But one cold March day I came across something during one of my photo hikes that made me think that perhaps something akin to these intergalactic masterpieces could be created right here on terra firma. The found object was a single goose down feather, no larger than a quarter, frozen in the surface of a mud puddle. The immediate recognition that this could be processed to create a surrogate nebula complete with radiating tendrils of dust, helium, hydrogen and other ionized gases prompted me to take the shot using my macro lens allowing me to get in close.
Over the past couple of years I have periodically returned to the image to fine tune my earthly nebula - the Goose Down Nebula. No elements were added to the original image which was merely processed to add some color and contrast to accent bubbles and other debris in the ice to create the impression of deep space, stars and other heavenly bodies. To my satisfaction at least, I had created within the span of an inch or so a surrogate for an object of galactic dimensions.
While not perfectly matching my original imagining and falling many light years short of matching the majesty of the real things, I've decided to release the first photos of the Goose Down Nebula before smart phone manufacturers release phones with cameras capable of photographing the real thing making my effort a waste of time.
Welcome to a piece of my universe!
To see some terrific photographs of the real deal you can go the the Hubble Telescope site at http://hubblesite.org/gallery/album/nebula/
(This piece was originally posted in late 2013, but viewed by so few that I thought it could be posted again and viewed as new. Hopefully its fate will be better this time.)