dipper After watching the weather forecast pretty much all day, it went from being a clear night, to partly cloudy.  As the day was already VERY overcast, it was going to be a gamble on when the sky would turn to only "a few clouds".  And this of course can still mean that there is a haze.

At 11pm I made the decision that I would take a chance and make the nearly 3 hour drive.  Every hour or so, I would pull over and take a good look up and make a decision to turn around or continue on.  Each time I continued on.

At 20km away, I was once again blown away by the beautiful starry night and my excitement peaked. I hurried on to my destination, eager to begin taking pictures, but as I pulled into the beautiful dark parking area, there were no stars to be seen anywhere.  I figured I must have gotten ahead of the cloud clearing so I wrapped myself up in a sleeping bag, reclined my seat and waited.  It was unexpectedly warm, a very nice surprise.  But as 2am turned to 3, and then 330, I decided it was time to give up waiting.  The wind may be blowing in the wrong direction, so I gave up.

About halfway back to the highway I took a gander upwards and saw the sky was pretty clear.  Not spectacular, but enough that I had to get out and salvage *something* out of what was going to be 6 hours of driving, and arriving home as the sun was soon to rise.  All I was able to get was this.  The ole Big Dipper.

As I snapped away at a few other things in an attempt to get some deep space, I was jolted back to reality by the sound of a wolf way off in the distance.  Moments later it was answered by a second, and then a third closer one.  And then a fourth even closer, and finally a fifth that was clearly very close.  At this point, I didn't even put the lens cap on.  I threw open the trunk, hurriedly placed my tripod, still with camera turned on inside and hopped in the car and rolled up the windows.  As my door was closing, I could hear at least a couple of them attacking something that howled aggressively.  I don't know who won that round as I got the hell out of Dodge and began my trip home.

Click the image above a couple of times for a larger version.