Shooting Stars – Orionids 2011 and Geminids 2010

Those that have known me for a while know that it’s rare that I let a descent meteorite shower pass me up without at least trying to check it out.  Of course the weather has to cooperate and it is a late night so work/day life has to cooperate too! 🙂

Last year I started mounting a camera and have been successful at getting a few of the elusive shooters.  Here are some of the shots that I’ve taken where I’ve gotten a shooting star.  Any tips that others use?  I just mount to the tripod, zoom all the way out (18mm stock lens), use autofocus to get the focus and then turn it to manual focus mode, then take pictures using a timer.  Camera settings I’m still playing with; for the Orionids 2011 I used a low value for F-stop and a high ISO value at 30 second exposures (almost too long).  For the Geminids 2010 I used a little higher F-stop but again 1600 ISO and 30 second exposures.

Orionids Orionids

Cut Topaz finally arrives! Nice!

I finally received my topaz that Joe Dorris arranged to have cut for me–there were all ones that I dug from the ground! These are great for the most part; one has some pits and are issues with the original stone that I didn’t see. Now I have to figure out how to set them into some jewelry!

Not all of these were sent to get cut…only the four circled were sent.

Topaz before cutting

Here are the stones afterward the 10 month wait (this was abnormally slow I guess, definitely worth the wait and fees)…

Cut Topaz in new boxes

Cut Topaz

2005 Tornado Tour – Silver Lining Tours’ Master Class journal

I had been wanting to take a tornado tour ever since they were first offered; the thought of not having to drive and get to see how hard-core storm chasers travel everywhere sounded great; and this company had the “Master Class Tour” which was a severe storm forecasting class at the same time as a tour! Perfect!
Here is the original journal I posted with pictures while on the tour to communicate back to loved ones and friends! What a great trip and opportunity!

Day 1 – Jackson County SD Badlands Twister
Day 2 – NE Kansas/Missouri Supercells
Day 3 – NW Kansas Tornadofest
Day 4 – Oklahoma & Texas Panhandle Supercells
Day 5 – Texas Panhandle Caprock Twister
Day 6 – Texas Panhandle Twisters
Day 7 – Iowa Supercell
Day 8 – Lectures, Forecasting and recharging
Day 9 – Trego County Mothership