Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Venus, Mars, and Crescent Moon December 5, 2016

These cool nights are nice but not quite clear enough for some deep sky photography. Since I'm limited by gear, I'm very picky about my nights - if it's going to be the one time I go out all winter it better be good! So in the meantime, I have been doing some quick captures. Here I made the most of the alignment of Venus, Mars, and the crescent moon.

The thin clouds and contrails made Venus look larger than normal, and by increasing the f-number I was able to add an interesting lens flare around the moon. It looks like an eerie sun in a dark sky. The same principle works for taking photos of Christmas lights, you can really make them pop by adding tiny lens flares around each one. You just have to increase the exposure time to let in more light, and keep the ISO low to reduce noise.

mars venus and crescent moon long exposure
Single frame Canon T5i ISO 800, 33mm, f/7.1, 6 sec lightened in Photoshop
Here's a closer look with Mars sneaking behind the branches of my favorite river birch trees in the backyard. Venus looks huge in the haze.

moon and stars long exposure
Single frame Canon T5i ISO 800, 38mm, f/7.1, 6 sec lightened in Photoshop
Contrails over the moon for a hazy look, pulled back to get a little more foreground. Not much you can do with the foreground composition here in the backyard.

haze over moon f/8
Single frame Canon T5i, ISO 800, 22mm, f/8, 20 sec lightened in Photoshop

moon and stars with small tree
Single frame Canon T5i, ISO 800, 22mm, f/9, 20 sec with porch light on

moon and venus stack
Stack of about 88 frames each at ISO 800, 22mm, f/9, 20 sec
I guess this is one of my only star trail photos with the moon in it. It's kinda neat, I normally exclude it and just focus on the stars. Just for overkill here is a timelapse of the stack:

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