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This deepscape (landscape astrophotography with a telephoto lens) was capture near Fort Qu’Appelle Saskatchewan. In July, I had a wonderful night under the stars with friends photographing the comet and the milky way. What I didn’t realize at that moment was that, between work and cloud cover, I wouldn’t see the stars again until November 19th. By that time, I had become so accustomed to cloud cover during a new moon cycle it was a shock when my 9-year-old exclaimed after supper, “Look, dad! There’s the moon”. In a state of disbelief, I looked up the cloud forecast for that night and my jaw dropped to the floor. Clear skies, no wind, reasonably low dew point and humidity were forecasted, indicating the potential for a great night of photography. My mind raced to find a wide-field composition of the Orion region in the archives, but couldn’t think of anything. Then, this small group of trees came to mind. Having photographed the Rho Ophiuci Cloud Complex as a deepscape over them a couple of years back, I thought they might look very different after a good snowfall a couple of weeks earlier under the brilliance of Orion.
Astronomical dark around 7 PM local time, moonset was at 9:24 PM (25% illuminated) and Orion arrived precisely to this position at 9:35 PM, I set out. I had plans of capturing the landscape with the moon still in the sky, quickly polar aligning after it set, and beginning my Orion exposures directly at 9:30. Everything worked in my favour. The skies stayed clear, the landscape was even more snow-packed than I imagined and I came home with an image I love of my favourite constellation in the night sky. As a bonus, as I waited for my many sky exposures to finish up, I got to enjoy Aurora Borealis dancing in the north and a few stray meteors lighting up the sky.
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