I was exploring the back roads of eastern Washington and what did I find in the middle of farm country? A radio telescope! I’m a space nut and this is one of the coolest things I have found on my photo roadtrips. It is part of a network of ten radio telescopes called the VLBA (Very Large Baseline Array). The western most telescope in the network is in Hawaii, and the eastern most telescope is in the Virgin Islands. The telescopes work together to act like a huge telescope with a diameter of 5351 miles. You can read more about the VLBA here.
I woke up around 2am today. Decided to wander outside and what did I see? The first clear night in weeks! Time to practice my night sky photography. Did a series of long exposure shots (30 seconds, ISO 800, f/3.5) but could not get the focus right. This is one of the hardest things for me about shooting the night sky. Auto-focus doesn’t work, you can’t see anything through the viewfinder, and your focus has to be perfectly on infinity. Anyway, after 40 minutes of trying in 32 degree weather I gave up. Looked at my blurry star shots and thought “Hey! What if I merge all of these exposures?” This is the result. I think I like it better than the properly focused night sky shot I was trying to get. I hope you like it – now I’m going back to bed.
Saturday is the night of the “supermoon” – a full moon when it is closest to earth. Has not happened for 18 years. (Thanks to Sean for the clarification!) I don’t know if we will have clear skies on Saturday so I decided to get a shot of the almost-supermoon tonight. This was done with my Nikon D7000 camera, a tripod, and an 18-200mm zoom lens. Settings were ISO 100, f/5.6, 1/125 second exposure.
We had a break in the clouds this evening and I was able to capture the crescent moon before it set. This shot is a fusion of two exposures processed with Photomatix Pro 4.0 HDR software. The camera is a Nikon D7000 and the settings were ISO 400, f/5.6, 200mm. The two exposures were 1/500 second and 1/200 second.
Latest shots from my experiments in photographing the night sky. No telescope, just my Digital SLR camera and a tripod. Click on the images to see larger versions.
The Orion Nebula (M42).
Nikon D7000, 18-200mm lens, ISO 6400, f/5.6, 2.5 second exposure.
Pleiades star cluster.
Nikon D7000, 35mm lens, ISO 3200, f/1.8, 5 second exposure.
An experiment in HDR (high dynamic range) photography. HDR can let you capture some details that would be difficult to get with a single shot. This is a combination of 3 shots of the moon with an 18-200 zoom lens, f/9, exposures of 1/250 second, 1/500 second, and 1/1250 second. Shots were merged with Photomatix Pro 4.0. Click on the picture to see a larger version of the shot.
I think this is one of the coolest things about the internet. You can browse through the latest images sent by NASA / JPL’s Cassini spacecraft as it orbits Saturn, and in some cases you may be looking at them before they’re processed and made available to researchers. This link shows you the latest 500 images. See space exploration as it happens.
Some images from the raw feed:
May not look like much, but I’m very happy to get this much detail without a telescope. Used my Nikon D60, a tripod, and an 18-200mm zoom lens. A 0.5 second exposure at f/5.6.
Thanks to Avital Pinnick, who published a great post on how to photograph Jupiter. http://apinnick.wordpress.com/2010/11/03/how-to-photograph-jupiter/