25 March 2013–great seeing for the Moon

After I was finished writing and editing the paper due tomorrow, I stepped out onto my porch for some fresh air.  There she was, hanging silently in the night sky.  “Capture me,” she said.  So out I went, accepting her invitation.  Now that I have solved the sharpness issue with my 1200mm setup, shooting the Moon is much, much more fun (and productive).

There were intermittent cloud bands this evening.  It seemed she was playing peek-a-boo with me.  Many images from the somewhat short engagement were acceptable.  This image was my best of the Moon in many years.




SNOW in Virginia!

It rained most of the morning.  But it was in the upper 40s (F), so I opened the windows to let the fresh air (and the humidity) into my apartment.  The temperature began dropping, and then I noticed that the rain had changed to sleet.  A few moments later, it changed to huge, heavy snowflakes.


Current radar:


Daytime Moon

This afternoon was a blissful opportunity to capture her again.  I was there at 4pm Eastern to frame her within my 1200mm lens.  I was able also to finally figure out the sharpness issue that’s plagued me for the past two years.  CELEBRATION!   Here’s one of the better shots from the afternoon session.  The sky was blue (bright, stunning blue that reminds me of the outstanding book I just finished:  Sacré Bleu) which added a slight bit of challenge to render the following photo.  It’s one of the best–not HDR (yet), just one frame.  Lowest ISO on my D300, 1/40s at 1200mm f/12.


Introducing. . . Comet PANSTARRS!

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We had thick clouds most of the day.  I thought it wouldn’t be possible.  Then it cleared up around sunset.  I went out.  I couldn’t see the comet.  The moon was spectacular, but I couldn’t see the comet.  I broke down the equipment and looked for the comet on the itty-bitty screen on my D300.  I couldn’t see it.  “Maybe I struck out tonight,” I thought.  One thing I hadn’t tried was a long exposure–beyond 2s.

I went back out and tried a five second exposure–BAM!  It was between the moon and the horizon.  Now that I had it dialed in, I zoomed in to 105mm, and took some longer exposures.

Only when I get home did I realize that I had indeed captured the comet–in many of the frames.

64 photos shot over 45 minutes.

Here they are:  my best of the evening.  A 4% crescent Moon and comet PANSTARRS:

Wide–the discovery shot:


The airport is about the only place I can find the horizon in my part of Virginia:

Turning red as it nears the horizon:

One of the better shots:


Another nice shot: