Posts tagged ‘astrophotography’

October 21, 2017

Orionids on a Chilly Night

A Sip of a hot chai
Gentle breeze of the cold night
Shimmering of the twinkling stars
A blazing streak of a meteor
– few experiences are worth skipping the cozy sleep :)

Canon 7D : Canon 10-22 mm : ISO 2500 : 10 mm : f3.5 : 20 sec

   Orionid Meteor Shower (10.21.2017)
Whitmire, South Carolina, USA
August 23, 2017

The Sun, Moon & Regulus

Watching the Solar Eclipse was quiet an experience. Witnessing the totality was even more personal.

In the peak of the afternoon – the scorching summer sun became so pleasant ; the temperature dropped ; the crickets became exuberant ; there was sunset all around and quiet an excitement permeated in the air. It was a surreal experience to witness a 360° sunset and right in the middle of the afternoon.

High above, as the moon obscured the Sun, it was a sight to behold ! Totality is the only time during solar eclipse that can be enjoyed with out any additional protection to the eyes. The Sun’s corona extends millions of miles into space and is most prominently visible during a total solar eclipse. Regulus, a bright star in the constellation Leo and among the brightest in Earth’s night sky. Due to its extreme brightness, Regulus can be spotted next to the sun’s corona, though its 79 Light years away.

The photos / videos do no justice to the experience, but here is an attempt to freeze that moment – for my friends who were not able to experience this in person. Do check out full screen at higher resolution – definitely worth it :)

 

Moon 1,079 Mile Radius 238,900 Miles Away
Sun 432,288 Mile Radius 92,960,000 Miles Away
Regulus 1,296,864 Mile Radius 458,500,000,000,000 Miles Away

Canon 7D : Sigma 150-600 mm : ISO 320 : 600 mm : f5.6 : 1/6 sec

   Solar Eclipse Totality
Whitmire, South Carolina, USA
March 27, 2016

Milky Way by Night

Somewhere, Something incredible is waiting to be known. – Carl Sagan

As Spring comes up, so does the galactic arm of the milky way. Due to the curvature and constant movement of the earth, the Milky Way is below the horizon during the months of November to February, and can be enjoyed with the galactic center from March to October (if you live in the northern hemisphere).

This shot is from the one of the most known Perseids meteor shower from the past year. We drove around the Green river state wildlife area and luckily chanced upon a remote road. As I light painted the foreground with Coast HP7,  the meteor sparkled across the night sky. One of the stars even decided to play the head of the comet.

Looking forward to more adventurous nights this year :)

Canon 7D : Canon 10-22 mm : ISO 100 : 10 mm : f3.5 : 30 sec

 Perseids (08.13.2015) @ Green River State Wildlife Area
Harmon, Illinois, USA
June 25, 2015

Road to Aurora, accompanied by Fireflies

Had been missing on sharing posts lately as work is going crazy. On the night of Jun 22, was working thru midnight, but when the Aurora was still going strong and the weather was forecasted to clear up, it was time to take a decision – to snuck under the blanket for a deserved cozy sleep, after a really long day OR miss out on the sleep and drive out couple hours to get a chance of a lifetime. Being a working day did not help either.

Looking back, I definitely would have regretted, if I had not drove out at 1 AM. Ideal time for Aurora viewing is from 10 PM to 2 AM and a location that is potentially dark, away from the pollution of city lights. The weather was starting to clear only around 3 AM. Hence it was all a hit or a miss.

But oh boy – the big dipper, the lovely colors of aurora dancing & the fireflies that decided to accompany the sweet night – it was quiet an encounter :)

Canon 7D : Canon 10-22 mm : ISO 1600 : 10 mm : f3.5 : 20 sec

  06.23.2015  3:40 AM CST @ Green River Wildlife Area
Harmon, Illinois, USA
April 5, 2015

Lunar Eclipse by the Lighthouse

Witnessing the lunar eclipse was magical. Planning and shooting the same was a lot of fun. Out here, in the north east of US, the lunar eclipse was not total, so missed out on the blood moon, but it was still a scintillating experience. As the moon was getting into total eclipse, it set over the horizon. But at the same time it created for some interesting photographing options.

This involved a lot more planning than it meets the eye (and a bit of luck, as there were too many variables from the weather, location, time zone, the quality of the air etc. Will share more details on the planning and tools  in a separate article, for my geek friends out there later this week.

Additionally, this is something new I had tried. Had always wanted to shoot a scene around sunset and into the night and highlight the same in a single frame as time-slice [A time slice is depicting a time range in a single frame]. When I learnt about the lunar eclipse, this past week, thought it might be a good candidate for time slice. This shot is a mix of landscape and time slice – in an attempt to highlight the lunar eclipse in the context of the surrounding landscape. These shots were taken from 4:45AM EST thru 6:25 AM EST (one of the shortest lunar eclipse of this century). This was a panorama made out of a composite. Though it does not look like a wide view, that is what helped capture the moon and the lighthouse in context (all 12 images [10 for the moon and 2 for the lighthouse] used to create the same, were shot at the extreme end of my long zoom lens). The long zoom helped actuate the size of the moon to some extent due to the much debated perspective compression effect.

Driving for couple of hours, setting out with the camera in the biting cold,  witnessing moving ice by the lake, the planning, the execution and the processing – it all culminated in the below shot :)

Panorama Time slice made with 13 shots

Buy Print   Time Slice of Lunar Eclipse 04.04.2015
South Haven, Michigan, USA
March 29, 2015

Falling Star … Falling Star …!!!

This was from the night, few moons ago, when I was shooting the camelopardalis meteor shower. Clear nights are nice to shoot the milky way. But a little bit if mist, actuates and gives a good nice glow to the stars. I love the Green River Wildlife Area for the night sky watching. It provides ample dirt roads and parking spots where you could set up base ! For this shot I set up the camera and decided to drive around and the set the car, so the head lights could light up the trees :)

It is fun to shoot the milky way. It is even more enjoyable when my family joins in the party. My son (8 yrs) is equally intrigued by the night sky. Along with the shot, just wanted to share something he wrote during one of our trips to catch a glimpse of a meteor shower.

Falling star Falling Star
Sliding down the Sky
I will catch You when I fly.

Falling star Falling Star
You have a Shiny light,
Which makes you very Bright
You go swiftly
– My Dad takes snaps of U quickly.

Falling Star Falling Star
We see U barely,
So come out early
We see U in dark starlit midnight
Hoping to see U tonight. – Pranav :)

Canon 7D : Canon 10-24 mm : ISO 2500 : 10 mm : f3.5 : 30 sec

Camelopardalis Meteor, Green River Wildlife Area
Harmon, Illinois, USA
May 24, 2014

209P/LINEAR’s handshake with earth – Camelopardalis

As you would have read from the news, the new meteor shower – Camelopardalis – was expected to adorn the skies during the early morning of 5.24.2014. When I heard about this meteor shower, I was pretty excited. Time of the event being a weekend – check. Location – northern continental US – favorable. Clear skies – check. May be the stars just aligned for this :)

Camelopardalis – I was wondering about the name, as it has been as long as the giraffe’s neck, when I came across this !

The giraffe’s species name, camelopardalis (camelopard), is derived from its early Roman name where it was thought of as a composite creature, described as having characteristics of both a camel and a leopard.

 

The forecasted peak time for the meteor shower was from 1 –3 AM CST. It was not as much as hyped (~200 / hr ?), but the night was still clear and Milky way was magnificent. Around 4 AM, took out my flash light and started playing to get a star war style crisscross with the milky way. Just then the celestial gods decided to bless – look – a shooting start in the same direction my camera was positioned, as if to slice the Milky way.This was not one of the shooting star i saw in person. I was busy walking up & down and playing with the flash light. But I will definitely settle for this shot instead :)

Lesson to self : Never given up, just go out and do what you like, you never know when the stars will align :)

Note: Are you just getting started with night photography ? Do check out this article !

Canon 7D : Canon 10-22 mm : ISO 2500 : 10 mm : f3.5 : 30 sec

Buy Print Camelopardalis Meteor (05.24.2014) Green River Wildlife Area
Harmon, Illinois, USA
June 12, 2013

Delphinids – That elusive Meteor Shower

I went to shoot the Deliphids and all I got was this :)

Coming in from office stumbled upon the article – that talked the the elusive Delphinids Meteors. When NASA said it was elusive, I should have agreed. Instead I decide to drive up 2 hours, to sleep under the stars. I just awaited a bit too long for the peak of the meteor (forecasted around 3:30 – 4:30 AM) and missed to realize that the sun would start to lit up the horizon quiet early during summer… The meteors were indeed quiet elusive. Given this was mid of work week, it was a good straight 36 hours without sleep, but was well worth the experience !

Just in case you were wondering, this was just a regular star trail shot processed with Comet effect. Am working on an article explaining the same. For now do check out – Getting Started with Starscapes here.

Canon 7D : Canon 10-22 mm : ISO 1000 : 10 mm : f22 : 30 sec

    Green River State Wildlife Area
Harmon, Illinois, USA
May 13, 2013

The Road to Milky Way

Living close to Chicago has its perks, but star-gazing is definitely not one of them. With so much of ambient light pollution, it is difficult to see any stars. Tools of trade – Dark Sky Finder – came to the rescue, in locating some decent dark skies @ Green River State Wildlife Area. The 2 hour drive made me realize how much impact light pollution has on the night skies. Anyways, couple nights back – everything fell in place – new moon, weekend, forecast for clear skies and not so cold nights – all came together. Clear Sky Chart is one other site that is quiet handy to plan trips like these …

Out at this location, the side roads, provide for some interesting composition – without being bothered by light trails of the vehicles. There are not many crazy folks who drive around at that hour ;-) It was an happy accident to have captured a meteor on this particular night. This probably was from Eta Meteor shower that peaked couple of days back.

Canon 7D : Canon 10-22 mm : ISO 2500 : 12 mm : f4 : 30 sec

Buy Print   Eta Meteor (05.11.2013) @ Green River State Wildlife Area
Harmon, Illinois, USA
August 13, 2012

Shooting Star(s) & the Moon, Venus, Jupiter etc.

Sleeping under the stars is an experience unto itself. In addition, being away from the city lights takes on a whole new level of fun, when you start taking star pictures. If u have not done it before, definitely give it a try :) In expectations of capturing a moment of Presides Meteor shower, headed to Trillium lake over last weekend (Aug 11-12, 2012) . Overall the meteor shower was pretty elusive than expected, always managing to put a show where the camera was not pointed. As the night was passing by, was worried that the moon rise (around 1:30 AM) might reduce the possibility of meteor sighting. But I was pretty surprised when everything just lined up just (around 3:30 AM) – the Venus, the Moon and the Jupiter – and even a meteor was adorning the scene. The star cluster you see a little off center on top is Pleiades nebula.

Hope u enjoy viewing as much as I did during the shooting !

Buy Print  Perseids Meteor
Trillium Lake, Mt. Hood, Oregon, USA
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