ANOTHER PHOTO from the Sunday shoot. Here’s the Lower Fox Creek School in a time exposure that looks a bit, well, surreal. I painted the schoolhouse with an LED flashlight. This camera is facing north, and the glow on the horizon are lights from Council Grove. This is the same stone schoolhouse that appears (in detail) in the banner, above. Canon 10D, 19mm lens, f/3.5, ISO 400. I don’t recall the exposure, but it must have been 40 seconds or less, because the stars appear only slightly streaked.
A STAR FALLS over the Flint Hills at 1:34 am Sunday, Oct. 21, part of the annual Orionid meteor shower. The location is near the Lower Fox Creek School at the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve near Cottonwood Falls. The sky was absolutely clear and, at the peak, there were one or two meteor every minute. This is not a great photo, but it it is the only one time I captured a meteor trail with any kind of foreground for context.
The Orionid shower is a reminder of Halley’s Comet; they occur when the earth passes through the debris from the comet, which has a period of 75 to 76 years, and which last visited us in 1986. The comet is also associated with Mark Twain, who was born during its 1835 appearance and died the year it came back, 1910. Canon 10D, 19mm lens, 40-second exposure, f/3.5, 400 ISO.
FOUND THIS SHELF of books at the Chase County Historical Society and Museum at Cottonwood Falls, Kan., recently. I am always drawn to books, but this shelf in particular caught my eye because of the eclectic mix of titles. Not only do we have Girls Who Became Famous – well, of course! – but there is also a biography of Lincoln and a 1921 book by humorist Robert Benchley, Of All Things. The explanatory card simply says these were used at “local schools.” I didn’t find anything to aid my research on this shelf, but elsewhere in the museum I found Vol. II of the journals Zebulon Pike, who in 1806 explored the Arkansas River as far as Royal Gorge, Colorado. The book, which had a sheaf of maps of the expedition in a pocket in the back, was being offered for $10, which I gladly paid. I’ve been to Royal Gorge and environs several times in my travels, and it may figure in an upcoming project.