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Thursday, October 08, 2015

Morning twilight from the 90 inch.

We were observing at the Steward Observatory 90 inch Bok Telescope last week and this was the view we had of the morning twilight sky.  On the left is the dome of the telescope and you can see the lights of Tucson on the left near the dome in the distance.  In the sky, the brightest "stars" roughly in line is Jupiter, Mars, Rigel and Venus bottom to top (Venus is the brightest).  On the right is the McMath Solar Telescope.  This image was taken with my Canon 70D and 10mm fisheye lens with an exposure of 13 seconds at f/4, ISO 400.

This is the view south from the Bok Walk on the south side of the 90 inch dome.  High overhead is the slightly brighter than last quarter moon with Orion to its left.  The Spacewatch 36 inch dome is the most prominent dome below the Moon.  This image was taken with my 10mm fisheye lens on my 70D with an exposure of 13 seconds at f/4, ISO 400.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Colorful sunset

Here are two views of last nights sunset from our backyard, both taken with my Galaxy Note 4's camera with different white balances.  The shadows on the upper clouds caught my attention first and you can see them change over the 5 minutes or so between the two shots.  You can also see virga from the clouds below.  I am almost spoiled by the extra processing that my cell phone camera can do even before the images are stored compared to what I might need to do after the shot with my "real camera".  According to the image information, the exposures were f/2.2, 1/121 seconds, 4.8mm focal length and ISO 40 for the first image and f/2.2, 1/30 seconds, 4.8mm focal length and ISO 64 for the 2nd exposure.  I think the first was in auto white balance and both used HDR mode for the exposure.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Lightning over Tucson

I watched a nice lightning storm over the Tucson area tonight after sunset.  Lightning appeared over Oro Valley and Mount Lemmon while it was mostly clear overhead on Kitt Peak.

 This image is looking over Oro Valley, in the general direction of Biosphere 2.  Twilight was still heavy when I took this exposure.  The exposure is 2 second at f/4, ISO 1600 with my 70-200mm f/2.8L lens at 70mm focal length.

Looking over Tucson with the Tucson Mountains in the foreground and the Catalina mountains behind them.  A few strokes of lightning hit near the summit of Mount Lemmon with lots of other activity overhead.  This image was a 30 second exposure at f/8, ISO 800 with my 70-200mm f/2.8L lens at 100mm focal length.

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Venus and Jupiter dancing in the evening sky

As Venus and Jupiter were getting very close together this past week, it's been cloudy in Tucson and I only got a brief hazy glimpse of them about 5 days ago.  Tonight on my way home, though, I was treated to the pair dancing in the western sky as well as the Moon rising in the east.  When I got home, I pulled out my Canon 70D along with my 70-200 f/2.8L lens and took some shots.  Here, I've backed the lens off to 70mm focal length to get the surrounding trees and stars.  A little adjustment in the GIMP brought out more details in the sky and a bit of sharpening helped show off structure in the trees.  This exposure was at 70mm focal length with an exposure of 2 seconds at f/5.6, ISO 1600.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Turkey Vulture over Kitt Peak

While observing on Kitt Peak, I get to watch a number of different types of birds flying overhead.  Big ones love to make use of the updrafts and some play around with the domes, flying close by them while playing with their friends.  This time of year, the Turkey Vultures are quite common and often fly pretty close.  Here is one that I caught a few days ago with my 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II on my Canon 70D with an exposure of 1/8000 seconds at f/8, ISO 1600 at 200mm focal length.  I normally wouldn't shoot in broad daylight with ISO 1600, but I had used the camera that morning in twilight for some shots of domes and didn't have much time to think about my cameras ISO setting when I saw the birds flying relatively close by.  On the other hand, 1/8000 seconds sure does stop the bird and the cameras motion.  I love how sharp the images are with this lens - you can see details in the birds eye despite his being at least 100 feet away when I captured this shot.  I cropped this from the original frame.

Thursday, January 22, 2015


I was out in the Tucson Mountains last night taking pictures of the celestial show in the western sky, namely Venus, the Moon and Mercury.  Got a late start and almost missed Mercury!

The Earthshine-lit Moon was very pretty and Venus is off to its left with Mercury near the horizon almost straight below the Moon.  An airplane is visible slightly streaked at the left edge of the image.  This image was taken with my Canon 70D with my 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II lens at 70mm focal length with an exposure of 2 seconds at f/4, ISO 800.