Recovery of the Milky Way files

Last week, after photographing the nighttime sky up in the Adirondack Mountains, I came home, popped the SD card into my computer, and – the card crashed.  I couldn’t pull any files from the disc.  In fact, the only files I was able to retrieve were a few scattered images that my computer automatically uploaded from the chip to my DropBox account.

And one of the salvaged images was a breathtaking shot of the Milky Way nebula, framed by a tree line.

Smooth.

Milky Way and tree line.  Nikon Df camera, Nikkor 55mm f/1.2 lens.  Photo by Chuck Miller.
Milky Way and tree line. Nikon Df camera, Nikkor 55mm f/1.2 lens. Photo by Chuck Miller.

But what about the remaining files on the disc?

Well… apparently Chuck got lucky.  I took the disc to another computer, popped the chip in, and although the machine asked if it could format the disc for me (I politely said no thanks), it did at least allow me access to the disc’s directory.  I quickly copied all the files onto a DVD.  Then I brought the DVD to my Photoshop CS6-loaded computer, and saved the DVD’s contents to my archival directory.

Whew.

Because in addition to that one shot, I did attempt a panorama shot – eight or nine images along the lakeshore.  Not all of the pictures blended properly after I imported them into PhotoShop, but I was able to assemble this four-image capture.

Skyshot 4.  Nikon Df camera, Nikkor 55mm f/1.2 lens, four images stitched together.  Photo by Chuck Miller.
Skyshot 4. Nikon Df camera, Nikkor 55mm f/1.2 lens, four images stitched together. Photo by Chuck Miller.

Not bad… but the one image I caught before was better.

Okay, let’s pull this image out of the disc – I tried to photograph the Milky Way along the side of the highway.  No cars in sight.  Nothing.  And then, as I got ready to capture the image in what I hoped would be a nice long exposure…

I hear a car.

Then I see the headlights of the car.

Luckily, I was on the SIDE of the road and not in the MIDDLE of the road… but still…

I decided to let the car’s headlights illuminate my scenery, and…

Route 9 at night.  Nikon Df camera, Nikkor 28mm f/2.8 lens.  Photo by Chuck Miller.
Route 9 at night. Nikon Df camera, Nikkor 28mm f/2.8 lens. Photo by Chuck Miller.

Yum.  I wonder how this would fit in the short pile in 2017.  Just a thought…

But I’m still liking the original shot of the Milky Way.

And after much contemplation and thought, I decided to “flip” the original color picture into a B&W construct and enter it in competition in that format.  Oh yeah, and it also gets a real name, as in The Heavens Above, The Forest Below.

The Stars Above, The Forest Below.  Nikon Df camera, Nikkor 55mm f/1.2 lens.  Photo by Chuck Miller.
The Heavens Above, The Forest Below. Nikon Df camera, Nikkor 55mm f/1.2 lens. Photo by Chuck Miller.

And in case you’re wondering, I’m definitely entering this in competition.  Just haven’t decided where.

Yet.

Maybe my computer was smarter than I thought.  Maybe it knew the one picture that would work amidst the dozens of photos I took on that cloudless, moonless night.

So let’s see how things turn out.

Okay?