Thursday, October 10, 2013

Cool Star Shots

Those odd among you that wandered over here to this blog from my Drift Away blog know that I enjoy photography.  I hesitated and didn't use the word "passionate" because I'm not really passionate about anything.  I'd like to think that I'm more rational and level headed to be passionate.  

Who am I kidding.  I'm passionate about all kinds of things.   Politics and boating come immediately to mind.  Rational goes right out the window.  

"I think, to save money, we should abolish our entire military and replace it with six guys and a nuke."

Yes.  I really wrote that the other day.  And I did so only half in jest.

I enjoy analyzing things I'm passionate about.  Back in my younger days, I'd devour anything that had to do with cruising and living aboard a boat.  For decades.  And after years of contemplating cruising and living aboard my modest sailboat in warm tropical climates, I wound up living on a trawler in Stamford, Connecticut of all things.  With big dogs.

But I digress.  Right now I'm not passionate about playing my guitars or cruising and living aboard.  I'm passionate about getting our little homestead built and... photography.  I've always enjoyed photography, but being a cheap bastard, I've only owned cheap cameras.   About a year and a half ago, after photographing an outboard motor I was working on, I left my camera topsides.  It rained that night, and my camera was ruined.  I intended to buy another cheap point-and-shoot, but Pamela wouldn't hear of it.  She insisted that I buy something a bit better, and I did.  A low end Nikon DSLR.

I'm enjoying this camera, and I spend an inordinate amount of time with it, and studying new photographic techniques.  My photographs have definitely improved and I'm always learning.

This is one of my first photos...

That was taken from the flybridge of our boat, which was in Savannah at the time.  It's another friggin' pelican.

These are my recent photos.  I'm trying to learn about astrophotography.  Night photography of the stars.  I'm pretty much night blind, and I don't see too many stars.  But I can with my camera.

This is one of the first photos I took of our local stars.

I can't see anything like that with my naked eyeballs, but I can with the camera.  Isn't that something?

So I've been practicing my astrophotography and, last night, tried my hand at "star trails".   Creating a star trails photograph involves combining several individual photos into one by stacking one on top of the other using special software.  It can create a very cool effect.  

So last night I tried it.  I set my camera up on its tripod, set the exposure for 30 seconds, and shot away.  It was cold and I only got a half dozen photos, but enough to see how it works.   After downloading the photos and going through them on my laptop, I noticed that I caught a meteor.  See it?  It's the dim straight line that looks like five minutes before five.  You can even see where it burned out.

Anyway, I used special software to overlay a half dozen time exposed photos, and the result is below.

Yeah, I missed the north star by a bit.  That would have been even better.  But it is a very cool effect, is it not?

Maybe I'll try again tonight, if it's not cloudy.  Just a little more to the right...

1 comment:

  1. Loved the meteor shot!
    I wonder what your new lens could do with northern lights. The problem with northern lights is that they appear when us chickens are soundly sleeping. P used to wake me on winter mornings when he was off to the barn at 3:30am and the auroras were streaming.