Astrophotography – Landscape

Observing and… ‘Observatories’…

Firstly, two moon shots (on successive), mornings no less…

Wed 9th May @ 4.46am, looking out of the bedroom window.

Nikon D3 and Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 VRII

ISO200, 1/30sec, f/4. Processed in Adobe Lightroom CC and Photoshop CC 2017

…and again on Thu 10th May 4.55am, looking out of the bedroom window – caught a very lucky break in almost solid clouds!

Nikon D3 and Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 VRII

ISO200, 1/50sec, f/4. Processed in Adobe Lightroom CC and Photoshop CC 2017

Photographing future auction ‘lots’ at work, I came across these Lilliput Lane ornaments…

This is a replica of The Great Equatorial, part of Flamsteed House. Originally commissioned in 1857 by the then Astronomer Royal, Sir George Biddell, it forms part of The Old Royal Observatory at Greenwich.

The Observatory dates from 1675 when it was commissioned by King Charles 2nd.

And… The Old Royal Observatory, Greenwich, London. Released to celebrate the Millennium.

So another of my ‘something a bit different’ threads!

Happy Observing!

Damian

Moon and Venus… The ‘Evening Star’…

Took this picture of the Moon and Venus (the Evening Star) on the 19th April, around 8.47pm.

Nikon D3 and Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8 looking out of my office window.

ISO200, 70mm, f/3.2 @ 1/125 sec.

The star between the two (enlarge the pic!), is Aldebaran in  The Hyades (Taurus). You can just make out a small amount of ‘Earthshine’ on the moon as well.

And photographing ‘lots’ at work… I came across this Hornby locomotive in a set of three…

Steam locomotive and tender, British Railways, 9F class 2-10-0 No 92220 “Evening Star”, designed by R.A.Riddles, built at Swindon in 1960, withdrawn in 1965.

Historically significant as the 999th British Rail (BR) Standard, and indeed the last steam locomotive to be built by BR, Evening Star was scheduled for preservation from the moment she was built in 1960.

Evening Star was the only locomotive to be named in the ‘BR’ days and the only 9F to be painted in BR’s express passenger service livery of lined green. The name Evening Star was chosen following a competition held by the BR Western Region Staff Magazine. There were three winners, who all suggested Evening Star – a fitting name given that one of the first locomotives to run on the Great Western Railway was named Morning Star.

Evening Star had an extremely short life span for a steam locomotive and was unexpectedly withdrawn from service in 1965. The locomotive was claimed for the National Collection in 1975.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BR_Standard_Class_9F_92220_Evening_Star

 

Damian

Various Astro, Space and Sci-Fi related pieces of interest… oh, and Neil Armstrong!

Not posted recently, so here are a selection of pics I’ve been collecting that I thought would make an interesting contribution…

So to start, an update on my Lego Saturn V Christmas present. Andy has been helping ad-hoc as well!

Completing the second stage…

Very cleverly designed…

Once finished it should stand a metre tall! There is a ‘link’ back to the Saturn V / moon, later on…

Next, a picture of our magnolia in full bloom… “Stellata” (meaning star), taken at 6.55pm on Wednesday 18th April…

Later on, a beautiful crescent moon and the ‘Evening Star’, Venus – Julie and I were out for an evening walk. Taken on an iPhone 6 at 8.38pm.

Then another, a tad later at two minutes past 9… nearly home…

Next is a picture of the moon taken through a 13mm Ethos eyepiece attached to my TEC140-ED APO refractor – just hand held with the iPhone held up to the eyepiece. This was from Friday 20th April, whilst waiting for Andy to turn up (his observing report can be found somewhere on here!)

Oh, and a picture of me setting up the gear (didn’t know Jules was hanging out of the bedroom window taking this…), I think I’m in the throws of setting up a WiFi connection from the Nexus device (that reads the mount’s encoders) to the iPad Air 2 (that runs Sky Safari Pro 5).

Here is a process of a friend’s Solargraph we made for them ready for the summer 2017 Solstice – it stayed in place ’til the winter Solstice and they passed it back for processing in early April…

Raw scan (that Andy kindly did for me).

And the processed version! We’re not sure what the bright squiggly line is!

Next we jump to the RAG meeting from Friday 27th April – featuring guest speaker Paul Money (part 2 talk about the Voyager probes and their journey to the gas giants and beyond)… captured in ‘full flow’!

Next a picture from another evening walk, a lovely sunset with the three spires of Lichfield Cathedral and St. Mary’s Church (in the town centre)… Monday 30th April at 8.18pm.

Julie is a French and German teacher… she told me on this walk that tonight was “Walpurgis Nacht”, the night when animals can talk, see the link below:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walpurgis_Night

On the 1st May, in the old calendar, it was also the start of summer… you wouldn’t know it though with the weather this last week… we’ve even had to put the central heating back on in the evenings!

…and another from Wednesday at 9.02pm… the Cathedral from Stowe Pool.

…and later still, at 9.30, Venus shining brightly…

Now some of you may be aware that my post was made redundant at MandM back in February. Well I’m now back in full time work as the photographer at Richard Winterton Auctioneers (Richard is on telly quite a bit if the name rings a bell), based in Fradley. So far I’ve photographed medals, coins, furniture, art, ‘military’, toys, silverware and jewellery.

But we’ve also had some other interesting ‘lots’ come in which are being prepared for future sales…

How about this…

A full sized Dalek and yes you can sit inside and move him along!!! He needs a bit of TLC. This is a little Photoshop work I’ve done on him for our social media feeds (the Andromeda Galaxy background is my own from some years ago!)

We also have going under the hammer this retro playsuit based on the original ‘TV Serial’.. I wonder if some of our older members remember wanting or even having this ! 😀

Lastly, on a far more serious note… take a look at this letter which came in to be valued and put up for sale!

Note the early NASA logo, date (only a few days since getting back from the moon) and of course the signature!

Hope you enjoyed this rather varied blog entry!

Damian

 

 

 

 

Daytime Moon over Lichfield

‎Damian and his wife Julie and I walked the route of the Erasmus Darwin walk today. The sun was shining and it was clear and we saw this beautiful day-time moon shown in photos below.

We also came across these paintings – query interpretations of famous Apollo moon landing photos in the local art galary.

The Erasmus Darwin walk is over 10 miles in length. It was one small step for Andy and one giant step for Dame – Andy’s step-counter watch recorded that he walked 27610 steps whereas Dame’s phone recorded 22200 steps – I have tiny legs!

Andy

Supermoon from Lichfield 3/1/2018 @ 08:10am

I managed to take this shot of the Supermoon over my neighbour’s house in Lichfield this morning (although I’ve missed the peak by 24-48 hours it is still pretty close). It is taken using a hand-held Samsung S7 phone, with brightness reduced to allow detail on the lunar disc to appear, no other manipulation of the image.

The aerial is holding it up for the photo (not really)!

Now we need to get ready for the total lunar eclipse in July this year….

Andy

The Joys of RAW…

Never got time this year to build my RAG Aurora talk… it’s nearly a year since we were preparing to head to Alta, Norway….

But work is nearly finished and so I decided to have another play.

This is the jpeg off the camera – way too dark and the aurora far too green – this was a very fast moving teal green, multi-band wave that stretched across the sky. It was far more vibrant and illuminated the scenery…. which is much bigger than it looks here – width wise, this combination captures 114 degrees (84 high, so with the camera angled, the top of the pic is around the Zenith) !

22nd Dec around 6.30pm – I only managed another 10 shots of this outbreak before the battery finally died (that was after eeking out some last shots by warming it up under my armpit!) Thankfully I’d captured the majority of this performance and it was fading out. It was then back to the lodge for dinner, a fast battery re-charge and then headed back out for our final evening….

Tripod mounted, (old) full frame D3 (only 12Mp) and the Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8 lens. Cable release and using mirror lock-up to reduce internal shaking.

800 ISO, 14mm,  f2/8 at only 6 seconds – shows how bright and fast it was moving when you consider what the camera recorded (and the blurring of the bands….) Keeping to 800 ISO keeps dynamic range at the expense of shutter speed. I could have pushed to around 1200-1600 ISO as the cold would have kept the noise down, but that’s how it goes…

6th Dec 2017: NEF RAW file processed in Adobe LightRoom Classic CC (2018) and finished in PS CC 2018. I’ve cropped it down to a more pleasing composition and tried to depict what we saw (although this is more saturated).

The moral of the story is… always shoot RAW!

 

For orientation – the diamond of ‘Delphinus’ can be seen to the lower left just past the tree. Coming out of the top of the same tree is the (Summer) Milky Way, that bright white star just clearing the branches being Deneb in the tail of Cygnus. The bright orange star in the upper left of the photograph is Scheat – if you examine your star atlas, you’ll find it as the top right star in the ‘Square of Pegasus’ !

Plus a short movie, made from 13 files (pre Photoshop) put together in iMovie (the shot above was the third in the sequence)…

Damian