Wednesday (18-July-2018) — New Jersey

Backyard Nighttime Summer Sky Over New Jersey.

Another clear night and I set up three cameras. Two to record firefly trails, and the other to record the nighttime sky for star trails. I still need to do some testing, but it seems that the Nikon sensors do a better job with low light images (less sensor noise). And among the Nikon sensors, the D810a camera does better with exposures over 30 seconds. In addition to the star trails, I also did a time-lapse video of the night sky.

Firefly trails. Composite of 178 images taken with a Nikon D810a camera and 200 mm f/2 lens (ISO 1600, 200 mm, f/11, 120 sec). Raw images processed with Capture One Pro and composite generated using Photoshop CC (statistics, maximum). (DAVID J MATHRE)
Firefly trails. Composite of 178 images taken with a Nikon D810a camera and 200 mm f/2 lens (ISO 1600, 200 mm, f/11, 120 sec). Raw images processed with Capture One Pro and composite generated using Photoshop CC (statistics, maximum). (DAVID J MATHRE)


Star Trails looking up and a little south. Composite of 697 of images taken with a Nikon D850 camera and 19 mm f/4 PC-E lens (ISO 200, 19 mm, f/4, 30 sec). Raw images processed with Capture One Pro and the composite generated using Photoshop CC (statistics, maximum). (DAVID J MATHRE)
Star Trails looking up and a little south. Composite of 697 of images taken with a Nikon D850 camera and 19 mm f/4 PC-E lens (ISO 200, 19 mm, f/4, 30 sec). Raw images processed with Capture One Pro and the composite generated using Photoshop CC (statistics, maximum). (DAVID J MATHRE)

Tuesday (10-July-2018) — New Jersey

Backyard Nighttime Sky Over New Jersey.

For the second night in a row the sky was clear so again I set up two cameras. This time using lessons learned from yesterday. One for firefly trails (Nikon D810a camera and 200 mm f/2 lens), and one for star trails looking north (Nikon D850 camera and 19 mm f/4 PC-E lens). This time the focus point for the firefly trails was moved back, and the orientation changed to portrait. I like this better than last night. For the star trails image I rotated the camera to north to get the circle around the north star. The star trail images really needs to be viewed on a large high-resolution monitor. I also made a time-lapse video (five hours compressed to 20 seconds) of the night sky. This is best viewed on a high-resolution monitor in a dark room. The Big Dipper pointing to the north star was one of the first things I learned about the night sky. One note post processing is with these high-resolution cameras it took me all day to do the processing, even with my fastest computer with a video processor (Microsoft Surface Book II Pro).

Firefly Trails. Composite of images taken with a Nikon D810a camera and 200 mm f/2 lens (ISO 1600, 200 mm, f/11, 120 sec). Raw images processed with Capture One Pro and the composite generated using Photoshop CC (statistics, maximum). (DAVID J MATHRE)
Firefly Trails. Composite of images taken with a Nikon D810a camera and 200 mm f/2 lens (ISO 1600, 200 mm, f/11, 120 sec). Raw images processed with Capture One Pro and the composite generated using Photoshop CC (statistics, maximum). (DAVID J MATHRE)
Startrail Looking North. Composite of images (22:20-03:19) taken with a Nikon D850 camera and 19 mm f/4 PC-E lens (ISO 200, 19 mm, f/4, 30 sec). Raw images processed with Capture One Pro and the composite created using Photoshop CC (scripts, statistics, maximum). (DAVID J MATHRE)
Star Trarils Looking North. Composite of images (22:20-03:19) taken with a Nikon D850 camera and 19 mm f/4 PC-E lens (ISO 200, 19 mm, f/4, 30 sec). Raw images processed with Capture One Pro and the composite created using Photoshop CC (scripts, statistics, maximum). (DAVID J MATHRE)


Individual images from the slide show can be viewed here.

Monday (09-July-2018) — New Jersey

Backyard Nighttime Sky Over New Jersey.

The sky was clear so I set up two cameras. One for firefly trails (Nikon D810a and 200 mm f/2 lens), and one for star trails looking south (Nikon D850 and 19 mm f/4 PC-E lens). The focus point for the firefly image should have been further back. This is my first star trails image with the high-resolution Nikon D850 camera (8256 x 5505 pixel — 45 MP sensor). The image really needs to be viewed on a large high-resolution monitor. I focused the camera using live view using a magnified bright star. I need to figure out how to do the same thing with the firefly images. I also made a time-lapse video (five hours compressed to 20 seconds) of the night sky. This is best viewed on a high-resolution monitor in a dark room. The brightest object that shows up in the early morning is Mars.

Firefly Ttrails (21:50-03:59). Composite of images taken with a Nikon D810a camera and 200 mm f/2 lens (ISO 400, 200 mm, f/5.6, 120 sec). Raw images processed with Capture One Pro and the composite generated with Photoshop CC (statistics, maximum). (DAVID J MATHRE)
Firefly Ttrails (21:50-03:59). Composite of images taken with a Nikon D810a camera and 200 mm f/2 lens (ISO 400, 200 mm, f/5.6, 120 sec). Raw images processed with Capture One Pro and the composite generated with Photoshop CC (statistics, maximum). (DAVID J MATHRE)
Star Trails Looking South (23:00-03:59). Composite of image taken with a Nikon D850 camera and 19 mm f/4 PC-E lens (ISO 200, 19 mm, f/4, 30 sec). Raw images processed with Capture One Pro and the composite generated with Photoshop CC (statistics, maximum). (DAVID J MATHRE)
Star Trails Looking South (23:00-03:59). Composite of image taken with a Nikon D850 camera and 19 mm f/4 PC-E lens (ISO 200, 19 mm, f/4, 30 sec). Raw images processed with Capture One Pro and the composite generated with Photoshop CC (statistics, maximum). (DAVID J MATHRE)


Individual images from the slide show can be viewed here.

Five-Years Ago (10-June-2013) — Baltic Sea

Gone to See Europe. Semester at Sea Spring 2013 Enrichment Voyage on the MV Explorer. Day 45: At Sea between Stockholm and Copenhagen.

Late night or early in the morning (hard to tell this far north when there isn’t much darkness at night) I looked out my cabin window on the MV Explorer and saw the electric blue Noctilucent clouds. I read about them before (http://www.spaceweather.com/), but had never seen them.  The clouds are ice crystals that are very high that you can only see for a short time when the sun is below the horizon. One theory is the crystals are nucleated when micro-meteors pass through the upper atmosphere. We were in the Baltic Sea traveling from Stockholm to Copenhagen and the sun doesn’t set until very late I set up a camera in my cabin and started taking pictures.(Nikon D4 camera, 28 mm f/1.8 lens (ISO 200 or 800, 28 mm, f/1.8, 1 sec)). The composite images were generated using Photoshop CC (statistics, maximum) the way I do generate star trails. I was impressed that you can see the star trails looking north, even though this is a composite of images taken on a moving ship at sea. The seas were pretty calm that night (early morning).

Noctilucent Clouds Over the Baltic Sea. From my cabin on the MV Explorer while traveling from Stockholm to Copenhagen. Composite of 99 images taken with a Nikon D4 camera and 28 mm f/1.8 lens (ISO 200, 28 mm, f/1.8, 1 sec). Raw image processed with Capture One Pro, and Photoshop CC (statistics, maximum). (David J Mathre)
Noctilucent Clouds Over the Baltic Sea. From my cabin on the MV Explorer while traveling from Stockholm to Copenhagen. Composite of 99 images taken with a Nikon D4 camera and 28 mm f/1.8 lens (ISO 200, 28 mm, f/1.8, 1 sec). Raw image processed with Capture One Pro, and Photoshop CC (statistics, maximum). (David J Mathre)


Noctilucent Clouds Over the Baltic Sea. From my cabin on the MV Explorer while traveling from Stockholm to Copenhagen. Composite of 33 images taken with a Nikon D4 camera and 28 mm f/1.8 lens (ISO 800, 28 mm, f/1.8, 1 sec). Raw image processed with Capture One Pro, and Photoshop CC (statistics, maximum). (David J Mathre)
Noctilucent Clouds Over the Baltic Sea. From my cabin on the MV Explorer while traveling from Stockholm to Copenhagen. Composite of 33 images taken with a Nikon D4 camera and 28 mm f/1.8 lens (ISO 800, 28 mm, f/1.8, 1 sec). Raw image processed with Capture One Pro, and Photoshop CC (statistics, maximum). (David J Mathre)


Noctilucent Clouds Over the Baltic Sea. From my cabin on the MV Explorer while traveling from Stockholm to Copenhagen. Composite of 27 images taken with a Nikon D4 camera and 28 mm f/1.8 lens (ISO 800, 28 mm, f/1.8, 1 sec). Raw image processed with Capture One Pro, and Photoshop CC (statistics, maximum). (David J Mathre)
Noctilucent Clouds Over the Baltic Sea. From my cabin on the MV Explorer while traveling from Stockholm to Copenhagen. Composite of 27 images taken with a Nikon D4 camera and 28 mm f/1.8 lens (ISO 800, 28 mm, f/1.8, 1 sec). Raw image processed with Capture One Pro, and Photoshop CC (statistics, maximum). (David J Mathre)


Five-Years Ago (09-June-2018) — Baltic Sea

Gone to See Europe. Semester at Sea Spring 2013 Enrichment Voyage on the MV Explorer. Day 44: At Sea.

Silhouette of a sailboat transiting the solar disk at sunset from the deck of the MV Explorer. Crossing the Baltic Sea from Stockholm to Copenhagen.


Individual images from the slideshow can be viewed here.