Archive for the ‘astrophotography’ Category


Never fall for the hype. I was caught up in the excitement of the annual Perseids meteor shower and went to my favorite dark rural locale for stargazing and astrophotography, the William G. White and Erma Parke White Memorial Wildlife Area, thinking that there would be a few late-night astro-buffs to keep me company. Not. To add to my disappointment, in the solitary four hours I was there (yes, FOUR hours) I only saw about a dozen meteors. I think I have four frames with a meteor visible. I finally got bored. Tired and vaguely smelling of smoke (on leaving I saw that one of the 75 residents of the nearby town of Whiteside was burning trash at 3am), I started packing up. As an afterthought, I decided to try some light-painting play — traipsing around with a red-covered LED headlamp. A twenty-second exposure with the tripod-mounted Nikon D600 with 16-35mm Nikkor zoom captured sky and self(ie).


Starlight, starbright

Posted: September 14, 2014 in astrophotography, Cameras, Photography
Tags: ,

Paul is roaming the wilds of Nevada and I just had to post a little Missouri starlight to one-up him. Pic is a little over processed– Nikon D610 w/16-35 zoom, 30 second exposure. Captured at White Wildlife Area about 15 miles North of Troy.

Starry night
Wanna make pictures of the stars? Don’t want to see trails. Follow this simple formula for the longest streak-free times: 600 divide by the lens focal length.  i.e.  600/50mm lens =  12 second exposure or 600/20mm lens=30 second exposure.  Next is ISO.  Set it high and let it fly.  Seriously, new cameras have incredible light sensing capabilities and you can max out the ISO and be pretty assured of OK results. Some photographers recommend turning off “noise reduction” and taking care of corrections post-process. Sboot raw if you have the option, you will get more to work with afterward. There are many websites and online videos with advice on astrophotography. Not so many good monographs — check with your local librarian for suggestions. If you want to make a really long exposure with the stars in a circle — point the camera at the North Star and leave the shutter open for hours…

There are many apps for figuring out celestial comings and goings. One of the most simple to use is LunaSolCal which provides Sunrise, Moonrise, Sunset, Moonset, Moon Phase, length of day, alarms, etc.  Efficient and inexpensive.