While hand washing the dishes, I noticed a large number of bubbles in one pot. As I moved the colors kept changing. I assumed it was due to diffraction of a mono-molecular layer of soap. but wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to take an image that would capture the beauty of the colors, and the symmetry of the bubble packing. After a lot of trial and error, I was able to obtain some interesting images.
Backyard Autumn Night Sky in New Jersey — Star Trails
View looking south from my backyard. Night sky star and jet trails. Composite of 173 images taken with a Nikon D810a camera and 24 mm f/3.5 PC-E lens (ISO 200, 24 mm, f/8, 120 sec). Images processed with Capture One Pro (including conversion to B&W), then the composite generated using Photoshop CC (statistics, maximum). If you look closely, there is at least one meteor trail.
Star and jet trails looking south from my backyard. Composite of 40 images taken with a Nikon D810a camera and 24 mm f/3.5 PC-E lens (ISO 800, 24 mm, f/4, 120 sec) and processed using Capture One Pro and Photoshop CC (statistics, maximum).
I got up really early this morning to set a camera up to try and catch a NASA launch from the Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. The sounding rocket was supposed to release some chemicals to form artificial clouds that would glow blue, green, and red. Unfortunately, the launch was scrubbed due to high altitude clouds. Mission Update Five-years ago I caught a previous launch from the Wallops Flight Facility. I did get enough images for a composite star-trails image. Later in the morning I took my lonely Leica T camera out to check out the new wildflowers in my backyard.
I know that I said that I was going to go out to get more images of Clearwing Hummingbird moths, but the sky was finally clear last night and I had an opportunity to view the Perseid Meteor Shower. I set up two cameras on the back deck — a D4 with a 16 mm f/2.8 fisheye and a D800 with a 14-24 mm f/2.8 lens. Each was set to take 30 sec images (ISO 400, f/2.8). With the D800 and 14-24 lens I took the time to take a set of images to find out where I got the best focus for stars at infinity. For the 16 mm fisheye lens I just used infinity on the lens. This was a mistake. The images I got with the 14-24 lens where I spent the time to test the focus were a lot better, especially with the 32 MB sensor on the D800.
The first image below is a single exposure with a meteor trail using the D800 & 14-24 mm lens. I really don’t understand the physics of other images on the internet of the Perseid Meteor Shower that show long exposures of the night sky (1-6 hours) that show multiple meteor trails where both the stars and the ground/landscape don’t move.
I have included several ~1 hour star trail images that are composites of the 30 second images (using the Startrails.exe program). The sky in New Jersey is not that dark, and the glow in the bottom of the image is the light from Princeton and Trenton. If you look close, several do show 1 or more meteor trails that were visible in New Jersey.
I used a 16 mm Fisheye lens to take aquire some winter night sky images. The images were combined using the startrails program to get the startrail images. The first image is a composite of 15 60 second images relatively early in the evening. The next three are composites of 16, 35, and 14 300 second (5 minute) images.
With the continuing clear skies, I set up two cameras to record star trails early this morning. I started at 3:00 AM after the moon set. I was still worried about condensation on the lens. I pointed a Nikon D3 with a 16 mm f/2.8 fish-eye lens north, and a Nikon D3x with a 14-24 mm f/2.8 lens at 14 mm pointed south. I used some gaffer tape to prevent the focal length lens crepe on the 14-24 mm lens that ruined a previous star trails session. The Nikon D3 stopped recording after 2 hours. After the fact, I realized that I used a EN-EL4 rather than the higher capacity EN-EL4A battery. The D3x with a EN-EL4A battery ran until I went out to get the cameras at sunrise. Unfortunately, condensation on the lens started distorting images after about 5 AM. Both the North and South facing Star Trails ended up about 60 images (2 hours). The really bright trail in both the Norht and South image is Jupiter.
Following Hurricane Irene, we had a couple of days and nights with very clear skies. You could even see the Milky Way (although a lot dimmer than in locations with less light pollution). I set up a Nikon D3s camera with a 16 mm f/2.8 fisheye lens to do startrails last night. The settings on the camera were manual (ISO 400, 16 mm, f/4, bulb). The exposure time was controlled with a MC-36 (delay 5 sec, long 59 sec, interval 1 sec, N —). In camera long exposure noise reduction was turned off. The 1 second interval is required to allow the data to get transferred from the camera to the card, and effectively have one image taken every 60 seconds (1 minute). The MC-36 is required for exposures longer than 30 seconds. After the images were transferred to the computer, the RAW images were processed with Lightroom, and converted to JPG. The JPG images were then processed using Startrails.exe program to make composites. The following images show a single exposure, then startrail composites of 2 minutes, 5 minutes, 15 minutes, 30 minutes, 60 minutes, 120 minutes, and 300 minutes. Some high level clouds came in for the 300 minute (5 hour) image.
Since it looked like the sky was going to be clear last night, I left a camera out on the deck to get some startrail images. The first one was before midnight, and the second one after midnight. I did this set with a fisheye lens to get as much of the sky as possible. There is a tree in the front of the house that is blocking the northern star. I also used the images to create a time-lapsed video of the night sky.