Favorite Travel Quotes

"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts."
-- Mark Twain
Innocents Abroad

"Stop worrying about the potholes in the road and celebrate the journey." -- Fitzhugh Mullan

"A good traveler has no fixed plans and is not intent on arriving." -- Lao Tzu

Archive for August, 2012

The Challenge of Dark Skies

posted: August 23rd, 2012 | by:Bert

©Bert Gildart: The Challenge: Because light pollution is so pervasive, areas of the country endowed with a Dark Sky Status should be celebrated.  Obtaining appealing images, however, requires long nights in the field and some technical knowledge.

First find a suitable subject, one that benefits from its Night Sky Status and from the story it might tell, in this case the gallant effort of Chief Joseph’s to maintain freedom for his Nez Pierce tribe.  (Note: You’ll need written permission before you starting any nocturnal peregrinations at the Big Hole Battlefield!)


DeathValley JoshuaTree Bighole


Ideally you should pack in several cameras and several tripods.  Windless nights are a must.  Then, you need to understand the night sky.  Because the axis of the earth points to the North Star if you aim your camera at that star for long periods of time, you will be rewarded with a background of concentric lines.  (Note to any with lingering doubts: this proves the Earth is round.)

IDEAL IMAGE:

I wanted to suggest that the spirit of Chief Joseph still wanders his ancient tribal land, and felt the combination of teepee poles at the Big Hole back-dropped by star patterns would create that effect.  Exposures on my several cameras (from about 1 a.m. to about 3 a.m.) were many but shutter speed averaged about 45 minutes. My aperture was 5.6 and ISO generally set for 400.  Additionally, I “painted” the teepee poles with flash and set my strobe so it fired at about f8, or one stop under my overall setting.  The image will appear in my book Montana Icons, scheduled to be released in several weeks by Globe Pequot. 

AND, the image will also appear in the upcoming issue of Airstream Life,  used to illustrate my story on Dark Skies.

Similar techniques were also used for the images of one of Joshua Tree National Park and the one of Death Valley.  Two strobes, however, were used to light the wagon and it required an ISO of about 2000 to capture the stars as pin points.  Post processing with Lightroom helped reduce “noise.”

Final Thought: Help reduce light pollution and preserve areas  blessed with a Dark Sky Status by using your night images to celebrate and call attention to these vanishing “islands”.



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AIRSTREAM TRAVELS LAST YEAR:

*Kootenai Falls

 

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(You can order our new books (shown below ) from Amazon — or you can order them directly from the Gildarts.  Bert will knock a dollar off the list price of $16.95, but he must add the cost of book-rate mailing and the mailer, which are $2.25.  The grand total then is $18.20. Please send checks to Bert Gildart at 1676 Riverside Road, Bigfork, MT  59911.)

 

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Sexton Glacier, One of the Park’s Last

posted: August 12th, 2012 | by:Bert

©Bert Gildart: This past Friday Matt Rigg, one of my best hiking buddies, and I hiked to Siyeh Pass along a trail that is essentially a 10-mile loop.  The trail is a challenging one and ascends several thousand feet; but as it courses it winds through one of the park’s most incredible alpine areas.  In June glacier lilies carpet the landscape and they in turn attract grizzly bears, who bulldoze their way to the species’ delicious bulbs.


SextonGlacoer (13 of 13)

Sexton Glacier



In August, the landscape is still lush with wildflowers, and as we hiked we saw the crimson-colored monkey flower, the lavishly fringed silky phacelia – and the trumpet-shaped gentian with its deep shades of blue.

ONE OF THE LAST

Beautiful as the immediate landscape was for me the hike was climaxed by the sprawl of one of the park’s last remaining sheets of ice, Sexton Glacier.


SextonGlacoer (4 of 13) SextonGlacoer (3 of 13) SextonGlacoer (2 of 13)


Matt Rigg dramatizing a successful climb; cairn at summit of climb; blue gentian


The glacier is a beautiful one, but it has vastly diminished in size since I first saw it back in the ‘60s. And it’s not alone!  In the past 100-plus years Glacier Park has chronicled not just the recession of many of its glaciers, but their actual disappearance.  In 1910 the embryonic park hosted 150 glaciers.  But since that time world temperatures have risen dramatically, and, today, glaciers in this park number but 26.

EIGHT YEARS REMAINING

Park scientists say glaciers are much like a canary in a mine and their disappearance portend much changes. They serve as water reservoirs, and tell us as well that we should expect to see major changes in the makeup of the park’s flora and fauna.  Park climatologist Dr. Dan Fagre believes all glaciers in the park will disappear in just eight more years, and over the years I’ve reported on some of the expectation for a variety of publications.

Though the massive ice sheets that once graced Glacier are retreating, Matt and I agreed that because so many of the park’s major features were created by the power of moving ice (moraines, arêtes, hanging gardens, etc.) that there should never be a park name-change.  In other words, it will always be appropriate to call the million-plus acres comprising this area: Glacier National Park.


SextonGlacier (11 of 1)

Hikers beginning descent from Siyeh Pass

 


And so we hiked on, complacent in the knowledge that decisions that will affect the world lie with the next generation. About all we could do is enjoy the here and the now and the overwhelming beauty of the few glaciers that still exist in the year 2012.

Vast fields of flowers and Sexton Glacier made it easy to do just that.


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Airstream Travels Last Summer

*Floating Montana’s Wild & Scenic Missouri River

ADS FROM AMAZON AND GOOGLE AUGMENT OUR TRAVELS

(You can order our new books (shown below ) from Amazon or you can order them directly from the Gildarts.  Bert will knock a dollar off the list price of $16.95, but he must add the cost of book-rate mailing and the mailer, which are $2.25.  The grand total then is $18.20. Please send checks to Bert Gildart at 1676 Riverside Road, Bigfork, MT  59911.)



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