Blood moon – lunar eclipse. I am a failed Astro photographer. My attempt with a telescope ended in a return package to Amazon. It has rained for more than a week straight. Fog was present the past several days. A miracle occurred and the clouds parted at the appointed hour. I actually had fair detail of the moon in my camera. I was deceived. I thought I saw partial cloud cover as the eclipse covered part of the moon in the lower left quadrant. Then?!?!! My exposures showed the “blood moon!!”
Hey! It ain’t great. But I got an image (s). I shot at ISO 51200, 1/15, f6.3 400mm. Do you care? Do you understand the settings? I was surprised at the image quality myself. I was surprised to have anything on the sensor to review after I pressed the shutter. Cloud cover? Nope?! I did it! I can say that I did. My image was comparable to those in a casual internet search. The best news, this was my image. May 15.
Okay! So, Colleen tried to buy me a telescope for Xmas. She spent big $$$$ and ordered a special camera ready telescope after much research, much angst, and after consulting with Liz, our family astronomer. I have dabbled, miserably, in some astrophotography. With anticipation and then great disappointment (Colleen’s), the telescope never shipped, never arrived. We saved big $$$$. Colleen cried inconsolably. Everyone knows it is impossible to get me a present. I tend to buy whatever I want. So, there is no wont in my house.
Amazon prime came to our house – inadvertently. Amazon prime day had a sale on beginner telescopes. The rest, as they say, is history. The learning curve is high. First and foremost is light pollution. I discovered the technical limitations of attaching a Nikon camera to a Celestron telescope. Focus in the dark was dismal. The earth moves at about 400 meters/sec. I thought diving was challenging? The stars are dots of light – pinholes in black paper.
My point and shoot Canon got better focus of the moon than the spiffy telescope. Risk/benefit, or, bang for your buck?; I chose the camera. The stars are not a subject I will pursue. Amazon gave me a refund. End of story.
Once in a lifetime
Photography of the night sky is an entirely different subject and one I am not likely to master. The skies cleared after a cloudy rainy day and we got to see the confluence of Jupiter and Saturn. Ian and Liz saw the rings of Saturn and the moons of Jupiter. I got two white dots. Actually, my camera got the dots. I could only see one by naked eye. And if I shot long exposure, there was streaking due to movement of the planets – us and them. But hey! I got something. …. Two bright lights in the sky. That was exciting. ??? umm… sort of, kind of, oh! What the heck! It was night photography. Hubble telescope, we ain’t. This event, this close happens about every 2000 years. Nice. I’m glad I was here for this one.
I was in the closet. Don’t ask. We have a window in a closet. Would that make it a room? The window faces northwest in the direction of the Comet Neowise that was in the news. A challenge. I don’t do astrophotography. I still don’t. The weather was cloudy on most nights. Hey! It was the steamy hot part of summer. Nada! Nothing! Nuthin’! I never knew for sure if I was looking in the correct part of the sky. Urban light pollution was abundant. The effort was a miserable failure. Scary? I was in the closet and couldn’t hear Colleen calling. She nearly had a heart attack looking for me. Sorry. I came out of the closet with moon shots. (poor choice of words? Don’t ask.) Discovery?! There is a man in the moon. I have seen him. The ancients were right. That’s my story and I’m stickin’ with it.
White dots, black background
Astrophotography. It requires a whole new skill set. It’s another language to locate stars in the sky. I was never particularly good at locating the North Star. It’s about as easy for me as to see duckies among the clouds above. I’m hopeless. I could never follow trail signs to get that Boy Scout merit badge. If you take me somewhere, I will always get home again. But, certain things are complete confusion for me. I sought that elusive Neowise comet streaking through our skies. It won’t be back for 69 hundred years. How about that? I won’t be here when it returns. Darn! I got a bunch of white dots on a black field. You may laugh. Please! There was a single streak. Aha! The comet?! Nope, probably camera movement. It’s not the tail. Settle instead for another flower picture. It looks like it’s in the daisy family. Alas, I don’t know its name either. But, it’s a better pic than my astro shot.