September 15, 2011

Enjoying God's Creation: Capturing the Beauty

The Pleiades - Job 38:31-33 

I sigh. Pausing to look up at the night sky calms and inspires me. Such beauty! When I see familiar objects making their nightly appearance on the stage -- taking their place at their appointed time -- playing out their performance as they promenade across the sky -- I sense the reassuring promise of God's eternal faithfulness. For me, these moments help keep the craziness of this life in perspective.

If only I could capture a picture of what I see!

My viewing gear consists of my eyes, a pair of Nikon 10x50 binoculars and a simple, manual reflecting telescope without computerized imaging capability. So, I made you a simulated graphic of The Pleiades (above), hoping I could adjust it in Picasa to make it look like what I see through binoculars.

That didn't work.

Both  the colors and the haziness are extremely exaggerated and unnatural, which detracts from the subtle beauty of the object's natural form.

Now, compare the simulated graphic above to the astronomy sketch below by Rony De Laet. What absolutely stunning talent, patience and skill! His work realistically portrays the look and feel of what I see through binoculars. Click on the link and view the larger image. Can you see why I get lost in the night sky?

Click to view image larger and explore Rony's other sketches.

This is what I wish you could see -- what I would share with you if I could capture the night and give you a slice.

While I do not possess the talent to give you examples like Rony's, I do my best to personalize and capture my viewing sessions in other ways. Any time under the heavens is time refreshingly spent. Check out the tips and links below.

Here's to clear skies and a front-row seat for God's spectacular nightly show!



Helpful Tips:
Pause to Reflect.

Slow down. Take time. Allow what you see to penetrate your senses as you quiet your soul in the stillness. Feel the air. Hear the sounds around you. Smell the breeze. Taste the humidity. Touch the Creator's textures, even if only in the descriptions you write on your thoughts.

Paint with Words.

That's right -- take pen and paper to the field (along with your red-light flashlight). Express yourself. Let the creative juices flow. Write out your impressions from your Pause & Reflect moments and let them lead you to a growing awareness of this amazing universe and God, our Creator. Psalm 8:3-4  

Keep a Record or Log.

Jot down basic details about your observations including:
  1. date and time
  2. location
  3. weather/temperature
  4. optical aides used (binoculars / telescope / lenses)
  5. seeing conditions and transparency
  6. notes about unusual points of interest or some new find you want to research
This step helps you to find your way around the night sky more quickly; to find the object again in a future observing session; and to serve as a reminder of a memorable evening under the stars. 
Sketch what you see.

  1. Primitive and simple is perfectly okay! 
  2. An artistic interpretation, or
  3. A field sketch - showing main object observed, any features you can detect, and other field stars.

Here's one of my basic log entries and a quick field sketch. 
My impression of galaxy M108 viewed through an 8-inch Newtonian reflector

Helpful Links:


  1. What a great post....I love all the ideas you added!! I am like you....looking at the beauty and magnificance of creation always sets my eyes upon the Creator!



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