Change Is Hard

…but change is certain.

Smiling in the night


Katie and I have been camping, though it’s just been in the backyard during these Covid-19 days. She starts crying and circling near the backdoor around 8 every evening, so excited to sleep in her tent. Of course that means she goes to bed early.

Mama was a little slow.

So she gets me up between 3:30 and 4:30 every morning. We wander back into the house after she does her jobs, and then, usually, I go back out to the tent to finish sleeping.

Sleeping under the stars.

But the past two nights I’ve spent about an hour taking pictures of the night, honing my night photography skills before I head back to sleep.

The neighbor’s house with a couple planets above.

Last night was really, really cool.

I was taking a picture of the house with a band of clouds and a couple stars overhead. The camera, sitting on it’s tripod was going through the 25 seconds shoot and then the lengthy noise reduction process, and I was staring at the sky directly above me while I waited. And the most spectacular shooting star blazed across the sky. No, it didn’t cross into my picture, darn it, but I saw it and that made me smile.

A layer of clouds was beginning to obscure the stars.

The next shot I pointed the camera straight up, knowing there wouldn’t be another shooting star right there, but wondering what I’d capture. And while the camera was going through it’s process I was watching the cloud bank climb higher in the sky just above the house.

And that’s when I saw the oddest thing.

The sky above.

A line of small dots, lights about the same size and brightness as a star, were moving from south to north, right above the cloud bank, quite fast, but slow enough for me to blink a couple times, adjust my glasses, and process that I was seeing something strange. I had time to consider whipping the camera back from it’s upward image capturing, and to swear at myself for moving it away from the house in the first place, but not long enough to actually do anything but watch, fascinated, until they all moved off into the clouds.

There were probably at least 20 lights, a long straight line of them, then a break and then 5 or 6 more. It was 4:20 in the morning. I’d been shooting the sky since about 3:45. I wasn’t sleepy and I wasn’t hallucinating. I don’t know what they were, but I’m hoping someone else saw them too and has an explanation.

Meanwhile, I’ve figured some more stuff out about night photography and someday I hope I’ll be able to stare at the stars and whatever else is up there from a more exotic location than my backyard.

And then I’ll really be smiling. Guaranteed.

Edit: I found out what it was! Elon Musk’s SpaceX Starlink Satelite Train. You can put in your data and find out when it will be flying near you!

Gee, I always miss the good stuff.

Author: dawnkinster

I'm a long time banker having worked in banks since the age of 17. I took a break when I turned 50 and went back to school. I graduated right when the economy took a turn for the worst and after a year of library work found myself unemployed. I was lucky that my previous bank employer wanted me back. So here I am again, a long time banker. Change is hard.

33 thoughts on “Smiling in the night

  1. Ah…too bad you didn’t capture that!


  2. Again, great pictures! I was going to say satellites. Just wait until they get the whole network up there.


  3. That’s so cool that you saw a shooting star and Elon Musk’s satellite train!
    And your photography skills are improving all the time!


  4. How cool that you could see Elon Musk’s SpaceX’s satellite star train, and a shooting star! Katie earned her keep last night!
    As usual, I love your photos!


  5. You ought to come out here on the nights Fort Benning does it night training. The farm is always part of their flight path. Can’t tell you how ominous it is to have a massive C5 flying barely over the trees, with no lights on, only one little plane in the back with it’s ‘flashers’ on.


  6. Aw, I miss having a doggie get me up early — you miss so much by sleeping in!! I’ve always been fascinated by the sky, especially the night sky. You’ve got some neat shots here, and I’m looking forward to seeing more. A satellite train?? So very cool!


    • Awwww, so true. I’ve seen plenty of really interesting stuff because she got me up. She says I don’t appreciate her enough. I’ll try to do better. I’m sure you DO miss your morning alarm clock dog.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Cool photos. i was going to ask if it was Starlink. Around here it is light by 4:20, but then, I am at the far east side of the time zone and you are at the far west side, so, about an hour difference in light. (I see that talking to my parents who live in northern Ohio (near Sandusky, if you go to Cedar Point). Funny that Katie likes camping out so much.


    • I had never heard of a such a thing before. When I came in this morning and told my husband what I had seen he thought I was certifiable. Don’t know why neither of us had ever seen or heard anything about this prior to now. Was very cool to see though…I was glad I could find video of it on the internet to prove I wasn’t crazy. I used to go to Cedar Point a lot when I was a teenager. Loved the roller coasters. Now I’d probably throw up.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I have a nephew who worked for a competitor that was ahead of SpaceX until funding dried up when Covid-19 hit and they went under with “only” a few dozen satellites in orbit. So my nephew went to work for NASA, which shouldn’t go belly up 😉
        I rode all of the roller coasters, even the newest, biggest and scariest, about three years ago. One or two were nausea inducing, but most were still pretty fun…

        Liked by 1 person

  8. You are really honing your nighttime skills! I’ve never even used a tripod. How cool that you saw Starlink! The cats sleep until at least 6am so no chance of me seeing this. I will see it, vicariously, through your wonderful photos.


  9. Dawn, you most likely were seeing the Space-x satellites. They passed through here at a reasonable hour about 6 weeks ago! An amazing site as you now know! Laurie

    Sent from my iPhone



  10. Great photos! Thank you, Katie, for getting your mom out there.


  11. Those night time pictures are magical. Who needs to go to exotic places when you have night skies like that?


  12. Back yard camping sounds fun, especially with your interest of night photography. It would be way too buggy around here.


  13. Pawtastic pawtographs. What constellations are in the pawtographs? Dad can normally make out a few constellations, Orion, Gemini, Scorpio, Sagittarius, Cassiopeia, Ursa Major, Ursa Minor and Canis Major.

    Dog Speed,



  14. The night sky is incredible! We always enjoy seeing the International Space Station go by. Now I’ll be looking for the train!

    Out in the desert in the middle of nowhere… the night sky is spectacular!


  15. Pingback: The Weekly Smile Recap 6/15 – 6/21/2020 | Trent's World (the Blog)

  16. Beautiful starry night shots, Dawn, and so cool you saw the Starlink Satellite train. Thanks for sharing your smile.


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