The day started like any other, up early and working by 6:30 a.m. but in the middle of the afternoon Aaron calls and asks if I want to go take photos of the Milky Way, at 2:00 a.m.!
Now my first thought was no, well, actually, "hell no, I will be sleeping at 2:00 a.m." but then the right side of my brain took over and I said yes. I couldn't let the young guy get the best of me you know.
I have to say the boy does have some good ideas even though my brain and body are making me pay for it today. It sucks getting old!
The bright lights in the bottom left corner of the second photo are from a small town about 20 miles from from my house where this was taken. The bright lights in the bottom center of the first shot are from another, smaller town about ten miles away.
These first two shots were twenty second exposures with an ISO of 3200. This last shot was something all together different.
This shot was taken with a new gadget I bought about three weeks ago. I haven't been able to use it because it's been cloudy every night since I got it so last night was a treat.
This is the Milky Way with a few wispy clouds passing by.
For those interested in the technical aspects of this photo; it was shot using a Nikon D800 and Nikon 14-24mm f2.8 lens. The lens was set at f2.8 and 14mm with an ISO of 400 (yes, 400!) and the shutter was 155 seconds.
How's that possible without getting star trails you ask? Come on, you know you want to know.
The new gadget is an Ioptron Star Tracker. It mounts to your tripod and then your camera mounts to the Ioptron. Once you have it adjusted properly you can open your shutter for up to six minutes without getting star trails. The tracker does just that, tracks the stars as the earth turns so that your camera is always looking in the same spot in the sky as time passes.
You are limited to six minutes on the shutter because the Ioptron Star Tracker uses the star Polaris as it's tracking point and Polaris has a "wobble" to it that will affect the photos after six minutes. A shutter of two to three minutes is just about perfect for these kinds of shots anyway I think.
I am more than impressed with how well the Ioptron worked and I will be taking more star photos in the near future.
I think I better stock up on the coffee!