Observers: Dewey Vanderhoff, Mack Frost, Andrew Frazier
Location: Wapiti Valley, Wyoming
Date: April 17, 1997 05:15 UT
While most comet observers lament the return of waxing moonlight as detrimental to Hale-Bopp photography , we thrive on it. The enclosed image of Hale-Bopp hovering over Jim Mountain in the Absaroka Range of northwest Wyoming is a good case in point. Fuji Super G-800 has remarkable low-light color perception , capturing colors the human eye cannot percieve. Notice the display of auroras at the right , above the skyline and under the clouds. The crimson and truquoise auroras were only a grey smudge in the sky to us --- we thought they were distant clouds somewhere over Montana --- but the Fuji film and Nikkor lenses saw them for what they were ( they showed up plainly in the 3 x 5 Minilab proof prints... I used Photoshop's Contrast/Brightness and Color Balance filters to add a slight amount of contrast and blue filtration to the sky to make the northern lights stand out for low-res Internet viewing. The landscape appears normally here, thanks to the light of the 8-day old Moon. While the waxing moon is slightly diminshing the twin blue ion tails of Hale-Bopp, the advantages of gaining foreground illumination more than compensate. Remember, we're landscape-oriented astrophotographers. Trust us...the best scenes of the Comet over the Wyoming landscape are yet to come!
This scene was photographed in the volcanic highlands of the Wapiti Valley west of Cody, Wyoming on Breteche Creek, about 25 miles east of Yellowstone Park on Wednesday April 16 at 11:15 PM - MDT ( 5:15 UT April 17)
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