Friday, September 21, 2007

Starry Starry Nights

The moon is getting pretty bright right now, but back a couple weeks ago on September 4th, we had a clear dark night or two. I headed out try to get some Milky Way pictures with a cactus foreground. This picture was taken looking south from the dirt road just before you get to the Indian inscriptions at Boca Onima.

The sky glow on the left side of the picture is probably Radio Nederlands, or maybe Sabadeco. The glow on the right edge is Rincon. I drove along until the setting Milky Way was located mid way between the two glows.

This was a three minute exposure at ISO 200 and F2.8. The cacti came out blurry, even though they were pretty far away, because the camera was tracking on the stars. If we have some clear nights next month, I'd like to try some other settings, like 1.5 minutes at ISO 400, or 45 seconds at ISO 800 to see if I can get crisper silhouettes with shorter exposures.

This is all assuming that my camera hangs in there. It is having some shutter problems and I have to turn it off and back on in between each exposure to reset everything, so I can see my picture and then take another one. Sometimes I only end up with a partially exposed frame. That's why this picture has a panoramic sort of aspect ratio. The top part of the frame, which should have been loaded with stars, was black, so I just cropped it off.

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