Part 5 - Angles and Demons
Yeah, I meant angles, not angels.
I’m troubled by something else. Since Rainier is at 14,000 feet and change and we’ll be shooting from 6,400 feet or so, it will stick up in the sky. Will it block the best part of the Milky Way?
One way to tell is to take a scouting trip, shoot the mountain with the camera perfectly level and ‘see’ how far it sticks up. This will also let me scout other possible shooting locations. Off I go.
I get to Rainier and there’s a cloud layer about 12,500 feet. Vicious looking black clouds swirl around the summit which I will never see the day of my scouting expedition. I shoot it anyway and I can see the summit of Little Tahoma. I can infer a lot about angles but my inferences aren’t very precise.
When I entered the park, I received a detailed map of the area. At home, I pull out ruler and protractor and measure angles and distances. This pretty much confirms our southwest orientation. I measure the distance from our shooting location to the summit. I know the altitude difference. I dust off my high school trig and calculate the angle: Tan(A) = a/b. I have a bad moment because the result is expressed in radians. When I remember, I convert to degrees. A turns out to be a little over 12 degrees above the horizon.
Back to Sky Safari and I find a star about 12 degrees above the horizon through trial and error. Everything looks great.
Mt RainierWashingtonMilky Way