As I proposed last week: the Orion nebula. Orion, the hunter, is present in the winter sky in the northern hemisphere and the nebula can be found in the sword hanging. Orion is located left of the Pleiades.
You can see the nebula even with your bare eyes, but better with a spyglass or a telescope.
I was out that night for photographing the Orion nebula a couple of days ago (ok, literally it’s two weeks tomorrow). It’s located in the sword hanging of Orion right ahead. I liked the situation, how the path leads you directly to Orion. So, I took a wide-angel image first. Next week, I’m showing you the nebula.
You can easily see, how much light pollution we have here. And this is a location with only very little light pollutions in comparison to the situation in the wider area. You might remember my complaints from the past i.e. when I talked about the comet Neowise.
I took this image on Saturday before last. Near the end of this year’s winter. But starting in the beginning.
Friday night two weeks ago we got severe ice-rain. For a week we had temperatures below 0°C. So, the ground was frozen everywhere. The upper areas in the air were warmer than the lower so that we were supposed to get rain instead of snow. But, because of the frozen ground and the low temperatures in the lower air areas, the rain would freeze as soon as it reaches the ground. Very dangerous conditions, when out in the streets. All plants got wet and encased inside the ice because the rain started freezing right after coming to rest on the ground or on twigs as well as on the streets and passways.
The next day, the rain changed to snow and from Sunday the landscape turned into a winter wonderland. Very soft and quite dry snowflakes were laying everywhere, even in the lowlands. You know, I’m 200m above sea level. So, we get about 15-20 cm of snow that weekend. The next few days only a few additional flakes came to accompany those already arrived. Starting on Thursday, the weather changed again: the clouds vanished and the sun came out more and more. On Saturday we had a stainless blue sky, temperatures around -10°C (up -20°C at night).
Perfect conditions for a winter hike!
At around 16:30, when the sun was already quite low (sunset at 17:42), I noticed this golden glow in the trees. Do you remember, I told you about the ice-rain. These ice encasings are the reason, why the trees are capturing all the golden light and glowing so much.
Yesterday, I already showed you an image, how the ice encaged the twigs.
Recently, I was talking with someone about photography. Because that guy is living near Frankfurt, I was checking, where and when I published my images taken in Frankfurt. Surprisingly, they are not here on my blog. The posts are still online but don’t have any images in. I put the images on a separate gallery server that doesn’t exist anymore and set only a link to that location in the post. So, this is kind of a repost.
I was in Frankfurt for a training in November 2009. As I would have been alone in a hotel each night, I took my tripod and my camera with me and planned to go out after the training for taking some night shots in the city. That was my first trip for night photography. The difficulty is to balance the bright lights with the extreme darks while having quite long exposure times.
First I went to a certain skyscraper where you can go on top of the building to have a view over the city. The sky was proposing, unfortunately, it was extremely windy. Setting up my tripod as planned was impossible. The wind simply moved the tripod away. So, I dialed in a quite high ISO to get my shots hand-held without the tripod. The ultra-wide-angle lens allowed me to use a quite open aperture to get a good depth of field and still have the exposure time on a handleable value for hand-holding the camera despite the heavy wind.
At that time, I wasted a lot of quality not only because I had to use high ISO instead of my tripod. I also relinquished to photograph in RAW instead of JPG. For this post, I took out the original images and retouched them as much as possible. But, there was not much possible to recover.
Whenever possible, go the extra mile and photograph in raw. You have so much more quality.
After leaving the tower I also walked a bit through the city. Now, I was able to use my tripod. These images are taken at ISO 200 and aperture times of several seconds each.
What have I learned from that trip?
I should have split that trip into parts to have the nice blue night-sky in all images
I should have closed the aperture more to get nice stars around the small lights
I should have taken more than one shot with different exposure times while leaving the other settings unchanged (bracketing)
Having seen this iconic composition of the Kirkjufellfoss waterfall in front of Mount Kirkjufell on the Snæfellsness peninsula in the west of Iceland on so many images rose the wish in my mind to come here myself. I wished for the visit for a very long time. Finally, at the end of June, my wish came true.
This waterfall is neither the biggest nor the most beautiful one you can find in Iceland. But, in combination with the iconic mountain, it’s a wonderful ensemble. I knew all this in advance. I also knew in advance that it would be hard to take a photo because there’s literally only one place to get both parts in your image and to leave out the road passing between the waterfall and the mountain as well as the bridge crossing the river directly above the waterfall.
This image is taken with a 12mm focal length lens attached to my full-frame DSLR mounted on a tripod by using a Bigstopper ND filter for softening the rushing water, a pol-filter for removing some reflections from the water in the pond below the waterfall, and a graduated ND filter to take some light out of the sky to align the exposure for sky and waterfall.
exposure details: 12mm FX, ISO 400, 8 sec. apperture, f8, 22:49h
For a long time, I wanted to go out photographing this bus station at night. Different from other photos taken of illuminated buildings, I opted for going out late to make sure to have a black sky. You know, usually, I go out at “blue hour” for taking such photos. I’m quite happy with the results. I really like the kind of graphical look.
On Monday early morning last week sun, earth and moon were lined up again. While crossing the shadow of earth the should vanish from the sky for some time. But, instead of vanishing you can see a descending moon during the time, when the moon is immersing in the shadow. Later, you can observe an ascending moon, while the moon is living the earth shadow. When the moon is completely in the shadow, you could guess, you were unable to see it. But, instead of seeing a moonless sky a full-moon, you can see a low-red glowing moon in the sky, where shortly before the full-moon was visible. In 2015 I took images of the pages and composed them into a single overview image. You can see it here in my blog, too. The long-wave red lights are able to surround the planet earth and touch the moon in the shadow of earth and illuminate it with this low red light. A wonderful experience, despite -8°C and getting up at 4:30 a.m.
This time, I didn’t take photos all night. Instead, I checked a location in advance for a single shot: blood-moon over the nightly landscape.
This was my 4th try for photographing a blood-moon. and I’m satisfied with the result. The first try was many years ago with very bad results. the camera was simply too bad for such a job. The second try was in 2015, as you can see here. The third try was in summer 2018, but there was a huge cloud field in front of the moon. So, I missed it. The next opportunity for middle Europe seems to be Dec.20th, 2029. I guess, we won’t see it here because of bad weather.
Today, I have an another image taken on the Ilse of Skye in April for you. It’s a long exposure: 25s at f22 and ISO 50 by using my standard zoom.
When we arrived at the parking lot, about a kilometer from the shore, we were already able to see the spray in the air and when we arrived, we were able to see, how strong the surf was. I’ll show you some images of the waves, soon.
Nevertheless, I left my tripod in the back of our rental car, so my beanbag replaced the tripod.
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You know, in the past nearly all of my monochrome images were developed by using Tonality Pro by Skylum (formerly known as MacPhun). Unfortunately, Tonality Pro is considered as a legacy or retired product in the meantime. But, the monochrome skills of Luminar were in my opinion not good enough compared to Tonality Pro. But, I guess, someone at Skylum heard my complaints and startet bringing the monochrome engine from Tonality Pro to Luminar 2018 and converted the presets, too.
This image, is the first monochrome image developed with Luminar, I’m really satisfied with.
There’s also some other news on Luminar: The most recent free update contains a new AI driven filter for enhancing the sky. As always, you can download a preview, in case you don’t have Luminar 2018 already. Everyone else can purchase a copy for a reduced price by using this code: SOLANER
Two weeks ago, I was visiting my brother in Switzerland. I hoped for better conditions for star photography. You know, I’m living in one of the worst parts of Europe for this kind of photography because of the enormous rate of light pollution (get a light pollution map and find the purple area in the middle of Europe. South-East of it, in the red area, you can find my home area).
I was right, the conditions were much better, but not as good as they were in northern Norway.
The small, bright line heading from the center to the lower-left corner, is a falling star. In mid August you can spot the presides shower. While we saw some of them in the sky, I only captured this one with my camera.