We just had a beautiful Aurora Australis hit New Zealand a couple of days ago. I was fortunate enough to catch a quiet spot to myself where I could take in the atmosphere and shoot a few images. My favourite from the night was a panorama shot of the Aurora to the south and the galactic core rising to the south east – it was the shot I planned and it seemed to turn out nicely [check out this blogpost if you want to learn how to stitch astro panoramas]. So nicely, it got published in the National newspaper and got me a fair bit of attention on my various social media sites. The frenzy that started with a few keen astronomers and astrophotographers led to a lot of people rushing to similar spots the night after to see if they can watch the aurora. Unfortunately, there were a few disappointed folk who not only couldn’t find a clear view, but also didn’t realise what you see in photos isn’t what you see with the naked eye.
Nature has lots to offer for landscape photographers. We love to shoot nature’s paintings. Storms, rainbows, tornadoes, lightning strikes: they’re all a gift from nature that we can play with as a landscape photographer. Volcanoes are one of them, too, especially when they’re erupting. I have been fascinated by volcanoes; they have been on my list to shoot for quite a while.
My younger brother recently went to Guatemala for some backpacking and learning the Spanish language. When he sent me some photos of an erupting volcano, my photography senses were immediately triggered. The erupting volcano was called ‘Fuego’ (literally “Fire”). I managed to find webcams and activity on scopes and checked how active Fuego was. According to the history, the volcano has remained quite active, but you had to be lucky to see a lot of eruptions. Still, the idea of meeting up with my brother and shooting a volcano seemed like a good enough reason to go.
ISO is one of the three major exposure settings in the exposure triangle of a digital camera. Of the three: shutter time, f/number, and ISO, it is ISO that is probably most misunderstood. Even more so than f/number. In fact, it is a common misconception that higher ISO settings will cause images to be noisier. In fact, the opposite is often true. Wait, what?
That’s right, higher ISO settings alone do not increase image noise and higher ISOs can even be beneficial to low-light photography. In this post, I talk about the craziness surrounding ISO settings, how ISO actually affects exposure and how to find the optimal ISO setting on your camera for astrophotography.
When it comes to taking photos of stars, the best camera/lens combos are the ones that capture the most light.
Some photographers like to use the earth’s rotation to create star trails, but many other photographers like their stars to appears as points of light. For enthusiasts who haven’t invested in tracking hardware (systems that counteract the rotation of the earth) or want to keep terrestrial elements sharp, the “500 Rule” provides basic guidance about the exposure duration. The wider the lens, the longer the usable exposure.
A little while ago, we showed you a video from photographer Sriram Murali. In it, we saw how different levels of light pollution affected your view of the Milky Way. He went to various areas where the sky ranked between 1 (the darkest skies you can get) and 9 (inner city sky). The problem was, not many people have ever really seen the milky way. Even in a super dark sky, it’s very difficult to make out with the naked eye.
So, Sriram has put together another video, focusing on a more familiar sight. Something easily visible to our eyes. The constellation of Orion. His purpose for creating the followup was to help further raise awareness on light pollution. There’s very little of our planet that doesn’t suffer from it now, which makes seeing the night sky extremely difficult. And while the Milky Way is more impressive to a camera, it’s not a scene that many can personally relate to.
A month ago I had never seen a lunar fog bow, now I have seen three. I got to see my first lunar fog bow on December 17 last year. Last night I got to see two more of these elusive phenomena. We had lots of fog around the city of Östersund and since it was the night of the full moon, I drove around chasing locations where I could see these beautiful bows.
I got two relatively good ones on photo two hours apart. I’ve included the time and height of the Moon when the photos was taken.
I guess this can be described as the universe’s biggest selfie…
Over 4 years the Pan-STARRS1 (The Panoramic Survey Telescope and Rapid Response System) have been taking photos of the skies from its location on a desolated, dormant volcano in Maui, Hawaii. Those four years (and half a million exposures) of data collection resulted in a huge single image (and database) which is over two million gigabyte big.
In fact the image is so big, that if printed at full res, it would be 2.4 miles wide, and show about three billion stars. How’s that for a selfie?!
I really, really hate guns. If someone invited me out for some shooting, I would think he wants me to go taking photos with him. And this is exactly what happened to astrophotographer Marc Leatham. Some friends invited him to a bonfire shoot at Four Peaks Wilderness in Arizona. It was only when they got there that he realized they didn’t bring cameras – they brought guns instead.
Light pollution is one of the main problems of every astrophotographer, no doubt about that. If you want to get rid of its orange-yellowish tint, you need either post-processing or a filter. We have recently presented you with PureNight Premium, a filter you can attach to your camera and reduce the effects of light pollution. It’s mounted onto your lens by using a standard square filter holder.
But Cyclops Optics, a Hong Kong-based company has another solution. They produce filters that can be clipped on – but onto your camera’s sensor.
Throughout the years I’ve seen lots of different phenomena in the sky but one that have been on my bucket list for quite some time is the very rare lunar fog bow. I’ve seen photos of it but I’ve never seen it in real life, until now. This Saturday turned out to be my lucky night. I hadn’t planed to go out at all but after having a look to the north a saw some faint Northern Lights so I decided to head out to see if the activity would increase.