Friday (24-August-2018) — New Jersey

Backyard Summer Nighttime Sky Over New Jersey.

The second clear night in a row, at least until early morning when some clouds came in and the lens was covered with condensation again. This time I increased the focal length to 10 mm on the 8-15 mm fisheye lens. Both star trails and a time-lapse video of the nighttime sky.


Star trails over New Jersey. Composite of images taken with a Nikon D850 camera and 8-15 mm fisheye lens (ISO 100, 10 mm, f/4, 30 sec). Raw images processed with Capture One Pro, and the composite generated using Photoshop CC (statistics, maximum). Individual images from the slide show can be viewed here.

Thursday (23-August-2018) — New Jersey

Backyard Summer Nighttime Sky Over New Jersey.

For the first time since I returned from Germany, the sky was predicted to be clear overnight.  I have been wanting to try the 8-15 mm fisheye lens (that I borrowed from my brother) for doing some star trail images, and night sky time-lapse videos. I did have an issue with condensation on the very wide lens in the early morning hours. I have had the condensation problem on other wide lenses (14 mm, 14-24 mm) in the past, and may need to fashion a small tape heater on the lens.


Star trails over New Jersey. Composite of images taken with a Nikon D850 camera and 8-15 mm fisheye lens (ISO 100, 8 mm, f/4, 30 sec). Raw images processed with Capture One Pro, and the composite generated using Photoshop CC (statistics, maximum). Individual images from the slide show can be viewed here.

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.