Whatever Weds.- O’Dark Thirty

Copyright © 2020 Deborah M. Zajac.  ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Did you hear about the new Comet that was discovered in March of this year? It’s called C/2020 F3 “Neowise”.  Some…okay a lot of astronomers thought it would be burned up when it made its close encounter to the Sun, but a few thought it would make it past that, and we who were paying attention held our breath and waited and watched…

It made it past the sun! Two Comets I was watching this year didn’t make it past their close encounter with the Sun so this is huge!

On July 10th I rose at an UnGodly hour 4:00 A.M. brushed my teeth put on some pants and shoes and grabbed my gear then headed out not too far from home on foot to see if I could see this new Comet C/2020 F3 “Neowise”.  I did not see it.  I knew where to look so made 13 images around the area hoping my camera could see what I could not.  IT DID NOT.  I was too late. The Sun’s light was already hiding the Comet. I needed to get up earlier.

July 11th. I rose at 3:15am put some pants on, brushed my teeth, put on my shoes, and grabbed my gear bag and headed out the door on foot to my spot.  My compass for the morning was Venus with Alderan under it and Capella off to the north of Venus. They would guide me to Comet C/2020 F3 ” Neowise”.  I also took my binoculars just in case I couldn’t spot with my eyes.  I located Capella with my binocs and began scanning the area below it where I knew the comet would be.  THERE IT WAS! I did a little happy dance I won’t lie!  There’s just something about the stars, planets, and comets that excites me.

I set up my camera and dialed in my exposer and hoped I was in focus. Focusing in the dark isn’t always easy.

Here’s my best frame from the morning.

Comet Neowise C/2020 F3 7.11.2020

As I was shooting there was a pack of Coyotes singing their song just up the trail and behind me just far enough away to keep me looking to my right. Greeting the morning or healding their catch of the night I don’t know, but they stirred up all the coyotes in the valley and kept me watching my right.

When I walked up the path toward the fence I needed to hop to get home I kept looking over my shoulder making sure the Coyotes weren’t following me!  They’re sneaky those coyotes. In my head, I had this song. It’s my favorite Coyote song evah. And they go…

Who yip , who yip, who…

 

Nikon D810| Nikkor 180mm F/2.8| CS PP 21.2

 

more to come…

 

 

 

 

The Sun and Sunspot AR2665

Copyright ©2017 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

I read at Spaceweather.com over the week-end that the latest sunspot AR2665 was HUGE, and the biggest sunspot of 2017 so, not having photographed the Sun for sometime I thought it would be interesting to make an image of this Sunspot on the Sun.  I dug out my solar filter then Monday morning set up my camera in the backyard and waited for the morning sun to climb above the mountain tops.   I cropped this image in 25% so we can see the spot a bit better.

Sun July 10, 2017 with Sunspot AR2665

“Sunspot AR2665 has grown into a behemoth almost as wide as the planet Jupiter: Stretching more than 125,000 km from end to end and containing dozens of dark cores, the active region is an now easy target for backyard solar telescopes. Sunspot AR2665 has a ‘beta-gamma’ magnetic field that harbors energy for M-class solar flares.. “~http://spaceweather.com/

I’ll add you can see it with a Telephoto lens, and Solar filter.  Caveat: Don’t ever attempt to photograph the sun without a Solar Filter. You can permanently damage your eyes, and your camera’s sensor.

M-Class Solar Flares are Medium sized flares. They can cause brief radio blackouts that affect Earth’s polar regions.

I use an Orion 4.10″ ID Full Aperture Solar Filter. It fits snugly over my lens allowing me to look directly at the sun and photograph it by blocking  99.999% of incoming sunlight for safe observation and astrophotography.  I’ve had this filter for several years and it’s worked perfectly, and is easy to use.  It fits my 300mm f/4 perfectly. It slides over my 200-500mm’s 82mm front end element, but not so far that I’m able to secure it with the screws so, to make sure it wouldn’t fall off I taped it to my lens barrel.  Gaffers tape or Painters tape works.

I linked to the filter so you can check it out if you’re interested. I am not affiliated with Orion and do not receive any compensation or products for using their products or mentioning them.  

Nikon Df| Nikkor 200-500mm @500mm| SanDisk Digital Film| PS CC 2017

more to come…

 

 

 

Trailhead to the Stars

Copyright ©2016 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Last night I met Gordon, and some other friends in a Meet-Up group we’re in up on Mt. Tamilpias in Marin County to photograph the sunset, and then image the night sky.

There was an Astrology lecture in the Amphitheater so the park was open much later than it normally is which allowed us to stay late. YEAH! Normally the park closes a bit after sunset.

This is 74 frames stacked in PS CC 2015.5.

My settings were f2.2| 30seconds ea.| ISO 320| Manual Priority| Tripod|

Star Trails

4 planes, and one shooting star flew through the sky while I was imaging. I didn’t see the shooting star at the time as I was looking away helping a friend with her settings and intervalometer. I was thrilled to see I caught it on film though.

It was a lovely night, not windy, or cold, and the company was great!

Nikon Df| Nikkor 20mm f/1.8G| Delkin Digital Film

More to come…

 

“Dwell on the beauty of life. Watch the stars, and see yourself running with them.” ― Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

Copyright ©2016 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

While watching the night sky for Perseid Meteors Friday night I shot just under 300 frames. In all those frames I only managed to photograph 3 meteors! The rest that I saw were over my head or just out of the frame.

What to do with all those frames of stars? Stack them to make a Star Trail image is one thing.

Passing car headlights, other star gazers using their flashlights, and headlamps…maybe my own red headlamp too unintentionally light painted the trees, and foreground bushes for me.

Star Trails with Perseid Meteor

If I get a chance to photograph the Perseids or any other meteor showers this year or next I’ll use my 16mm Fisheye lens to get more sky in my frame.

Nikon Df| Nikkor 20mm f/1.8G| composite of 24 frames @ f/2.8| 26seconds ea| ISO 1600| Delkin Digital Film| PS CC 2015.5

more to come…

 

2016 Perseids

Copyright ©2016 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

I went out Friday night/Saturday morning star gazing hoping to photograph a meteor or two of the Perseid meteor shower.  The Perseid Meteor shower is an annual event occurring from mid July to mid August as the Earth crosses the orbital path of Comet Swift-Tuttle; the parent of the Perseid meteor shower.  Debris from the comet litters its orbital path, but we don’t get into the dense part of it until the first week of August.  It’s this debris that slams into Earth’s upper atmosphere at 130,000 mile per hour lighting up the night sky with streaking Perseid meteors.

This year was to be particularly good for viewing more meteors because of our position in the debris path.

I saw a few really great meteors with wonderful balls of fire streaking through the sky, but the best image I made in 4 hours of sky watching was of this little meteor with some red at the head and a green tail.  It’s a first time I’ve photographed the green tail.

Perseid Meteor 2016

 

 

There’s some of the Milky Way in there too, but faint, but there were oh, so many stars!

It was a wonderful night for star gazing.

Nikon Df| Nikkor 20mm f/1.8G @ f/2.8| ISO 1600| 26s  single frame| Delkin Digital Film|PS CC 2015.5

Source-Earthsky.org

more to come…

 

 

 

 

 

July’s Buck Moon

Copyright ©2016 Deborah M. Zajac  ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

The July Full Moon is called the “Buck Moon” in North America because male Deer are usually beginning to grow their antlers again in July.
The July Full Moon also has two other names. The Hay Moon; July is when Farmers begin storing their Hay, and the Thunder Moon because of the many thunder storms in the month of July.

I made this image in Santa Cruz, CA. The Moon looks large because it’s close to the horizon. Being on the coast there was a lot of moisture/atmosphere in the air, and the fog was slowly rolling in from the southeast so, the Moon looks a bit diffused.

The Moon was so pretty in the pink reflected light of the Belt of Venus. The pink part of the sky after sunset is called the Belt of Venus. It’s a phenomenon that happens after sunset and before sunrise. “The dark band of the Earth’s shadow at dusk and dawn often has a light pink arch above it, known as the Belt of Venus. It extends about 10-20 degrees up from the horizon, acting as a boundary between the shadow and the sky. The effect is due to the reddened sunlight being backscattered in the atmosphere, which produces the rosy glow.”~http://www.howitworksdaily.com/what-is-the-belt-of-venus/

Full Buck Moon

as the Moon rose higher it began to turn more Golden.

Full Buck Moon Twilight

Then it was time to head home.

Nikon Df| Nikkor 200-500mm| Delkin Digital Film| Tripod

More to come…

Top 10 2015 Images

Copyright 2015-2016 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Last week I shared with you the Top 10 Images that received the most  views over on my flickr site today I’m going to share with you My Personal favorite images from 2015. Most of these I posted on the blog, so you’ll probably recognize them or feel a sense of Deja-vu. 🙂

I selected these images based on emotions, technical merit, or because I met a personal goal. I got my picks  down to 36 then spent a couple of days whittling those down to just 10. It’s so hard! I have an emotional attachment to all of them. 🙂

Without further ado…My Personal Top 10 Images of 2015:

1)Running in Rain Puddles.  He’s just awesome, and brings me so much joy. I love being a Grandma!!

Running in Puddles

2) Milky Way over Mt Shasta- This was an Epic night spent with Dear Friends. I hope we are able to get together to shoot here again this year.Milky Way over Mount Shasta CA, USA

3) Total Lunar Eclipse over the Palace of Fine Arts San Francisco- This was another epic night. There was weeks of planning, chasing the Moon across town from one location to this one, working the camera to get the shots all the while hoping it would all come together in post production.  It’s pretty great when it does. Totality-Lunar Eclipse over The Palace of Fine Arts San Francisc

4) Cooper’s Hawk- I think.  There are a few  images in this selection that I haven’t shared before. More times than I care to admit I find I lack the confidence that a certain image I love will be well received, or what happens to me quite a lot is that I’m not crazy about the images when I first upload them after a shoot so, I let them marinate awhile. When I return to them months or years later I find I like them a whole lot more.

This Hawk in the reeds in Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge is an image I really like, but thought it might be too pedestrian to post back in January 2015 when I photographed it.  I love its face, the clarity of the eye, the natural environment, and the fact that I was able to make the image before it flew away.

Cooper's Hawk

5) Northern Flicker-Male – Another image never shown before today. This bird has been a nemesis of mine for years! They too are flighty.

I’d read reports of him being spotted in a neighborhood not from me in Jan/Feb. 2015, so one day a friend and I went looking for him. We found him deep in the shadows of this tree.  Once I got it uploaded and did some post production work to open up the shadows I was happy with the image, and feel like I can say it’s not my nemesis anymore.  They’re such beautiful birds.

Northern Flicker

6) Salsify macro- This was an image I photographed for my Project 52/2015 using my LensBaby Composer Pro wit the macro adapters. I love my LensBaby System and that creamy background. Salsify

7) Still-life “Why fit in when you were born to stand out.” Dr. Seuss

This one makes the cut because I got the lighting, and composition that I wanted to make right.

P52 29 of 52 "Why fit in when you were born to stand out?" ~Dr.

8) Orange Crowned Warbler.   I haven’t seen this little bird too often and photographing them is so hard; they’re small, and are so fidgety you have to be quick. This particular morning I set up my rig by a seep that was drawing in birds from the area for a drink.  Patience when birding is essential. It paid off this morning. I waited 30 minutes or so for this bird to come to the seep. This is the best image I’ve made of this species.

Orange Crowned Warbler

9) Great Egret-  Another bird image I’ve never before shared.  I love the colors, and how clear its eye is.

Great Egret

10)Sunrise cresting San Francisco Skyline from Kirby Cove. It was worth the mile hike back up for this image. Being there was awesome.

Sunrise over San Francisco CA

These are my favorites from 2015.  Thank you for being so supportive, and letting me share my images with you. I look forward to seeing your images, reading your poems, thoughts, and seeing the places you travel from  my arm-chair this year.

Happy and Healthy 2016 Everyone!

More to come…