Photographer's Note

Now that summer temperatures are up, everyone complains at how hot it is. It IS rather warm, and so to cool everyone off, I present you with minus 15 F from the desert wilderness near Vernal, Utah.

I myself never complain about anything I can't do anything about, so weather doesn't get much mouth from me. Endless red tape and meaningless political activities from university administrators get lots of complaints from me, though!

On some winter nights in rural Utah, the air gets very clear during a high pressure system. A few photos ago, I showed you what a constant low pressure can do: it leads to an inversion. Here, though, the air, though chilly, is clear and lovely.

Vernal and many other tiny towns nearby make up what is called the Uintah Basin, a large depression between tall mountains covering a goodly sized chunk of eastern Utah. It was famous for oil production not too many years ago, but when the oil wells ran dry, the cities got smaller. Now it's a wonderful place to explore and is the gateway to many great mountain hiking trails. This shot is right in the middle of the Ute Indian reservation. To the east only a few miles is Dinosaur National Park.

My daughter was nice and warm in the car while I stood outside for an hour taking photos at 30 second exposures each and setting up and adjusting in between. I was pretty numb when I was finished!

I used my normal ISO of 100 for this photo. I found that anything above this would expose better, but would also have way too much noise. In the end, this image was very dark, but I was able to lighten it and reduce the noise to almost acceptable levels.

Oddly, the stars really are these colors, even the red one in the center. In the unedited original, there it is in its crimson glory. I like the colors, anyway. It look a long time with my daughter to keep the blue and not have too much purple in the photo (since photoshop sometimes thinks blue is purple); I'm colorblind and so thought the purple was blue. In the end, my daughter thought this was okay. Rest assured, I did not ADD any blue to this, this is--or should be--the colors of that night, but in adding contrast and such, it started turning purple.

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Additional Photos by David Sidwell (dsidwell) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2294 W: 168 N: 1911] (9783)
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