Posts tagged ‘starscape’

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
July 24, 2017

Living under the stars

It is not a magical myth. There still exist places where the entire night is blanketed in the glow of the milky way. It is up to us all to make sure it stays that way :)

Went out along with my son for a night under the stars. After the long drive, at 5 minutes past 11, the planned spot at a State park did not work out – they just closed the gates prior to our arrival. This led to a drive around the unknown rural roads. After some scintillating conversations, light painting and trying out some Milky way shots, came across this lovely spot.

It was quiet a place to take a walk. Unlike city, there were no harsh lights to showcase the stone road, just the light of the stars and the sounds of the night. On the left were close to a hundred cows, casually mowing the grass. Only after we crossed the field, were we able to see the light, at the front yard of this house. Just enough for them and not polluting the night sky. It was quiet a scene, literally !

We talked about light pollution, rural life, dark skies, stars and soaked in the night :)

Canon 7D : Canon 10-22 mm : ISO 800 : 10 mm : f3.5 : 30 sec

   Living by the Stars 
Elberton, Georgia, USA
May 9, 2016

The Celestial Glow

Shooting Star …
now what would U wish for :)

 

This past weekend the weather was pretty warm and the skies clear providing a right mix for some star gazing. Being around new moon and the Eta Aquarids Meteor at peak was an added bonus.

Apart from the over hyped theme parks, Florida has much to offer. Despite what you may know, there are still some spots so remote and light stricken that on a clear summer night like this, the Milky Way glows, like a low lying cloud. Cedar Key, Florida is one of those places nestled on the Gulf of Mexico and provides a truly “Old Florida” rustic experience. I have a feeling this was just first of the many more night trips to come :)

 

Canon 7D : Canon 10-22 mm : ISO 100 : 10 mm : f3.5 : 30.0

Buy Print  Eta Aquarids Meteor (05.08.2016)
Cedar Key, Florida, USA
April 11, 2016

Life is Amazing

For a minute,
walk outside,
stand there,
in silence,
look up at the sky,
and contemplate
how amazing life is :)

 

A night under the stars always brings in thoughts of contemplation :) This was shot by the Wisconsin river late last year while chasing the Perseids. I love how a distant car left a trail over the distant bridge.

 

Canon 7D : Canon 10-22 mm : ISO 2500 : 10 mm : f3.5 : 30.0 sec

Buy Print    Wisconsin River
Blue River, Wisconsin, 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
November 4, 2015

It all comes down to …

Contemplating life under stars, at Wisconsin river.

Watching the stars make you realize, how small you are. But at the same time the openness of the clear skies reminds, that you are nothing but the universe itself. The water drop is not outside the ocean, but the ocean itself. At the same time the ocean would not be there with out the water drops.

It all comes down to you :)

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

Buy Print  Perseids Meteor (08.15.2015)
Blue River, Wisconsin, USA
September 21, 2015

Go, Get Lost !

It is good to get lost. It helps to find yourself.

With technology today, one can afford to get lost, without getting lost. It is much easier to take that road not taken, knowing that you have access to GPS and can get back home, if u decide to. I generally plan for location and timing to get the golden light. But once in a while I do enjoy getting around without a destination. Not knowing where the path leads, making the journey even more interesting.

What are you waiting for, just hop in the car and drive to the stars ! I assure, you wouldn’t regret :)

The journey is what brings us happiness, not the destination. – Dan Milman

Canon 7D : Canon 10-22 mm : ISO 2500 : 10 mm : f3.5 : 30.0 sec

Buy Print    Green River Wildlife Area
Harmon, Illinois, USA
August 17, 2015

Stroll by the River @ 2 AM

The Perseid meteor shower, is associated with the comet Swift-Tuttle and appears to streak out of Perseus constellation. Perseids usually is visible around 2nd week of Aug. With little or no moon to ruin the show, this was a great year for watching the Perseid meteor shower.

Every time the comet dives in towards the sun, it leaves a trail of rocky icy bits along its path like a cosmic, frozen Hansel and Gretel trail. This trail can remain intact for decades after the fact and gets refreshed with each new pass (the last of which was in 1992 and the next one is 2126). As the Earth barrels through the debris field, all the little bits in it’s way burn up in the atmosphere, creating brilliant streaks across the sky. Even particles the size of the sand can create some lovely views like this.

 

2 AM in the Morning, Watching the milky-way, Sipping a cup of hot tea – is an experience unto itself. Add a shooting star and what more can u ask for :)

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

Buy Print    Perseids Meteor (08.15.2015)
Blue River, Wisconsin, USA
July 20, 2015

Moon Rise by Cave Point

Moon rise can be as beautiful and dramatic as a sun rise. And the best part, you don’t need to wake up early ;-) This was from a lovely night at Door County, Wisconsin. The moon rise did kind of mess up with enjoying the  milky way, but the dramatic light, compensated for it.

The moon light was so bright, that it lit up the entire cliff. Had lot of fun with trying out some fun compositions like this. Even a shooting star (Draconid) decided to accompany us.

Canon 7D : Tamron 18-270 mm : ISO 1600 : 20 mm : f3.5 : 30.0 sec

Buy Print    Cave Point County Park
Door County, Wisconsin, USA
November 30, 2014

Storm in the Skies

After driving for 14 hours straight, I thought, all I would want was to get some break and sleep. But I was wrong ! As we reached the Smoky Mountain National Park and set the tent well into the darkness, the conditions were just ripe to explore some stars and was too tempting to miss ! The moon was not up, it was one of the darkest skies that I had seen in a while. It took a while to drive around and identify a spot, safe enough to shoot shoot the stars with some interesting foreground. Being new to the place, the mystery of the night and the sound of the rushing stream near by, added to the experience. The clouds were moving pretty fast, and helped set the mood of this shot to a great extent.

As for the processing of this shot : it was aided by the nifty Photoshop script(s) – Creative Trails UI & Creative Effects UI. I wrote a whole article about these scripts over the weekend. You can download the scripts here (for free, of course !) . If you are into photography do take some time to check it out.

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

Great Smoky Mountain National Park
Elkmont Road, Tennessee, USA
November 13, 2014

Star Lit Orb at Cave Point

The trip to Wisconsin was awesome this past season. Not only was the falls colors great at door county, but got a chance to hike along the cliffs, capture a shooting star, shoot a moon rise, some star trails and opened some portals too :)

The Gibbous moon lit the cliffs from behind the bushes !

Canon 7D : Canon 10-22 mm : ISO 1600 : 10 mm : f3.5 : 30 sec 

  Cave Point County Park
Door County, Wisconsin, USA
October 16, 2014

Draconid over Cave Point

After a long planning decided to head to Door County for capturing the palette of fall colors. As I was scouting the locations online, read about Cave Point to be a prominent spot. Being close to the the place where we stayed, decided to head there first thing in the evening to capture some stars. Reaching the spot after sunset did not help navigating in the dark. With the moon scheduled to come up, did not have much time either.

The water, aided by the wind was crashing against the cliffs and caves. This bellowing of waves helped traverse to the edge of the cliff. But by the time my eyes got used to the darkness, the moon decided to come out. It indeed was a lovely moon rise across the Michigan lake. But the best was yet to come …

I decided to use the moon light to capture the rugged cliff from below. The cool breeze, the sounds of the water crashing against the walls, the night sky … and just as I was exposing for the same, this lively meteor decided to adorn the sky. It took around 12 – 15 seconds to span across the sky before burning off.

Given the waxing gibbous moon, I was not even expecting a meteor sighting. I could only imagine how bright it would have been, if not for the moon :) With my wife and kid atop the cliff (look keen), this definitely was a treasure of a moment captured !

Once I came back from the trip. looked up online and identified this as Draconids based on the date and direction. The Draconids owe their name to the constellation Draco the Dragon, and are created when the Earth passes through the dust debris left by comet 21 P/ Giacobini-Zinner.

Canon 7D : Tamron 18-270 mm : ISO 100 : 18 mm : f8.0 : 1/90 sec 

Buy Print   Draconid Meteor (10.11.2014) @ Cave Point County Park
Door County, Wisconsin, USA
May 21, 2014

Majestic Milky way @ Bond Falls

This is a single RAW shot processed for the milky way. The ambient light bought in the details of the falls and bit of reflections.  Shot this while chasing the Perseids last year. I liked this shot for how this brings out the grandeur of the milky way. At the same time, it is amazing how walking couple of steps and lighting the foreground can bring in such a different feel. Here is the shot with a bit of light painting on the foreground.

It is amazing how much camera’s can see these days, but still – far superior is what the eyes can see :)

darkness of the night
stillness of the forest
rumbling of the falls
twinkling of the stars
grandeur of the milky way 
– adorned by a shooting star !

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

Buy Print   Perseids & Milky Way Over Bond Falls
Trout Creek, Michigan, USA
April 23, 2014

u & i are star material …

u & i are star material, i mean even literally :)

Was watching Cosmos : A space odyssey yesterday, what an amazing journey. Earlier I learnt about Carl Segan for his quotes, specifically from the 1980 TV series – Cosmos. And Neil Tyson definitely raises the bar with this new series. A must watch – if you already have not. The full versions are available online for free (for a limited time). Time well spent and you know, there is an app for that too :)

Watching the series, predictably bought back thoughts of some amazing night photography and a realization of how wonderfully insignificant we are, in the grand scheme of things. It was a lovely night, out at Mt. St. Helens.

If you are interested in star photography – do check out this guide to get started or this one for creative processing !!!

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

Buy Print   Gifford Pinchot National Forest
Mt. St. Helens, Washington, USA
August 18, 2013

Celestial Contemplation

It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see. And it is ironical that at times, you need to turn off the lights & thoughts – rather than turn them on – to see beauty like this.

I am just a tiny spec on this earth at the given slice of time. The earth in turn is such a tiny speck in the Milky way. To top it off the Milky Way is just one of billions of galaxies in the universe. When u get to witness the celestial grandeur like these – it brings in an amazing feeling of being extraordinarily special and at the same time wonderfully insignificant.

The journey of outside are not very different from that of the inside. At the end all that matters is the search itself :)

Let the waters settle and you will see the stars mirrored in your Being. ~Rumi

Canon 7D : Canon 10-22 mm : ISO 3200 : 10 mm : f3.5 : 30 sec

Buy Print Ottawa National Forest
Trout Creek, Michigan, USA
August 12, 2013

Chasing the Perseids

Sleeping under the stars is an experience unto itself. Add a streak of shooting star and it becomes magical.

Perseids meteor shower is one of the consistent ones. Capturing it west coast last year was fun and exhilarating. Equipped with the past experience and learning had been scouting locations and planning for it this year. Unfortunately the weather was not playing along over this particular weekend. Almost all of Illinois was forecasted for gloomy weather and thunderstorms.

As I was debating, there was a forecast for Aurora sighting over this past (same) weekend with a level of 5. Both these together made it too tempting to drop the plan. I decided to take my chances with the weather. After lot of deliberation decided to drive up north to for 8 hours. The plan was to get out during the daylight and scout the location as much as possible. Thought it would make it easier to maneuver again during the night, but boy oh boy, could I be any more wrong !!! The pitch black unknown trails were kind of eerie. But once the stars came out it was a totally different world – so serene and tranquil.

 

I am beginning to love the stars too fondly to be fearful of the night :)

45 hours on the road with just few hours of sleep, in search of that one spot to capture the Perseids. The lashing rain, the forecasted aurora that never turned up and the hide and seek with the clouds – it was all fun. Was it all worth it, you bet ! The road trip took me to one of the darkest skies of Mid Western US – Bond Falls. Would like to share with you a moment in time from that night. This was one of the two meteor I was able to capture on frame, but loved how everything came together in this shot. I do love when a plan comes together :)

 

The deafening sound of 500 gallons of water / second from 50 feet
The tranquil silence of the dark night
Milky way adorning the skies
A (Perseids) meteor fireball streaking across the horizon
Definitely a moment of serenity and one I would cherish !

Canon 7D : Canon 10-22 mm : ISO 3200 : 10 mm : f3.5 : 30 sec [Foreground lit by Coast HP7]

Buy Print   Perseids & Milky Way Over Bond Falls
Trout Creek, Michigan, USA
July 29, 2013

Twinkle Twinkle Little Star …

Twinkle twinkle little star, how I wonder what you are …
Up above the world so high , like a diamond in the sky.

When the blazing sun is gone, when he nothing shines upon,
Then you show your little light, twinkle, twinkle all the night.

Then the traveller in the dark, thanks you for your tiny spark,
He could not see which way to go, if you did not twinkle so.

In the dark blue sky you keep, and often through my curtains peep,
For you never shut your eye, ’till the sun is in the sky.

As your bright and tiny spark lights the traveller in the dark,
Though I know not what you are – twinkle, twinkle little star.

 

It has been so many years that I totally forgot the lyrics of this lovely rhyme.  On second thoughts – never mind – I wouldn’t have remembered past the second line, even if you had asked me then :P In the days of yore, one can only imagine how close people would have been with nature to be inspired to create such simple yet acclaimed art.

But these days, it is really unfortunate, that we are spoiling our night sky with all the light pollution. Did you know that nearly $2.2 billion dollars is spent every year in the U.S. alone on light that is wasted because it is spilled up into the night sky where it’s not needed. I drove 2 hours for this shot to get to a decent dark sky area, but still there were jarring lights on the horizon. It is high time we spread the word and raise some awareness to protect our night sky for our kids. And don’t forget to turn off the lights on Aug 12, 2013, if possible make it a habit :)

This weeks shot is from Green River State Wildlife area. And if you would like to create shots like these, check out the article – Stacking up the Stars – for the technique, Photoshop script (free download of course) and sample files to try hands on. The below is just one of the many ways you can process using the script (Creative Style Option 1 + Star Spike Pro). If your are getting started with night photography, check this write up – Sleeping with the Stars :)

You weren’t just a star in the sky, You were the whole damn sky …

Canon 7D : Canon 10-22 mm : ISO 2500 : 10 mm : f3.5 : 30 sec [86 shots]

    Its raining Diamonds, Green River
Harmon, Illinois, USA
December 13, 2012

Stonehenge – right here at Oregon

I came across Maryhill in Washington, when I was trying to finalize (light pollution free) places to shoot Geminids meteor shower. This park has a full-size, astronomically-aligned replica of Stonehenge and was commissioned by Samuel Hill and dedicated on July 4, 1918 as a memorial to those that died in World War I. The memorial was completed in 1929.

The peak of Geminids is actually tonight (Dec 13, 2013), but given the overcast weather here at the northwest, it is not very promising. Hence, when there was a break in the weather yesterday, decided to take my chances. It was a nice experience, braving the December cold and watching the meteor shower in person. I was able to witness close to ~5 in a span of 15 minutes, as I was scouting / setting up at the location. But subsequently the skies were clear only for a few minutes – here and there. So much for the forecast and almost clear skies. It was not a great night for capturing the meteors, but given the new moon and having the entire place to play with some lighting, it turned out to a pretty good night for some star photography.

I used a small headlamp to light up the inside of the Stonehenge. The light from a near by settlement was reflecting on the clouds creating the yellow. The (once distracting series of) tower lights, harmonized with the fog resulting in the lovely red hue over the horizon. Incidentally, the passing by Union Pacific train decided to play along and lit up the outside of the Stonehenge. Wish there had been a meteor on this particular shot, oh well … I just love it when a plan comes together, or not :)

Camera : Canon 7D 
Lens : Canon 10-22 mm
Filter : None
ISO 3200 : 10 mm : f3.5 : 30 sec

Buy Print   Milky way @ Stonehenge
MaryHill, Washington, USA
September 10, 2012

Milky Way @ Mt St Helens – Condensed in Time

It was a fun drive up Mt St Helens over the weekend. I was rooting for the sunset and there was some good light. But the highlight of the trip definitely was the milky way – suspended over St Helens. As we watched the stars drift across, the distant light on the horizon, lit up the clouds from beneath. It was ethereal.

I have tried to capture that feeling and moment in time. Nothing in this shot was created in Photoshop, It was all there – the stars, the clouds, the distant light and Mt St Helens. This is a composite of 60 shots each with an exposure of 30 seconds. One of the intermediate shots was processed to highlight the milky way; others were processed to highlight the star trail. I present to you ‘Condensed in Time’ – Approximately 30 minutes from that night, condensed into a single shot for you to enjoy. Hope u like it !

Buy Print   Castle Lake Viewpoint
Mt. St Helens National Volcanic Monument, Washington, USA
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