Planetary Conjunction

Copyright © 2012 Deborah M. Zajac. All Rights Reserved.

Copyright © 2012 Deborah M. Zajac. All Rights Reserved.

Thanks Dali and Andy for reminding me about this astronomical event. Jupiter, Venus, and the Moon lined up in a triangle to form a special conjunction on Feb. 25, 2012. We spent a lot of time online emailing each other about places we liked to shoot this. I kept looking at this area of the city and I asked the guys to look at it too.  After the guys looked at it on TPE (The Photographer’s Ephemeris) they too liked it and we decided to shoot it here.  Andy didn’t join us he decided to make some progress on his computer project so it was Dali, Phil, and I who shot here. It was fun, but cold!

The forecast called for a clear sky, but what we had were  intermittent clouds, and a low fog bank. As soon as Venus dropped into the fog we called it a night. The Crescent Moon is in those clouds, but Jupiter and Venus are clearly visible.

To see what Dali shot go here

To see Phil’s photo go here

Nikon D700| Nikkor 18mm| f5.6| 15 seconds| ISO 800| Manual Mode| Tripod| Self Timer

First Photo of the New Year

Copyright © 2012 Deborah M. Zajac. All Rights Reserved.

I spent the first few days of 2012 photographing parts of the Eastern Sierras with dear friends. This was our 2nd Annual New Years Photo Trip.
There wasn’t much snow in the high country so we were able to cross Tioga Pass to get to our base camp which was in Bishop, CA. From there we were pretty central to everything we had hoped to photograph. We roamed from Mammoth on the northern end to Alabama Hills in the south.
Sunrises, sunsets, and a bit of scouting during the day was on the agenda, and on our first night we had a clear sky so we drove south to Ancient Bristle Pine Cone National Park and shot in the Patriarch Grove.  The elevation is between 10,000 and 11,000ft.  Because the air is so thin up here these trees grow slowly.  This  harsh environment makes their wood denser and stronger to resist pests, and disease. The oldest tree is 4600 years old! Their twisted limbs and odd shapes make great subjects and foreground for star trails.

Once you get the focus sharp, your settings selected, and your intervelometer set up you can sit back and watch the sky, or  do what we did; go back to the car and turn on the heater. It was 26 degrees outside!

This star trail is made from 82 frames each were 58 second exposures. I cloned out 6 airplanes and 1 shooting star.
The trip was great fun, and I’m looking forward to our 2013 New Years Photo adventure.

Moonset Over San Francisco, California

Copyright © 2011 Deborah M. Zajac. All Rights Reserved.

I rose pretty early this morning to make the hour drive to this location to meet my friend Andy aka Stargazer to shoot the Moonset.
He checked and double checked the webcams in the area hoping for no fog. We did have a fog bank sitting right where we hoped to shoot the setting Moon, but we got lucky; it peeked out enough to make a pretty picture, and the color! It really was this color! It was gorgeous. Worth getting up at 3AM for.
We have rain in the forecast tomorrow, but if we get a break and no fog in the morning we may try it again.

Andy has his photo up from this morning please check it out. It’s awesome!…

Nikon D300s| Nikkor 80-200 @ 100mm| f11| 45 seconds| ISO 200| Manual Mode| Tripod| Intervelometer

Hubble Movies Provide Unprecedented View of Supersonic Jets from Young Stars

Via Flickr:
The glowing, clumpy streams of material shown in these NASA Hubble Space Telescope images are the signposts of star birth.

Ejected episodically by young stars like salvos from a cannon, the blobby material zips along at more than 440,000 miles (770,000 kilometers) an hour. Called Herbig-Haro or HH objects, these speedy outflows have a bumpy ride through space.

When fast-moving blobs “rear-end” slower gas, bow shocks (the blue features) arise as the material heats up. Bow shocks are glowing waves of matter similar to waves produced by the bow of a ship plowing through water. In HH 2, at lower right, several bow shocks (the compact blue and white features) can be seen where fast-moving clumps bunch up like cars in a traffic jam. In HH 34, at lower left, a grouping of merged bow shocks reveals regions that brighten and fade over time as the heated material cools, shown in red, where the shocks intersect.

In HH 47, at top, a long jet of material has burst out of a dark cloud of gas and dust that hides the newly forming star. The blue, fan-shaped region at left is the edge of a cavity illuminated by the fledgling star. A massive clump of jet material collides with upstream gas, creating the white bow-shaped shock wave at right.

These images are part of a series of time-lapse movies astronomers have made showing the outflows’ motion over time. The movies were stitched together from images taken over a 14-year period by Hubble’s Wide Field Planetary Camera 2. Hubble followed the jets over three epochs. Observations of HH 2 were made from 1994, 1997, and 2007; HH 34 from 1994, 1998, and 2007; and HH 47 from 1994, 1999, and 2008.

The outflows are roughly 1,350 light-years from Earth. HH 34 and HH 2 reside near the Orion Nebula, in the northern sky. HH 47 is located in the southern constellation Vela.
Object Names: HH 47, HH 34, HH 2
Image Type: Astronomical/Annotated

To read more go to:…

Credit: NASA, ESA, and P. Hartigan (Rice University)..NASA Goddard Space Flight Center enables NASA’s mission through four scientific endeavors: Earth Science, Heliophysics, Solar System Exploration, and Astrophysics. Goddard plays a leading role in NASA’s accomplishments by contributing compelling scientific knowledge to advance the Agency’s mission.

Polaris Blues

A friend and I went south to the town of Morgan Hill about 30 mins. from me to Henry Coe State Park to shoot the stars for Star Trails, and we hoped for a nice sunset too.

Arriving early we scouted the area and found a couple of really beautiful oak trees that we thought would make a lovely foreground to our star trail photographs.

We set up camp which for me is a folding chair, tripod, and camera gear then waited for the sun to set.

The sunset was so golden, and even with my LB ColorCombo Polarizer and SinghRay2 stop soft edge Grad ND filter the sun was hot, and I had lots of sun flare. I actually think it came out cool looking in this photo.

© Copyright 2010 Deborah M. Zajac.  All Rights Reserved

After this we moved across to the opposite side of this hill to set up for the Moon Rise. The colors on this side of the valley were so much prettier

than the sunset.

I loved the bands of red and blue. One of the beautiful oaks made for a lovely foreground.

© Copyright 2010 Deborah M. Zajac. All Rights Reserved.

After the moon rise I moved locations to set up and start my test shots for my star trail sequence. Here’s the second test shot.

I was lining up the foreground and Polaris, the North Star.

© Copyright 2010 Deborah M. Zajac. All Rights Reserved.

We weren’t alone up there last night. There was also an Astronomer hobbyist taking photos of the stars and nebulae with his star tracking gear, and telescope mounted to his camera. It was such a wonderful evening chatting with him and looking through his large telescope at Jupiter, Venus, and the Moon.

I’m still working on my Star Trail  photograph. I hope to post it tomorrow.

Nikon D300s

Nikkor 17-35mm f/2.8AF-S