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Sep 16, 2020
A Month of Moons (and planets).
Life is so funny, you just never know where the twists and turns are going to take you. About the time the pandemic started causing closures in Texas my beloved Pentax died of old age. Well not old age per se, old miles. It has three times the amount of shots on it than what it is rated for. But then again I have babied it out of love. But everything has an end and it's shutter curtain blew out. It was ok, as it gave me the excuse to step away from shooting focus on aspects of my art career that I neglected.
Over a month or so ago a friend gave me a lens that she was not using. It is a super zoom lens but for Canon. I use Pentax. Nothing against Canon, I have owned several but was planning on going back to Pentax. Another friend ended up giving a lower-end Canon. It is a fine camera but not really suitable for the kinds of photos I usually do commercially. Then it dawned on me, with a bit of photo geekery that actually gave me an advantage of sorts in night photography. At the end of this blog I will explain the photo geek stuff for photographers. With a bit of finagling, I pushed the zoom from 600mm to 2688mm. Why that was enough to see Saturn's Rings and Jupiter's moons!
A combination of planets and the moon.
This image was created by zooming way in on the photos of the planets and then combining them into one image. Not geeking out the lens won't give me prize-winning photos of the planets but it sure is amazing to be able to recognize the rings of Saturn and the moons and bands of Jupiter.
Monster in the Moon (Monster is my cat's name but he thinks his name is "Damn it"
It is a lot of fun learning to use this zoom lens. There are things I never thought of, like how to set it on the tripod, I enjoy just looking at the moon and seeing the moon in different phases. Health stuff keeping me at home, limits my options as to foreground elements. While in my front yard, I noticed my cat in the window. Try as I might he would not cooperate with me to line up on the moon. So I ended up taking two photos to combine for this image.
Learning how to catch the clouds has been a bit harder than I thought. Again this is an image that is nearly impossible in one image. To get a proper exposure of the moon almost always under-exposes the clouds and then the foliage is too close to be tack sharp.
Venus and the Moon were fairly close on this night yet really close is a relative term. This view is about what I was seeing with my eye. The smoke from the summer fires in the west has really given to some odd colors in the sky.
As the moon begins its journey back to full, I wish I was able to get the color of this sky right, it was a deep pinkish. But the moon was so faint from the fires, to focus on the moon, mean the sky color was very underexposed and I was actually pleased with how the moon contrasted with the night.
It is amazing how much you can do from your own back yard with a camera. Wish you well till the next blog.
Photo geek speak:
The sensor on a full-frame camera is roughly the size of an old 35mm film. Manufacturers realized they didn't need all that for cheaper cameras. There is a breed of DSLR's with what is commonly called a crop sensor. These have a sensor which is roughly .6 of the 35mm area of a full-frame. So the camera lens I got is designed for a full-frame camera. That means the image it throws on the sensor fills the full-frame. Now put that on a crop sensor and the image is larger than the sensor. Think about cropping in on a photo when you edit. The math is your focal length times 1.6. So 600mm ( I am using a Tamron 150-600) x 1.6. that give me 960mm. But wait there is more! Add a 2x convertor that doubles the focal length. and then add another 1.4. Which you multiply it again by 1.4. All of that pushes my 600mm out to 2688mm. It does soften the image a tad honestly. But still sharp enough to have fun.
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