Sunday, April 12, 2015

Venus and Pleiades with T5i at 300mm

Venus did a pretty close fly by of the Pleiades over the past few days. I got this photo before the objects set behind my neighbor's roof. In hindsight I wish I did a stack of light frames with a high f-number so I could get that nice radiant lens flare around bright Venus while still seeing more of the Pleiades cluster. Oh well, I'll take these single frames at least - you can compare the look of Venus at f/9 and f/5.6 below...

Venus and Pleiades with T5i at 300mm
Single frame, Canon T5i, f/9, 1.3 sec, ISO 1600, 300mm

Venus and Pleiades with T5i at 300mm
Single frame, Canon T5i, f/5.6, 1.3 sec, ISO 3200, 300mm

Saturday, April 4, 2015

April 4, 2015 Lunar Eclipse Photos from Indiana

It's been a long morning and my fingers are still thawing out from the 30ยบ air, but I wanted to share my best photos from the day so far. I'm going to put together a timelapse of the total progression, but these are some decent stand-alone shots from my Canon T5i and 300mm zoom lens.

lunar eclipse photo april 4
Single frame, Canon T5i, ISO 200, 300mm, f/6.3, 1.3 sec
April 4, 2015, Noblesville, Indiana @ 6:54am ET

lunar eclipse photo april 4, 2015
Single frame, Canon T5i, ISO 100, 300mm, f/6.3, 1.3 sec
April 4, 2015, Noblesville, Indiana @ 7:01am ET

lunar eclipse photo april 4, 2015
Single frame, Canon T5i, ISO 100, 300mm, f/6.3, 1/40 sec
April 4, 2015, Noblesville, Indiana @ 7:03am ET

lunar eclipse photo april 4, 2015
Single frame, Canon T5i, ISO 200, 300mm, f/6.3, 1/200 sec
April 4, 2015, Noblesville, Indiana @ 6:36am ET

And here's my animated gif timelapse of the eclipse visible from Indiana. As the moon got darker, I changed my camera settings, that's why it appears to jump around between darker and lighter - but in general the progression and direction of the Earth's shadow across the moon is evident.

april 4 lunar eclipse animated gif
Progression from 4:54am ET to 7:10am ET Noblesville, IN

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Crescent Moon and Venus as Celestial Chimney Sweeps

Chris and I saw the setting crescent moon with Venus as we came out of the Target parking lot on Sunday night. I figured by the time I got home the twilight would be gone completely and I'd just get another typical moon with Venus conjunction photo.

I waited a while longer until the pair was closer to the horizon, and I got rewarded with this scene! The waxing crescent moon with Venus on opposite sides of my neighbor's chimney. It was very whimsical. Whimsy is a word I'm learning to detest because in gardening it means throwing crap like ceramic frogs wearing overalls in your garden - but in skywatching, it means feeling transported to a sci-fi fantasy land where celestial chimney sweeps are commonplace.

venus moon with chimney over roof
Single frame, Canon T5i, f/7.1, 1.6 sec, ISO 1600, 125mm
venus moon roof chimney
Single frame, Canon T5i, f/7.1, 2 sec, ISO 1600, 160mm
venus moon above roof
Single frame, Canon T5i, f/7.1, 2 sec, ISO 1600, 75mm
What a happy accident! The above photo turned out to be one of my favorite from the year, and I didn't even plan on photographing the conjunction ahead of time. These suburban rooflines are becoming very handy foreground objects for moon photo.

moon venus and chimney
Single frame, Canon T5i, f/7.1, 1.3 sec, ISO 1600, 300mm

Friday, March 20, 2015

Waning Crescent Moon with Instagram Perpetua Filter

I spotted the waning crescent moon out my kitchen window (have I mentioned how thankful I am that my neighbor's house doesn't completely obscure my view of the eastern sky?) and took my camera outside for a quick shot before work.

crescent moon rise in spring
Single frame, Canon T5i, f/6.3, 1.6 sec, ISO 100, 55mm


I used the new Perpetua filter on Instagram, which made the sky look like it went from aqua to gold. Not that the rising crescent moon with earthshine needed any help to look gorgeous, but it is fun to play around with the colors from time to time.

crescent moon perpetua filter


It also goes to show you that you can never believe what you see online these days because it's insanely easy to manipulate images.

No Northern Lights, But Free Star Trails

On Tuesday, my friend Ryan texted me and asked if I was going to go out and look for the aurora to the north. It was all over the news, and I think one commenter said we might get northern lights visible as far south as Tennessee. Keyword 'might'. I went out to check, and enjoyed some nice clear skies, but didn't see any lights.

I set up my camera to take some longer exposure shots to see if I got anything. I saw some bands of clouds. I've never seen the northern lights before, so I don't even know what to look for exactly (except what I've seen in other photos). I put them on my computer, and when I scroll through them quickly it makes a sort of timelapse video of the clouds, and I noticed they were definitely blowing away in the wind rather than hovering and dancing in one spot like the aurora lights do.

wispy clouds at night
Single frame, Canon T5i, f/5.6, 15 sec, ISO 1600, 18mm
As always, the consolation prize (or constellation prize) is a stack of star trails. Here is the resulting 155 image stack using StarStaX.

star trails canon t5i

And then here is the same photo with some HDR and contrast using the Snapseed app for iPhone.

star trails with snapseed iphone app

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