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Sedona Morning Feb18

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#1 varmint


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Posted 24 February 2009 - 03:29 AM

I know it's been awhile since I have posted and I apologize for not replying to the fabulous posts being made by folks over the past week, but I've been working on two sketches that I did while on vacation in Sedona last week.

Here is a teaser of the first one for you to enjoy, as it's not the best image to post. I will be posting this in this month's contest after I can take a better picture of it in the daytime to get focus a little sharper and the illumination more even.

Here's the comments/techniques for those interested.

Observing Info:
Naked Eye
Feb 18, 2009, 3:30-4am MST in Sedona, AZ.
Transparency was above average
Seeing was average
Temp was about 40 deg F.
Light periodic wind and some thin high clouds wafted through from time to time.
Location was in an empty field off of Highway 89 in Western Sedona adjacent to the Sedona Summit resort (where I was staying). Light pollution made dark adaptation difficult, and amazingly limited the sky from what I would've expected. I'd place the NELM around 5.3-5.5 at the time of observation. The 1/8th crescent moon had just risen in the east in Scorpius, contributing some light pollution. The Milky-Way was not visible.

Sketching details: raw sketch was graphite on engineering paper, focus was on the silhouette of the mountains, even in the dark there were two prominent shadows visible on the main rock formation (Capitol Butte I think is it's name) that I roughed in on the raw sketch. I also focused on star placement of the constellations, as Cygnus was spectacular just rising over the crest and Lyra was inviting just above it. Many constellations were visible, and I focused my effort on identifying most of the visible stars (which were surprisingly few, but probably expected from being next to a resort, even with the lighting restrictions in Arizona). During the generation of the raw sketch I just happened to witness a meteor streak through the field I was sketching, so I captured that as well. I also noted some rough location of trees in the foreground (that were lit from the resort lights) and some of the city lights tucked under the silhouette of the mountains.

I then took the Raw Sketch and notes and redrew/refined the sketch to adjust proportions (you try getting it right the first time at 3:30 in the morning without coffee in cold weather :p).

I really wanted to capture the mountain silhouette in my sketch, so I changed up materials. Final sketch used Navy Blue acid free cardstock, a combination of graphite and black charcoal for the mountain silhouette (started with graphite and found it was too shiny, so added a layer of charcoal and used a blending stump to smooth out the silhouette), white charcoal pencil for the stars. I attempted to add one of the trees and was dissatisfied with how it started coming out so I erased it and abandoned that portion of the sketch.

Even with all this work, I still think some of the star positions aren't quite right, but they're pretty close. I was pretty pleased with how this came out, but would greatly appreciate any comments.

Next time I'm going to start noting star colors as that is one aspect of this sketch I'd like to improve. Several of the stars were noticeably orange/yellow/reddish but I didn't note which one's in my notes, so they're all white...sorry.

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#2 frank5817



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Posted 24 February 2009 - 10:37 AM


That is a beautiful sketch of the northeastern horizon anchored to the Sedona mountains. I think it captures the beauty of a cygnus flying south beyond the peaks. Wonderfully done. :bow: :rainbow: :bow:

Frank :)

#3 rolandlinda3



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Posted 24 February 2009 - 07:11 PM

When I look at a post and a smile overtakes me before a few seconds is over, I know I like it. Nice sketch. Roland

#4 varmint


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Posted 24 February 2009 - 07:26 PM

Thanks Frank and Roland. The paper is too blue for the sky, but

I just posted the sketch shot during the daytime today in the monthly contest and will add it here too, so folks can see how different lighting can affect transferring a sketch to digital...

I'm still working on my sketch of the crescent moon in Scorpius, that one is not turning as well as I had hoped so far.

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#5 JayinUT


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Posted 24 February 2009 - 07:34 PM

Jim, that is such a beautiful and tremendous sketch! Kinda of weird, but I'm listening to Vaughan Williams Fantasia on a Theme of Thomas Tallis and for where the music is, your sketch just captures the mood when combined with the music. Combine they capture the mood of looking out over the mountains at the clear sky into space and just being captivated by all that I am taking in. Thanks for sharing the sketch and for the moment it help to capture.

Just wondering if anyone else listens to music while at sketches or while observing (I haven't done that yet as I like the silence)?

#6 Kris.


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Posted 02 March 2009 - 04:35 PM

Jim, I love it! :waytogo: it's refreshingly different.
(the second version is also better imho.)

#7 CarlosEH


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Posted 03 March 2009 - 05:00 AM


Thank you for your beautiful and excellent observation/report on your Sedona morning sighting. You have captured the flavor of the Southwest at night in your rendering. I am gald that you had the opportunity to capture it.


#8 varmint


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Posted 03 March 2009 - 11:14 PM

Thanks Jay, Kris and Carlos. I was pretty happy with how it came out. I wish I had noted color though, several of the stars were pale yellow or orange. Next time I'll add that bit to my observing notes.

As for music, I'd like to view while listening to music, but often can't as I have to keep an ear out for the kids (it always works out that I can observe when my wife has to work nights...).

#9 rodelaet



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Posted 04 March 2009 - 03:24 PM


This sketch is one of my favorites! Great catch. :bow: :bow: :bow:

#10 varmint


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Posted 04 March 2009 - 11:52 PM

Thanks Rony. What is interesting is that I just realized that I had my camera bag and tripod with me when I sketched this, but opted NOT to photograph...guess my sketch will just have to do until I can head back there again. :rolling:

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