.S. Highway 101 while on patrol south of Eureka.

Enjoy!
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Wednesday, April 17, 2019

North Coast Night Lights: Musings at Moonstone Cave

Posted By on Wed, Apr 17, 2019 at 11:24 AM

DAVID WILSON
  • David Wilson
We stood in the mouth of the cavern, looking out through a great broken crack in the blackness into the night as if through a window into another world. It fired our imaginations, conjuring mysteries in the night. What is it about caves that stirs us so inside? My thoughts wandered and stories began to play across my mind as my imagination took me to a time that might have been earlier that day. …

… Hiking the redwood forests of Humboldt County earlier in the afternoon, my two companions and I had stumbled onto a stone stairway in the woods. Its worn steps led up a hill and into the goosepen of a great redwood tree. We had all hiked this area before but none of us had ever seen the stairs or the tree, not even the hill it was on. I admit I was more than a little confused. I consider myself to have an excellent sense of direction and have never gotten lost in the forest before, but how could I have missed this until now? Were we where we thought we were? My companions were as confused as I.

The stairs seemed ancient, small ledges of rock covered in moss, lichen and fallen debris. They led up into the dark opening at the base of the tree where the redwood opened to accommodate them, widening as though it had been growing around the steps for a thousand years, enticing travelers to enter and explore its mysteries. We accepted the invitation.
Imagine, if you will, a stairway to the darkest recesses of your own mind, where the only journey you will make is within, and the only fears you will face are your own. This is a place you cannot find on a map, cannot reach on foot — yet a familiarity of places known hangs about it like the cool Humboldt mists. … (Thank you, Rod Serling) - Note: this is a composite image of two Humboldt places and only exists in the imagination. - DAVID WILSON
  • David Wilson
  • Imagine, if you will, a stairway to the darkest recesses of your own mind, where the only journey you will make is within, and the only fears you will face are your own. This is a place you cannot find on a map, cannot reach on foot — yet a familiarity of places known hangs about it like the cool Humboldt mists. … (Thank you, Rod Serling)Note: this is a composite image of two Humboldt places and only exists in the imagination.
The steps climbed up and into the tree’s hollow, and then immediately descended again to vanish into the darkness underground. The beam of my headlamp revealed the staircase curving out of view in the shadows below us. We looked at each other there at the top of the stairs — to explore, or no? My companions flicked their own headlamps on in answer. Down we went.

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Friday, March 29, 2019

North Coast Night Lights: Dawn Chases the Milky Way

Posted By on Fri, Mar 29, 2019 at 12:17 PM

Night Flees the dawn as the brightening blue overtakes the Milky Way. Kneeland Road, Humboldt County, California. March 17, 2019. - DAVID WILSON
  • David Wilson
  • Night Flees the dawn as the brightening blue overtakes the Milky Way. Kneeland Road, Humboldt County, California. March 17, 2019.
I pulled into the turnout and shut off the engine and lights. The stars jumped out and I joined them. Above the horizon the core of our galaxy glowed in the last darkness of the night. I smiled. Hello, Darkness, my old friend, I thought. It seemed apt, though it was the sight of the Milky Way’s bright center in the sky for the first time in months that most excited me. It’s the largest cosmic structure we can see, a fascinating reminder of the unimaginable vastness and mystery beyond our world.

A bend in the road ahead beckoned. Beyond the turn lay… what? My imagination rose. Metaphor for many things, a road can hold unique feelings or meanings for each of us. To one person the road may lead outward toward places undiscovered, while to another it will bring one’s thoughts home to perhaps reveal a mystery within. It occurred to me that within and without are but two ends of a spectrum of awareness and existence.

The mysteries of road and cosmos coming together called to me. Metaphorically I didn’t know where the road led beyond that curve. How could I when I knew it would lead each of us to our own destinations? That was the fascination for me. This road led anywhere. Even if it takes one nowhere, then that is where one is. What is beyond the bend for you?
One road may take you home. Another leads you away. And some will take you inside yourself. Where are you going today? Humboldt County, California. Pre-dawn, March 17, 2019. - DAVID WILSON
  • David Wilson
  • One road may take you home. Another leads you away. And some will take you inside yourself. Where are you going today? Humboldt County, California. Pre-dawn, March 17, 2019.


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Monday, February 18, 2019

Hello there, Super Snow Moon

Posted By on Mon, Feb 18, 2019 at 12:30 PM

An aircraft taking off is seen passing in front of full moon in December of 2017. - NASA/BILL INGALLS
  • NASA/Bill Ingalls
  • An aircraft taking off is seen passing in front of full moon in December of 2017.
Move over Super Blood Wolf Moon, it’s the Super Snow Moon’s turn to shine.

Sure it’s not as snazzy a name and Tuesday’s moon lacks that added je ne sais quoi of a lunar eclipse, but the celestial orb will “look extremely large when it rises and sets,” according to NASA, the result of an illusion that occurs when the Moon is close to the horizon and our brain is “tricked into thinking the Moon is much closer to the objects that are in our line of sight.”

And, hey, it’s the second to the last one for the year, so enjoy. According to the website Time and Date, moonset in Eureka will occur at 7:22 a.m. Tuesday  — with the full moon reached at 7: 53 a.m. — and rise at 6:17 p.m.

The National Weather Service, however, forecasts rain is likely for that evening.

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