PCQC puts theory into practice with the evening sky

Robert Thoresen

The early evening of April 27 found Photography Club of Quail Creek (PCQC) members at Gates Pass honing their skills of mastering the use of late day ambient light to improve their ability to take more dramatic pictures. This photo shoot field trip to Gates Pass ran from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. and made the best use of what ambient light was available from the evening sunset. This trip followed April’s monthly meeting, a presentation by Burley Packwood, How to Photograph the Night Sky with Your Digital Camera. Burley, a retired radiologist and an astrophotographer, presented practical advice on how to take great night time and evening sky photos with a basic digital camera. Burley Packwood, who is also a Green Valley resident, emphasized the use of a tripod in capturing a successful image of the evening sky. He also advised the use of bracketing your shots, usually by varying the ISO. These important tips lead to precise focus. Details in the use of Live View or Manual focus were also stressed as a very important consideration in night time photography. Burley suggested also to try shooting on cloudy nights for an even more interesting and dramatic result. For the best all around evening sky conditions, consult the phases of the moon to utilize a crescent moon.

Gates Pass is the extension of West Speedway which cuts through the Tucson Mountain Park and leads to Kinney Road between Old Tucson Studios and the Sonoran Desert Museum. In 1883, Thomas Gates, who was a local Tucson pioneer and mine owner, invested $1,000 to have a path cut through the Tucson Mountains to service his carbonite mine in the Waterman Mountains located 30 miles west of Tucson. The county government saw no reason to accommodate his need for an eight mile shortcut from the Arva Valley to Tucson so Gates, also a successful gambler, rancher, saloon owner, political lobbyist and prison superintendent, contracted the work himself. Trip Advisor rates driving to the sunsets/city night lights as seen from Gates Pass as the number nine thing to do in Tucson for visitors and locals (out of a whopping 268 things to do in Tucson). The Arizona-Sonoran Desert Museum is rated number one and the Mount Lemmon Scenic Highway is rated number four.

The Photography Club of Quail Creek is a chartered club for residents of all levels of photographic skill. For current events and details of club activities visit the club’s website at http://www.pcqc.org. Photo shoot field trips, organized by chairman Nancy Lammers, are conducted throughout the year. Monthly meetings will continue through the summer on the second Wednesday of every month at 6:30 p.m. in at the Madera Clubhouse. Please check What’s Happening announcements for upcoming venue changes.