As usual by the time of year in the Alps, the villages in the valleys lay under a thick layer of fog called inversion. At this point best wishes to my friends at the lower parts of Bavaria and Austria.
So, just a night before leaving to my booked out (-: time-lapse workshop at Vienna I was finishing packing.
But I had enough of the fog and wanted to catch a peek of comet ISON, since Vienna is usually under fog during winter. So I would have no opportunity to watch ISON the next three mornings during my stay.
Our home village was under a fog layer, so after a quick decision, I grabbed my gear at around 00:30 pm and drove east to go high above the Zillertal to escape the fog. The road that would lead me high enough, I knew from an earlier session in 2010. But I was a bit anxious: The road would in the upper part be icy and snow covered, would I need to mount chains? No. With temps around Zero the grip was good, and as always my 4×4 Ford Kuga was in a good mood and climbed up like a weasel. I arrived at the place – located 1800 m high – around 1:30 a.m. And finally there were the clear skies and a great view to the east.
As always it took a while to set everything up, and no time for a nap, sigh. I set the GBT rig for a time-lapse comet transition, estimated where ISON would appear and programmed a pan/tilt move to the right upwards (6D with 24-70/2.8 at 70 mm). It would later turn out that the pan was too slow so ISON would climb out of the image, but at least it’s in there for a while as I could see from GBT’s live preview.
After the GBT Rig was running, I polar aligned the Polarie and dialed in the D800 with the 80-200/2.8. It now was around 4:00 a.m. At around 4:30 a.m. my energy and concentration was clearly starting to fade and I somehow couldn’t find the darn meteor. So I took a couple horizontal shots with the D800 and the 80-200 set to 80 mm, and there the comet was in all it’s early glory.
What a beautiful view. With my 8.5 x 45 binocs the core was actually visible, the tail needed a bit of imagination and fresh eyes.
However… Amazing, how much more cameras do see. Around 6:00 am I was weary enough to let things run on automatic, and took a nap until 9:00 a.m. Packing gear up and after a careful drive down I was back home at 12:00 noon for lunch with the family – with some ISON images!
At 5:00 p.m. I leave to Vienna. What a night, err day 😉