Hazy hot humid in mid July is normal for the northeast especially here on Long Island. We stay with wearing masks, socially distancing, and we are far from returning to whatever we once thought was a normal life. Life globally in 2020 has impacted every single human being alive on this planet, if not directly then indirectly. 2020 has been an interesting year and most just wish it would go away and we can start anew. It has been a lesson in the cycles of life.
But in the midst of this global crisis and with so many fighting for social change that will benefit each and every human being on this planet, for a brief moment if not longer, some of us focused our sights upward to the sky, the heavens, the galaxies beyond this planet Earth. Neowise Comet, C2020 F3 called to us and had the potential to unite us, as we honored the very nature of existence and the galaxy in which we reside. The comet was discovered March 27, 2020 by NASA. We became aware of how very little we actually know of the universe in which we play a part.
I had the honor of witnessing the Neowise comet on July 12, 2020 in the predawn hours at Montauk Point Lighthouse. Samantha Kennedy and I drove out separately and met in the parking lot at 3:45am. Samantha’s keen eyes picked it up immediately and she was able to point it out to me. We both were in awe. In that moment of seeing this comet for the very first time, I stood and was mesmerized by a comet that entered our lives, so overwhelmed by what I was witnessing, my mind went blank and I only knew I want to do my best to capture it on camera.
In the parking lot, still unsure of which lens to use I tested both hand held knowing full well they would be blurry but I wanted the best set up before we walked in the dark and the big question was do we carry the big 200-500 lenses. I choose my Nikon 70-200 mm f 2.8 vr on my Nikon D750 and with the decision, we walked through the darkness onto the path that would bring us to the opening and the lighthouse. The comet over Montauk was our goal. We walked out into the clearing and spotted the comet near the lighthouse and we both set up the tripods and cameras and began to capture the Neowise comet from various angles: truly a stunning sight. Each time seeing it in camera, I was astonished as was Samantha. The haze at Montauk impacted the images but nonetheless the Neowise comet over Montauk was indescribable. We thought no better place than to start with the comet at the “beginning” and then witness the sunrise.
We planned a second shoot in Wildwood State Park on the north shore of Long Island, July 15,2020. The weather cooperated and once again we were in awe. I sat on the beach. my camera lined up, a rock in the distance and I pondered. How one comet can bring us together again in a unity, recognizing the world around us! How many are looking skyward in the darkness to see this ball of light streaking through the sky, making its mark on the universe, while unifying us and drawing our focus upward. With sights set higher, we begin to see the messages that all life brings us. It is a matter of interpretation but the unity and upward vision directs us if we choose.
Comet Neowise brought us a new awareness and now what we do with that, is a matter of choice. What did it teach you?