Whatever Weds. Stargazing

Copyright © 2020 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

I went out Saturday night to shoot the Milky Way and Comet C/2020 F3 “Neowise”. It was a gorgeous night with perfect weather for it.  I’ve only got one image ready to share.

Here’s the Milky Way with Jupiter the brightest planet to the left of the Milky Way and little bitty Saturn to left of it.

Milky Way over the Eastern Sierras
Copyright ©2020 Deborah M. Zajac ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

I used my old Legacy Nikon 18mm f/3.5 Ais manual focus lens for this shoot. I light-painted the log and grass in the foreground, but this lens is so bright it picked up the light spill from the setting Moon in the background too.  I forgot it was this bright, and I love the colors it renders.  It’s going to live in my bag for the rest of the summer.

In other news, I’m just about out of memory on this desktop computer so we’ve bought a new faster one with more memory. I think we’re installing and transferring all my programs to it tomorrow. If all goes well I’ll be online checking out your blogs as usual and replying to any comments after that, but if not…I’ll be back when I can! Wish us luck!

 

Nikon D810| Nikkor 18mm f/3.5Ais| 25seconds| ISO 3200| Manual Mode| Single Frame processed in PS CC 21.2.1

more to come…

 

 

 

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…

 

 

 

 

“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…

 

 

 

 

 

Milky Way over Mt. Shasta CA

Copyright ©2015 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

A couple of weeks back some friends and I spent the week-end near Mt. Shasta hoping for a clear night for night imaging the Milky Way. We’d been skunked the week-end before in Lassen National Park, and the smoke from the fires burning in Northern CA was causing a haze in the atmosphere.

The clouds began to shift about Sunset. There were some low clouds around the peak of Mt. Shasta, but the peak itself was clear. We hoped that held up, and it did! I caught a Shooting Star too! I don’t think this is a Perseid Meteor, but I could be wrong. Though the timing for the Perseid’s was right when I made this image.

Milky Way over Mount Shasta CA, USA

The lights are from surrounding towns and way out in the distance might be Redding, CA.

Nikon Df| AF-S Nikkor 17-35mm| Hoodman STEEL Ultra High Speed Digital Film| CS6

More to come…

A Bridge to the Stars

Copyright © 2014 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Bridge to the StarsThis image of the Milky Way is one I made several weeks back while on a camping trip with friends in Stanislaus National Forest in Northeastern CA. USA.
While imaging the sky I saw several shooting stars, and hoped I’d capture some on film. I got lucky and got one in this frame. You see it streaking down in the upper left of the frame.
The Bootes Meteor Shower was happening on this night, but don’t think this is one of those. This is coming from the wrong direction.

It was a gorgeous night, and the sky was gorgeous filled with so many stars.

Nikon D700| AF-S 17-35mm @ f2.8| 20sec| ISO 5000| Manual Priority| Matrix Metering| Tripod

“Did you finally get the chance to dance along the light of day ,and head back to the Milky Way?”Train – Drops Of Jupiter

Copyright © Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

"Did you finally get the chance to dance along the light of dayAnother image from my week-end with friends camping in the Stanislaus National Forest in North Eastern California. We had great weather, and two nights of gorgeous dark skies.

Here in the Northern Hemisphere the constellation Sagittarius rises in the southern sky bringing with it a very dense part of the Milky Way: a large plume of white milky gas, and dust, and running through it a dark lane called the Great Rift with all its tributaries standing out marvelously in the night sky.

We scouted for locations during the afternoon and found this location off trail. We hiked through a hillside full of mesquite, and low bushes keeping an eye and ear out for Rattlesnakes then we climbed on top of a huge granite slab to get a higher perspective.
It was wonderful to be under such a dark sky and see so many stars, the Milky Way, and a few shooting stars, and it was really great having Marsha for company. It had been a long time since we’d been out shooting the stars together.
We’re making plans to return to this area for more night imaging.
You can see Marsha’s work here.

Nikon D700| AF-S 17-35mm @17mm| f2.8| 20 seconds| ISO 3200| Manual Priority| Tripod