Category Archives: astrophotography

Top Photos from 2014

Is it too late for a “2014 Best of” post?  Hopefully this one is only arriving “casually late”.  Smile

That said, regardless of your photography experience, I think it’s a good practice to go through your photos periodically and choose a few that you consider to be among the best.  The transition from December to January provides, if nothing else, a convenient marker.

So, in no particular order, here are a few from my 2014 archive.

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10 for 2014-1

This is arguably my best Milky Way image.  More details here.

10 for 2014-2

From a quick trip up to Mt St Helens – here’s an image of the edge of the crater that I’d posted over on the Facebook page.

10 for 2014-3

And there I was standing on the Morrison Bridge (trying to get an image for the Bite of Oregon) when the bridge went up.  I also posted a number of images from that gig over on the Camera 47 Facebook page.

10 for 2014-4

From the Harrisburg Harvest Festival and Tractor Pull.  More images from that afternoon can be found here.

10 for 2014-5

Who would have thought that fisheye lenses and historic bombers were a great combination?  More images of this B-17 can be found here.

10 for 2014-6

2014 was the year that I learned about the IR72 filter + X100s.  More details can be found here.

10 for 2014-7

Happened to be in San Francisco for business and brought the X100s along.  This is a panorama cobbled together from a series of handheld images.

10 for 2014-8

Could I really have an annual list of photos and not have a rodeo image?

10 for 2014-9

Or two?  More images from this year’s Philomath Frolic and Rodeo can be found here and here.  If you’re looking for more rodeo – check out the Exposure story.

10 for 2014-10

Or some hot air balloon photos?

10 for 2014-11

Just playing.  This photo can also be found over on my Exposure.co site.

10 for 2014-14

Had a chance to shoot some Polar Plunges for Oregon Special Olympics. The Portland event had a group of Super Plungers that ran once an hour for 24 hours into the very chilly Columbia River.  I posted a number of photos from my time with the Super Plungers over on the Camera 47 Facebook page.

10 for 2014-15

Just a bit of flooding here in Corvallis.

10 for 2014-16

More Viking! At the Bend Polar Plunge.  More images from my trip to Bend can be found here.

10 for 2014-17

The debut of Saddle Shop over the summer.  You can see more from this gig over at Exposure.co.

top 10-21

Was looking for a vintage-feeling portrait for this one that connected the student, his school, and sport.

top 10-22

At the county fair for a dance performance and happened to have the X100s + IR72 filter with me.  Really dug the architecture + sun + colors on this one.  I thought the combination provided an unexpected industrial feel.

dog in shadow-1

Our dog was waiting for a bit of beef jerky in some pretty strong light with shadow.

Christmas morning-1

Christmas morning sunrise over Fish Lake just outside Leavenworth, WA.  Not sure what created all of the sparkles speckles.  I’m guessing it was a really dirty filter.  Then, again, it was Christmas morning.

Wide Field Astrophotography

Bottom line – I think astrophotography is cool.  I dig images from the astronomer / photographer folks that have the big telescopes and filters and take the time to stack a bunch of long exposure frames of deep sky objects (e.g. here).

Me?  I’m just a photographer.  When I look at the sky, it’s less about constellations and more about images.  And in my light and fast style of shooting – wide field images fit the bill.

The definition of wide field astrophotography is broad – but I simplify it to mostly common camera + lens systems.  It may incorporate tracking (motorized) mounts – but it’s not necessary.  I happen to favor wider lenses that allow me to add foreground.  Stabilization (e.g. tripod, rock, crumpled hat)  is essential and a remote shutter release will help with long exposures (e.g. star trails).

mt thielsen -1 This image of the Milky Way above Mt Thielsen was taken from our camp last summer (which I wrote about here and here).  And, in a rare instance of full disclosure (maybe too much information), here’s mostly how and where the image was recorded:

  • Image Date: 22 August 2008
  • Time: 10:22PM Pacific Daylight Savings Time
  • Observing Location: from Thielsen Creek facing south towards Mt Thielsen (Oregon, USA)
  • UTM: 576201E, 4779028N
  • Sky Conditions: clear
  • Camera: 20D
  • Lens: Canon 24mm f/2.8
  • Aperture: f/2.8
  • Exposure Time: 30 seconds
  • ISO Equivalent: 3200
  • Other: Joby Gorillapod SLR (folded kinda funky to get camera in “portrait” position), in-camera noise reduction, additional noise suppression with Noise Ninja, minor exposure adjustments with Adobe LR2.
  • Comments: bright spot Jupiter?

Also, note that 30 seconds was long enough to see some star streaks.  I would have liked for a shorter exposure – but the lens was only f/2.8 and I had already tapped the ISO equivalent on the 20D to 3200.

There are a lot of resources to help with astrophotography on the web – along with folks with much more sophisticated techniques for wide field astrophotography.  Some places to start include Sky and Telescope Magazine’s astrophotography page and Wikipedia.