Chasing Neowise in a Porsche
On the anniversary of the moon landing I take a trip combining my passion for cars, cameras and the cosmos.
When I heard about a newly discovered comet I packed my tripod and camera ready to drive up the twisty mountain roads and find a comet to shoot.
Start With The Sunset
“It’s said that we’re all descended from astronomers, our ancient ancestors used the night sky to tell stories across generations, track time and navigate the world.”
My first pitstop was the sunset with a view from the Mt Wilson Observatory before continuing on in search of dark skies. Driving the tight mountain roads my concentration narrowed, the further into the mountains the darker it got. until, out of the corner of my eye, the comet revealed itself out of my side window. I was enjoying the journey so much I forgot about the destination. I stopped at the next opening but the surrounding trees and high brush blocked most of the ambient light and obscured the view.
A Lighting Challenge
Where it’s dark enough to clearly see the comet it’s too dark to shoot a car. Without the moon for ambient light I used the only light source on-hand, the LED flashlight from my phone. I started a 20 second exposure and walked around my car painting it with light. I used the tall trees and bushes obstructing my view to frame the comet.
“Sometimes the most satisfying creations come from turning an obstacle into a solution.”
As I packed my camera and tripod I took some time to take in the view, the tiny comet slowly setting on the horizon as the earth turns. I think about how the earth would look from the comet’s perspective, much like the view from the moon I imagine. Seeing that I happen to be up here on the anniversary of the moon landing I’m reminded of a quote from a famous theoretical physicist.
“One of the great revelations of the Space Age has been the perspective it has given humanity on ourselves. When we see the earth from space, we see ourselves as a whole. We see the unity and not the divisions. It is such a simple image with a compelling message. One planet. One human race. We are here together and we need to live together with tolerance and respect. We must become Global Citizens. Our only boundaries are the way we see ourselves. The only borders, the way we see each other.”
- Stephen Hawking