After-Dark Candlelit Hike

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‘Twas a cold, dark night, and the forest was aglow with the light of a thousand candles.

I’ve posted before about how much I love our local Nature Center. It’s one of my favorite places to go just to get out of the house and go do something during the spring and summer. They’re open all year ’round, but we’ve never visited in the winter before.

This year, we decided we wanted to do that, and I saw the perfect opportunity. An after-dark hike through a couple trails, lit by candles, on the day of the New Moon so it’s nice and dark. Sounds great!

Normally, they do this hike every year, and you just show up, pay, and enjoy. What with Covid this year, they decided to stretch it out and make people register for time slots. I got a nice late one, to avoid anyone who wanted to bring out young kids, and to hopefully pick one of the darkest times. I wanted to see the stars, enjoy the candles, and spend a little while just walking in a dark forest.

Unfortunately, they had to push back the hike. The weather for the day of the hike was windy and frigid, something like 6ºF outside. Anything under 15 forced them to cancel for everyone’s safety, and they pushed it back for two weeks.

For those of you keeping track, that means instead of the New Moon, it was under the Full Moon. That’s… a somewhat different experience than I was hoping for, but still fine.

The day of the hike it also warmed up significantly, and spent most of the day well above freezing. This forced them to pick a different trail than the one they had done before, just to make sure it wasn’t a muddy, icy mess.

All the better to make next year a new experience, I suppose?

Anyway, we attended. It was still, relatively quiet, and bright enough to see by the light of the moon.

Alright, so the camera’s night sight mode turns up the light a little, but still; that’s just the moon.

I tried to take a few pictures along the way, and some of them turned out alright, and others not so much. I have a Google Pixel 3A XL, and the partner has a Pixel 5; they both have a night sight mode that forces you to stand still while it takes a long exposure and digitally composites it.

Here’s a comparison; night sight on, night sight off.

One of my favorite pictures, though, was when I aimed straight up and took a picture of the sky through the moonlit trees. I got some good feedback on this one in my friends group chat, but now I have a question for you all: which of these is better?

The color balance is a little different, but otherwise, I think they’re both very impressive for a phone camera. I remember back when even a single megapixel in a phone camera was astonishing.

Anyways, that was a fun little thing to do in the evening. It takes us about ten minutes to drive there (and we’ve never made that drive in the dark, either) and about half an hour to walk this trail. I’m already looking forward to checking out the trails during the day before all the snow is gone, and doing this same event next year.

We’ll return to my normal food blogging next week, but I just had to share this one. It was a fun time!

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