I feel a little stupid. It turns out that I did manage to capture Comet Pan Starrs after all. After going back and studying a few of the frames I took near the end of last weeks Tuesday night vigil, I saw something. On any of the exposures 1 second in length or longer, there it was! I never saw it with the naked eye, but my Sigmas 72mm diameter (approx.) 200mm focal length lens apparently captured enough light for success. It’s a good thing I wasn’t chewing gum a few minutes ago when I discovered this fact, I might have swallowed it. Oh yeah, that’s the comet there in the upper left. See it? Better late than never I guess.
I got about 3 or 4 frames with the comet and my planned moon/windmill combo, but the composition is off, the comet is very weak, and they just don’t look good. The image above looks much better, it was one of the last I took while walking back to the car, not even knowing the comet was in there. Crazy times we live in.
I had a plan last night. I had my location selected, with an interesting foreground object (windmill). The previsualized shot would be windmill silhouette, comet Pan Starrs, and the almost new 1%-2% illuminated sliver of the moon, hanging there like a cosmic smiley face. It would have been glorious! Alas, although the moon became visible as expected, where expected, the comet did not. I was unable to see it, even with my small binoculars. I had noticed a high thin layer of hazy clouds as the light dimmed, I suspect those were the reason the comet was not visible. Even though the sky looks clear in these photos, I could see through the binoculars there was a high haze. I should also note that in my original camera position, the trees you see here were not obscuring my view.
As I was walking back to my car, I noticed a fair amount of earthshine becoming visible on the moon, so grabbed a couple of moody shots of that. (Earthshine is sunlight reflected from the earth back to the night side of the moon. ) It was fun to be out shooting, even if the comet was a no show. Online this morning, I’ve seen several images similar to the one I envisioned, not everyone struck out last night.
Here’s a second moody moonset-with-earthshine image:
And finally, here’s a photo taken shortly after the first image posted. I cropped it tighter to show you….what is that streak near the moon? Could it be….is that the comet?!
No, sorry, its just the contrail of a high flying jet aircraft. I thought about trying to pass it off as the comet but figured the astrophotography police would bust me for it right away. I’m thinking of trying for a comet shot again tonight or at least sometime this week. The windmill will still be there.
I’ve been tinkering with this several-years-old photo for some time now. It was taken right at sunset, from a ship in the Inside Passage along the west coast of Canada. I’ve been reading about Ansel Adams, and how he dodged and burned the heck out of his prints to make the image he wanted. It makes me shake my head at the “purist” photographers on the internet who deride anyone who does a lot of post processing. Anyhow, I ain’t no Ansel Adams but I now feel even a little bit better about tinkering around with my “digital negatives” . By the way, although this has been majorly massaged, it is not a composite or double exposure etc. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that.)
This is the rather impressive and often photographed JC Nichols fountain in Kansas City, Mo. This was one of my favorite images from a recent visit, although I fear this is one of those “it REALLY looks better when you see it large” images.
Once again I am shooting for the Wichita Riverfest photo contest. Using Google Earth I drew some lines based on the launch sites and knew where I wanted to set up this year. Going by previous years, I decided when to arrive in order to secure my spot. Unfortunately, the rainy and cool weather earlier in the day must have thinned the crowds. I found myself with one and a half hours of waiting. Early on it was a lonely vigil. I was almost directly under a huge steel power line tower, and half expected security from the power company to come out to get rid of me. Turns out no one ever spoke to me except one guy who asked me “What time do the firecrackers start?” 🙂
What to do while waiting? I shot a few bracketed sets here, one of which produced a nice little HDR image with the rising moon above the clouds. This image will not be in the contest, as it doesn’t really show any of the Riverfest. (HDR is probably a no-no anyway for the contest.)
Once the show finally started, the fireworks rose above the saddle in Exploration Place across the river as expected. I can’t post any of those until after the contest concludes.
I had waited about 20 minutes past the actual time of moonrise for it to rise high enough to become visible through distant clouds. Then there was no time to rest as the sky darkened, and the moon brightened. The image above is the result of a bracketed set of 5 exposures run through Photomatix. This is the best it could do with the rapidly expanding dynamic range of the scene- at least with what I gave the program to work with. I thought this had a rather atmospheric mood, although it is beginning to creep into the realm of the surreal. Alright, I confess it was this one that made my wife go “oooooh , That one!” when she saw it, so I figured I better post it.
As you may have seen in the news, Saturday night’s full moon was extra special. Our moon’s orbit around the earth is somewhat elliptical, so it is closer to us at certain times. When those close approaches happen to coincide with the proper alignment with the sun for a full moon, we get a “supermoon”, which appears larger than at other times. This windmill image was no accident, I used a fantastic app on my iPad called The Photographer’s Ephemeris. You can stick a pin in the app’s map and it will project lines to show you exactly where the sun and moon will rise and set on the horizon. I had a couple of ideas on where to position myself for Saturday’s moonrise, the app helped me know exactly where to be to get the image I had in mind. This app gets the Warped Prism seal of approval!
Once the moon rose high enough to become visible through distant clouds and haze, there was a remarkably short time to work. This is an HDR image processed through Photomatix, then some tweaks in Lightroom. I have a small handful of ‘keepers’, but have found it really difficult to choose what to post.
The western sky has been interesting this month. Once again, we had Venus and Jupiter shining brightly, this time joined by the crescent moon. That’s Venus next to the moon, with Jupiter at the bottom of the frame in the image above. I felt it was my duty to run out and shoot a few frames for the record. Venus is close to it’s maximum brightness, just incredibly bright in the evening sky.
This bunch of helium balloons got away early from a planned mass balloon release by children at the Wichita Riverfest.
After all of yesterdays talk I decided to set an alarm and venture out to see the eclipse between approximately 1:30am and 2:00am central U.S. time. As those of you who saw it know, the moon was very high overhead so getting any arty foreground objects in the frame was a problem, at least here in the central U.S. This was shot with my D700, ISO 3200, 180mm, f/11 at 3.2 seconds. If you click the image for the larger version you can better see the numerous stars (that were starting to trail even at 3.2 seconds) detected by the camera. This was early in totality, clouds moved in soon after and spoiled my intent to get the eclipsing moon and the constellation Orion in the same frame.
By the way, it looked cool!
The Warped Prism is back, although perhaps with somewhat less frequent postings for the near future. It was on an unscheduled hiatus due to health issues with yours truly, but I am now on the mend.
This is a total lunar eclipse from 2007, shot from my front yard. I used my Nikon D200, which does not have the incredible low light/low noise capabilities of my current D700. This is more of a documentary shot I suppose, not art. Hey, I broke the rule of thirds! There is another lunar eclipse tonight, coinciding with the winter solstice, which hasn’t happened for 456 years if my information source is correct. I encourage everybody to go out tonight/this morning and photograph the heck out of this thing. Me, I will likely be asleep.
Everybody should check out the cool moon photo posted at http://oneowner.wordpress.com , now that’s good stuff.
This is by no means a great photograph, but the moon was so attractive this morning I had to give it a quick try. One of my favorite things to see is earthshine, where sunlight reflects off the earth onto the dark portion of the moon, making it dimly visible. Hey, I’m a simple guy.
I posted an unremarkable photo yesterday to illustrate a point, I thought I’d use one today of the same general subject which I thought turned out more pleasing. This was just a quick shot from the top of Cadillac Mountain in Acadia National Park, Maine. At the time I had been more interested in shooting the sunset, and the brightly lit cruise ship in the harbor below, so this was image was something of an afterthought. I think I find it works better as a vertical crop, the original was horizontal.