thewayne: (Default)
We didn't head north to see the eclipse, circumstances and money just didn't work out, thus my wife swapped with a co-worker to cover part of his shift: she is an operator on the Dunn Solar Telescope at Sunspot, the National Solar Observatory, he works on my wife's 3.5 meter. Thus, he is a Vampire and she is a Day Walker. My wife slept through the event, I drove over to Sunspot and participated.

Right off the bat, I didn't do enough prep work. My biggest mistake was not ordering a filter for my camera well in advance of the event! Oh, well. On top of that, I didn't get my photo gear together yesterday, and in getting it together this morning as I was getting ready to leave, I found that my tripod head was missing! My second head has been missing for some time, so my primary tripod was out of commission. Fortunately I also have a travel tripod, so my experiment was able to proceed.

The second mistake that I made was failing to grab a new memory card. When we were in Phoenix a couple of weeks ago, I took my Canon SL1 in to Tempe Camera Repair, a fantastic repair shop that I've used for over 30 years, to get the sensor cleaned. In doing so I removed the strap, tripod head, and memory card. I put all three parts in the camera bag and somehow a black hole formed and only the strap survived. Fortunately I found another 32 gig SD card, unfortunately I left it sitting on the dining table. So I only had my Lumix and my 6D for shooting with.

The experiment was thus, and probably a failure: in a forest area, such as where I live, an eclipse through tree leaves can have the same effect as a pinhole and you can see it that way. Sounded pretty neat to me, so I set up my 6D with the interval timer firing every 15 seconds from when the eclipse began until it ended. I'm later going to suck the images in to iMovie and see what I've got. I just finished unloading and categorizing the photos from the two memory cards, and thought I'd post three photos of the eclipse which are mildly nifty.

These were all taken in a rather unconventional manner: holding the lens of the safety glasses in front of my hand-held Lumix LX7. I was experimenting with exposure and only got one image of the moon eating the sun, so I was content.

One of the awesome features of my Lumix is that you can adjust the aspect ratio of the photographs! I set it to 1:1 for some photos, such as the first. For the second photo, I cropped it in Photoshop to 1:1, otherwise none of the images were adjusted in Photoshop.

The weather was not good. We had lots of thick clouds, and I thought: clouds are diffusers! I can directly shoot the sun through clouds! And thus, the first image, taken at 10:56 MST:


This second shot is the actual moon eating the sun: (11:49:18 MST)


And finally, the dramatic fiery ball shot: (11:49:40 MST)
thewayne: (Default)
Tonight we took my parents out to dinner: we're in Phoenix for a game convention Saturday/Sunday. Parked on my right was an SUV with this on its back window:



Parked on my left was a car with this on their back window:



You just can't make this stuff up.
thewayne: (Default)
Or in this case, my dad in his shop.



He just installed new lighting and wanted a photo to send to the manufacturer who had requested it, so I dug out my 6D with a 17-40 zoom and did a panorama of three photos and stitched/cropped them in Photoshop.

Unfortunately he had turned off the light behind the drill press, so I had to re-shoot it for the third time and he wasn't sitting there. Still, my wife thought it would make for an excellent jigsaw puzzle, so we may get one custom made.

Not visible: table saw behind the table and under the drawers of the back wall, a router under the cabinets of the left workspace, a band saw, and an innumerable amount of hand tools. The air compressor is outside of the shop but piped in. The shop has evolved over a period of more than 50 years of customization.
thewayne: (Default)
Yesterday I saw bluejays and a chipmunk. Today: take away the chipmunk, add a SQUIRREL! Fortunately my dogs didn't see it, or if they did, they didn't scream it and start after it.

These were all shot hand-held through my computer "room" window, which really should be cleaned, but considering it's over 10' above the ground, I don't know that I want to do that!

Bluejay: [edit^2: Moonhare identifies them as Stellar's Jays, I saw three of them in my front yard this week!]

I don't know how the tail is in focus and the head is not, blame it on a 300mm that when multiplied is effectively a 480mm at f5.6. I'm considering bringing in my monopod. The bluebird wasn't very cooperative in terms of staying in sunlight and holding still or posing.

Squirrel run across felled tree:


Squirrel run down tree:


Squirrel run up same tree, moments later:



Not as sharp as I'd like, but all things considered, not bad.

EDIT: my wife said they're Jays, not just Bluebirds. I didn't spend any points in Ornithology, they all went in to computer skills and photography. Recently my XP has been going in to cooking/baking and video editing.
thewayne: (Default)
This is 972 photographs, taken in aperture-priority mode at f4.5, ISO 1600 with an interval timer firing every second. The first frame was at 1/90th of a second, the final frames were 6 second exposures. The green light is many quadrillion photons of laser light on the secondary mirror on its way to retroreflectors on the moon.

I am REALLY enjoying my interval timer! Best inexpensive accessory that I've ever bought! Best expensive accessory would be my 17-40 zoom.



https://www.youtube.com/user/WayneWestPhotography
thewayne: (Default)
My wife's work shift a few weeks ago was rough, and turned out worse. Normally Russet works every other Saturday/Sunday, this time she scheduled herself Tuesday through Friday as she had a team of three visiting Chinese astronomers with their own instrument. They had booked the entire night, at considerable expense. Their instrument is an infrared imager (camera) that can capture a THOUSAND frames a second! Pretty spiff! (Broadly speaking, there's only two types of astronomy instruments: imagers for infrared (and other bandwidths) photography and spectragraphs that measure the chemical composition of objects.)

Being able to wander around an observatory equipped with two big telescopes with whatever non-flash camera equipment that I can dig up is such a wonderful perk of being married to an astrophysicist!

This photo was hand-held, f1.4 at 1/5th of a second, ISO 800. Very minimal manipulation. The bright light to the right of the top monitor was the Chinese scientists working with/on their instrument.



Normally operations are conducted from a lit and comfortable control room, but this instrument was being continuously, and I mean CONTINUOUSLY, tweaked. So all four of them were spending most of the night in the dome. Frequently they'll use the in-dome computer for instrument set-up at the beginning of the night then put it it to sleep and go down stairs for most of the shift.

She had chosen to work the entire time the Chinese scientists were going to be there because she understood them better. It's not that she speaks Chinese, it's just that she's worked with them before and understood their broken English pronunciation better. Plus, astronomy has a limited vocabulary of key terms (azimuth, seeing, magnitude, etc.) A second telescope operator, Ted, was supposed to take the second half of the night Weds/Thurs, he was then going to be working Saturday/Sunday. Tuesday night Russet gets an email from Ted's girlfriend: he's in the hospital with food poisoning. Felled by a Taco Bell in El Paso. There's only four people who are qualified and allowed to work on the 3.5 meter telescope. Of the other two, one just came off-shift, so it's not fair to ask him to come back, and the other is up in Albuquerque doing out-reach. So not only does Russet have to work four solid shifts in a row, she also has to pick up Ted's weekend.

Not much fun. Fortunately weather was not good, so the dome was closed a lot of the time.
thewayne: (Default)
We had a monsoon storm system parked over the mountain for the last two weeks, and yesterday it finally broke! I was at the observatory until about 1:30am and am very happy with the results.


This first photo contains something interesting: the International Space Station! It was pure luck. I was testing everything before I told it to start shooting 30 second exposures forever (299 was the final image count) and it just so happened to catch the ISS! My wife pulled up a web site that maps your location over what satellites will be overhead on a specific date and time and we matched the time of the exposure and BINGO! I couldn't have caught that if I had tried.



This is a composition of 299 images. The little jag that you see at the beginning or end of a trace is the first two images of the ISS track. They were taken before I told the timer to have at it.

I was pleased to find that Photoshop CS6 had no problem accepting 299 layers in one PSD file, but it didn't like a file size greater than 2 gig. Once I flattened them, the file size dropped to 41 meg or so, well within Photoshop's capacity.



And finally, a video that I composed from the 299 still images. It's fun watching the dome of the 3.5 meter spin like a dervish. I showed it to my wife this afternoon and she said that she knew which slews those were. She was working with a group of on-site Chinese astronomers on a visiting instrument, so she was the one choosing targets for them in an attempt to keep the dome slit out of the wind: their instrument was very sensitive to the slightest breeze.


And I'll tell you, I LOVE MY NEW IMAC! It's not the utmost latest which just came out this week, it's a Late 2015 with a 4 GHz i7, and this thing handled sucking those 299 images and turning them in to a movie or making them in to Photoshop layers or flatening them with absolute zero difficulty.
thewayne: (Default)
And we don't know what it is! This is a screen grab from Photoshop with the original zoomed 100%, the artifact is about 10" over and about half an inch down. While almost everything else is streaking in an ascending to the upper right direction, this one is descending to the lower right, or SE direction.

There's a web site called heavens-above.com that will tell you satellite orbits above you based on your location, and nothing really matches what is in the picture. My wife, who only has a PhD in astronomy and astrophysics and works as a professional astronomer, thinks it's a reflection off a power line. Notice those dark streaks in the photo? Those are power lines. But there's a slight breeze, and considering the length of exposure, I think that would distort the image.

Based on the timing of the exposure, i.e. knowing that the length of one trail represents about 15 minutes, and that the anomaly is at pretty much a right angle to the celestial equator, she thinks it might be a satellite in a geosynchronous orbit but much further out.

So here's the image, at 100%:


We might go out again tonight and repeat the exposures twice from both ends of the observing pier to try to counter where the power lines appear. We'll see what happens.
thewayne: (Default)
I spent another two hours in the cold last night and have one photo to show for it. Fortunately my jacket had my best ski cap and the perfect thin gloves for working with the camera! It didn't work with my phone for reading a book on my phone, so my right hand kinda froze, but I'm willing to sacrifice for my art. :-)

This was shot from the Cloudcroft Trestle overlook facing east, about half an hour or so before moonrise. It's 15 shots of 30 second exposures from a Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX7, ISO 800. The camera will do 30 second bursts, unfortunately it does a 30 second 'dark' exposure as part of noise reduction between frames, so the dots are unavoidable and streaks are thus pretty much impossible with this camera. I do like the 16x9 aspect ratio, I kinda wish my Canon did that. Yes, I could mask down to that in Photoshop, but I like composing that way in the first place.

At least now I know.


The glow in the lower left is from cars going in to Cloudcroft - not too much traffic at 1am on a Monday night, the glow in the middle is from the imminent moonrise.

But in other star streak news, Sunday I ordered a Canon intervalometer and a right angle viewfinder eyepiece and they should arrive Friday! So I'll be doing some more experimenting over the weekend.... Unfortunately we're pretty much at the end of this lunar cycle, so while I'll still be doing some star streak photos, I don't know if I'll be able to do much with foreground illumination.
thewayne: (Default)
I was doing OK on the photography side, my main problem was not assembling the pile of photos correctly in Photoshop. Now I know how! Now I also know that I REALLY need to get an intervalometer! I shot these using an infrared remote release to trip the camera to do 30 second exposures (Canon 6D, full-frame 20ish megapixel, 17-40 zoom at 17mm, f4.5 at 30 seconds, ISO 800), but was inconsistent with firing at precise 30 second intervals and that's what causes the little 'dot breaks' in the streaks. Theoretically I can use my laptop as an intervalometer, so that's something that I'll experiment with tomorrow and I'll (maybe) come back to the observatory tomorrow night and try again.

This is my wife's telescope, the 3.5 meter. The structure to the right is the 'arcade' that connects the operations/administrative building to the telescope.


The telescope on the left is the Sloan 2.5 meter, in front you again see the 3.5 meter, the two smaller domes are the NMSU 1 meter and the ARCSAT 0.5. The rightmost building is the dome/barn for the Sloan 2.5: it's on railroad ties and is moved away from the telescope when the telescope is opened.


Getting Polaris almost centered in that shot was sheerest luck.

Another view of the Sloan 2.5.


Unfortunately for the last set I only got 7 images for 3.5 minutes duration before they had to temporarily shut the telescope down for a cartridge swap. The slight blur was because they were slewing the telescope to point to where I was, prior to pointing the telescope straight up for the cartridge change. But all telescopes are always constantly moving, albeit ever so slowly, so getting a perfectly crisp shot of one probably means that it's not tracking and it's a totally staged shot.

Since this was just a test-run, I wanted to go inside and do the post-processing to see how things worked out.

And I was pleased.
thewayne: (Default)
Come to think of it, these are the first photos that I've taken this year, and perhaps the first photos that I've taken in a month. Being sick for a month really takes it out of you!

Eight photos. The B&Ws are processed with a package from DxO that lets it look like black & white film, in this case Tri-X ASA 400. The first four were shot Wednesday, the first out the back door, the other two in my front yard with my Canon 6D with a 24-105. The two of the woodpile and snow shovel were of a straight normal Photoshop process and then converting it to TX400.

The remaining were shot today out of my back door with an SL1 with a 75-300, the 1.6x crop making it an effective focal length of almost 500mm. It was hand-held leaning against the back door, so they're not as sharp as I would like, but it was 23f at noon and I wasn't going to go out to my car to get my tripod! I was looking out at the wind moving the trees and saw the young elk on the west side and mounted up my long zoom. While they're not as sharp as I'd like, I do like the results.
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thewayne: (Cyranose)
White Sands, NM.



HDR of the above frame:


Ruger, who had a lot of fun chasing lizards and gophers.




Cloudcroft and the highway down to Alamogordo, NM. HDR and a regular exposure.



HDR and a panorama:

thewayne: (Cyranose)
This is awesome. A graphics editor in England was used to sending and receiving Photoshopped jokes with friends. Someone came up with the concept of Thumbs & Ammo: taking iconic movie stills and removing the guns, replacing them with thumbs up. Replace a gun with an affirmation. I love it.

The tag line of the blog: Real tough guys don't need guns, they just need a positive, can-do attitude.

http://www.wired.com/rawfile/2013/03/thumbs-and-ammo/?viewall=true

http://thumbsandammo.blogspot.com/





thewayne: (Default)
I took a Photoshop class this semester, I should say re-took. I've taken it previously, but I didn't use PS, and my skills rotted. Anyway, I'm kinda proud as to what I produced:

The original is a 5x7 cropped to a 4x6:


Original is 10x15, also cropped to 4x6:


Original is 16x21, cropped to 4x6. You can't see this, but there is a different filter effect on each photo. The White Sands is a palette knife, the trestle is glass block, the orchard is cut paper, and the church is mosaic.


With the exception of the moon and Hubble Deep Field photo in the Science shot, and the Zia symbol in the Land of Enchantment shot, I took all of the photos.
thewayne: (Eischer)
This guy collects old cameras, and apparently frequently they contain old, exposed film. He then develops the film, and if the images are even semi-usable, posts them. Some interesting stuff. I wonder if he specifically seeks out cameras with film in them, or just buys a heck of a lot of used cameras.

http://westfordcomp.com/updated/found.htm

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