Picture: Jet airplane with contrail flying through high cirrus clouds and a rainbow known as a circumzenithal arc, in the skies above Lake Tahoe, Nevada
Back in 2005, after 15 years of shooting professional transparency film, I entered the digital era when I purchased my first DSLR, which at the time was Nikon’s first high-end digital camera, my affectionately termed ‘Battle-Tank’ known as the D2x. My very first picture with that camera was a portrait of my wife and two kids, which was my version of christening a new camera the way one might christen a ship. Immediately thereafter, I took my camera out to a parking lot where I commenced taking my first few ‘real’ digital photos. That day there was a large ice-crystal halo around the sun which I was photographing. At one point, while using a lamp post to block the sun, a pair of pigeons flew off the light, and which I captured in combination with the atmospheric phenomenon.
Seven years later, over this last Christmas holiday, I awoke on Christmas morning to find that Santa left me a new Nikon D800 waiting for me beneath the Christmas tree. (OK, I knew it was there.) Several days later, while in Lake Tahoe with my family, I took the camera out for it’s first test drive shooting a few frames. As a previously established tradition, I lined up my wife and kids for a quick portrait – since I was fairly well convinced that smashing a bottle of champagne over my new camera would not be an ideal form of christening my new DSLR.
And then, like a grand cosmic coincidence of seven years earlier, my first few frames with my new camera included another grand atmospheric phenomenon; this time a circumzenithal arc. This arc actually doesn’t circle the sun, but arcs across the zenith of the sky, with the bend of the arc angled away from the sun. Then, to further imbue the moment with a greater sense of coincidence, I noticed a plane was heading right for the brilliant rainbow arc. My first thought was “oh no, this will ruin my shot,” but I quickly decided that rather than complain about the moment being ruined by a lemon-like appearance of a jet, I decided to “make lemonade,” by using the plane and contrail as an element to complete the composition.
Picture: Two birds flying in a Solar Halo circle of refracted light in ice crystals around sun and blue sky and clouds.
I shot many years worth of great images with my D2x, and now with my D800 following the same cosmic christening, I can only hope this is a good omen for many more years of great image making to come with this magnificent new DSLR.
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