For the love of it.
This is my first successful star trail shot… It was shot during the Camelopardalids meteor shower of May 2014… I’m always weirded out by this image because of how the whole shoot went down. In retrospect there were things I should have noticed and took shots of when I saw them instead of trying to get a better angle.
I’ll start at the beginning.
As an amateur photographer, astrophotography interested me greatly but I lived in an area with a ton of light pollution. So, after finding a light pollution map it became obvious that the closest patch of dark sky was along Lake Michigan at a spot called Pier Cove Park in Fennville, Michigan. My first attempt back in 2012 was an eye opener in a couple of ways. The first thing I realized was that I needed to research astrophotography shooting techniques a lot more. I used the wrong aperture, ISO, and lens. The second thing I realized was that UFO’s are real!
There were three orange orbs moving around the sky directly over the lake and off its west coast (I was on the east). They seemed to be playing around with each other. They frolicked and darted around the sky seemingly in some sort of dance. When I noticed what was going on I immediately turned my camera from the north where I was attempting to shoot star trails, to the orange orbs in the west. They disappeared!!! So, I went back to what I was doing and as soon as I did my spouse shouted, “They’re back!!”. This time they were closer and moving across incredible distances in no time. One of them shot way up in the sky and remained stationary. It could have passed for a star if I hadn’t just witnessed its previous movement. A second one came towards us and vanished about half way over the lake. The third one danced along the horizon as if that’s what it was meant to do. It paced back and forth in a few different seemingly set patterns. Sometimes it would appear to dive into the lake, but I assume that its only disappearing over the horizon. This is a shot of that third orb. It’s not much.
My husband and I watched this orb dance along the horizon for an hour. But the weather started to change and banks of really damp and cold air started to come in off of the lake, chilling us to the core. So we headed out. While walking along the shore we both noticed a light in the sky over the lake, almost over head but seemingly out in space. My husband was looking at the sky when the light flashed and he says the light just blinked brightly once and that was it, but it was so bright and seemingly close that it didn’t make any sense. I remember the light illuminating the whole area around us because I was looking ahead when it happened and not at the sky. The flash must have been long enough for me to look at it because I remember clearly seeing what looked like a massive spotlight for a second and then nothing. We picked up the pace and got out of there. The whole event freaked us right the fuck out. I had goosebumps and my eyes were excessively watering. I felt as if my whole world was turned upside down. I told everyone I knew. The FACT that these orbs are real and that I had witnessed something that an unknown number of others have witnessed throughout the ages made me feel confused. I watched a ton of youtube videos and read and bunch of crazy bullshit. I came to the conclusion that orange orbs are either man made drone type things or they are drone type things from something beyond the human race. Although the speed of these orbs is something I think man can only dream of at this point.
Two years later, my husband and I ventured back to that same spot for another attempt at a star trail shot. It was during a new meteor shower called the Camelopardalids. I figured a few streaking meteors would make for an even better star trail shot. I ended up with something more than I could have ever hoped for.
Upon arrival to the tiny side of the road parking lot I noticed a light off on the lake, sort of close to shore. By the time I parked it was gone but what I saw when I opened my car door and just started to get out, floored me. There were two massive oval, transparent, orbs that were bigger than two aircraft carriers each, just hovering maybe a mile off the coast. There were dark rectangles along the bottom edges of both objects but major details beyond that were hard to make out due to trees being in the way. I froze for just a second before yelling “UFOs” to my spouse who was looking down at his phone and still in the car. I snagged up my camera bag and tripod and ran down to the beach. To get down to the shore I had to go around a bunch of trees and bushes so I lost sight of the objects. Once I arrived at the beach the objects were gone.
I made my way down the lake shore until I couldn’t continue any further due to an eroded section of beach. The wind and crashing waves made it especially noisy and damn was it dark. After I set up my camera and initiated the intervelometer I noticed I wasn’t alone. There was a couple about twenty feet away from me, laying on the ground, staring up at the sky. Which was surprising to me since it was 2:15in the am, and really cold. But this meteor shower was really hyped up by the media. It was allover facebook as the biggest meteor shower ever. Turns out that it wasn’t and those two weren’t there for very long after I arrived. They asked me what I was taking pictures of and I said “the stars”. I asked if they seen anything amazing tonight and they said “no”.
After about ten minutes of staring off at the sky while my camera did its thing I started to wonder where my husband was, so I headed back to the car to find him. On the way I noticed a red light about twenty feet in front of me on the ground. It was sudden and shocking because I was walking and staring at the ground which was barely illuminated by my crappy cellphones flashlight. I immediately turned and ran towards the car to find my husband and see what was up. He was playing with his phone, while sitting on a bench overlooking the beach. I tried to show him the red light but it wasn’t there anymore. We walked down to where the camera was and started talking about the ufo I had just witnessed when we got there, since he didn’t hear me yell “UFOs” earlier. He sounded deeply skeptical to say the least and just as I was finishing complaining about being the only one to witness those ufos an orange orb ufo came across the horizon. I wasn’t freaked out by it this time and I wanted a shot of it. But moving my camera from its spot would ruin the star trail progress I’ve made so I decided to signal the orb with my husbands super bright flashlight. Strangely enough, the orb changed its direction and started moving towards us. It moved in a different manner than the three orbs from two years ago. It seemed to be putting along as if it was being pulled in a soft jerking motion. It was weird. The movement seemed fluid and graceful, yet weak and powerless. When it started getting too close for comfort I stopped signaling. When I stopped signaling it turned north and quickly moved inland.
The next day I woke up and went into my kitchen to make some tea. I was staring outside while waiting for water to boil when a goddamn orange orb came around my neighbors garage and up his driveway towards my window. I yelled for my husband and when he saw it he said “What the Fuck?!” This orb was much smaller than the others. It was about the size of a phantom drone but it was a glowing ball of light. It drifted through the air in a controlled way up towards my second floor apartments kitchen window. When it got too close I threw closed the curtains and got out of the kitchen. I felt scared and spied on at that point.
I haven’t seen one since.
The orange orb phenomenon is well documented online. All of this was submitted to MUFON along with all of my original files.
A quick video from the shoot can be found here https://youtu.be/GRFZLvlWkHQ
UPDATE April 2, 2017
It was about 10pm or so and I was headed back to Walla Walla from Tri-cities when I happened to noticed what looked like a bunch of lights way up above the Wallula Gap. So I turned toward Umatilla to see if I could get a better look. Because of my past with lights in the sky and my time in the Navy, I was intrigued by the flashing lights. I pulled over at the Twin Sisters, got out of my car, and started staring at the sky. My time in the USN helped me to identify the lights as most likely being jets flying in formation above the clouds, so I figured no big deal. I continued to look at the sky because it was partly cloudy and the amount of stars visible out west is just stunningly beautiful.
Then right along the same flight path and elevation, an orange orb appeared. This one had the appearance of being pulled just like my second encounter. It was massive! It sputtered in the sky heading in the direction of the jets that had long ago disappeared from sight. Well, it looked like it was following them anyways. But, their speed vs the orbs speed made it seem like it wasn’t following them. Then, just as it randomly appeared, it disappeared. It was visible for about two or three minutes…Weird stuff is going on in our skies. It was cool to see one again but, wtf?