Bellamy Harbor Park
Yep, the moon is a difficult object to photograph. Especially when the sky is dark and the moon is full. I generally have better results when the moonrise is slightly before the sunset. This allows the sky to retain some lighter colors and the exposure can encompass the moon’s brightness. Most of my compositions with the bridge did not pan out like I had hoped. It was a cool idea which I will explore at my next opportunity.
I switched out the lens on the camera to one with a longer reach and started exploring different views of the moon by itself. I was not happy with any of the images of the moon against a black sky. When I walked back to the car I noticed the water tower was set to a constant color. Hhhmm? Is there any view I can use with the water tower?
I walked down the sidewalk until I isolated the water tower and the moon. There it is. I was getting a little excited as I thought my moonrise goal was a bust. Dang! The moon is still overpowering the lights of the water tower. Oh well, one exposure for the moon, another for the water tower and pray I can do something with these two in post.
It was not as easy as I had thought (it never is!). Plus, this is the Harvest Moon! I should have a view of the moon over a barn or field full of pumpkins. Next year I’ll plan better.
Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World
Tuesday night was the night! If you wanted to see the Perseid meteors, every source I found insisted it should be Tuesday night about an hour before the moonrise. I headed out around 9:30pm after sitting through the rains that rolled through my area. The sky was clear and I was determined. Too bad Mother Nature loves a good joke…
When I arrived at my first stop I immediately saw two meteors as I was getting the camera out of the car. Awesome! This is going to be great! While I was able to capture a few images, I didn’t see another meteor. And then the fog started to roll in. At first I thought I was tired and my vision was a little blurry and then I realized the sky was being obscured from the horizon upwards. The first image is my best from Tuesday.
I was determined not to give up on Tuesday. I drove higher into the hills around Holland Patent hoping to get above the fog. I found a location, setup the camera, focused on the stars and grabbed a few captures before I was foiled by the fog again. This time is was close to 11:30pm, so I headed home. Hopefully, Wednesday will be better.
Wednesday came and the sky was clear again. I ventured out around 9:30pm with a single destination in mind. I returned to the hills above Holland Patent and setup along a pasture fence. The first image below is my first exposure after adjusting the focus. I felt lady luck was with me tonight. There is really no good way to capture an image as soon as you see the meteor, at least for me. My best option was to trigger the exposure every minute and wish for a little luck. I didn’t always see every object crossing the sky but the camera caught quite a lot. Some of the streaks I assume are satellites.
After capturing a few good meteors I adjusted the camera composition to include both Ursa Major and Minor. The image below with only stars was my first attempt at a composition and I happened to get lucky. The second image has a couple of small meteors near the fence in the lower right corner. By 11pm I decided to call it a night and head back home. If the weather permits I might head out again…
I had to get in on all the fun. Or at least give it a try. I have not achieved very good results in the past with astrophotography. I attempted a few different meteor showers but my results have not driven me to pursue it further. Until last night…
Comet NEOWISE is currently putting on a very good show in the Northwestern sky. If you can find the constellation Ursa Major (Big Dipper), you should be able to spot the comet below it. Last night the comet was visible with the naked eye although using the camera definitely increased its visibility.
This version of my E-M1 camera has a Starry Night auto-focus mode which I will be reading up on today and heading back out tonight to see if I can improve this photo. I’m also going to be taking a drive around the back roads looking for some interesting compositions to include with the comet. Hopefully, I’ll have more images to share tomorrow…
Animal Kingdom, Walt Disney World
The new land at Animal Kingdom wasn’t open during my last trip to Walt Disney World and from what I had been reading online, I was expecting quite a lot from it. The land itself is beautiful. I have to give Disney their due credit. They do know how to put on a show. To be truly impressed, make sure to visit after dark. That is when this new area comes alive.
I was unable to get a fastpass for the Flight of Passage attraction so I got myself to the park early to join the mad rush. To say my faith in common courtesy has been diminished would be a gross understatement. Apparently the new norm is everyone for themselves. It was a very disappointing. It continued into the night as I returned to this land for pictures as it became lit with the luminous glow the movie was known for. I lost count of the number of pictures ruined by someone stepping in front of me to get their picture. I wait my turn and definitely try not to impede anyone enjoying the parks. I realize my camera and tripod can be a bit much so I do everything I can to not intrude. Don’t get me wrong there are definitely people who wait before crossing in front of me, but they are becoming more rare every year.
OK, enough bellyaching! Here is one of the images I was able to capture. I still have some more learning to do as this is a difficult area to photograph with its lighting. I guess that means I will have to come back… LOL.
Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World
On my last couple of visits to Walt Disney World I didn’t go to Hollywood Studios. A couple of reasons kept me away. My last visit in December 2015 didn’t leave me feeling very good about the park. A couple of bad experiences soured my outlook. I’m glad I decided to return. Although there is a lot of construction at the Studios (Star Wars and Toy Story expansions) there was enough to keep me occupied. Plus I had forgotten how much I enjoyed photographing this park once the neon lights come on…
So, this image combines a lot of my favorites… The Rocketeer movie, Who Framed Roger Rabbit and night photography.
Cocoa Beach, FL
On Christmas Eve day I went back to Cocoa Beach for the sunrise. My hopes were high after my cloudy attempt last time I was in Florida. I arrived plenty early to grab some pre-dawn images around the Pier. Luckily that plan was very fruitful. As the day marched toward the sunrise the clouds covered more of the sky and dashed my hopes for the idyllic Florida beach sunrise.
The pier uses quite a few spot lights to illuminate the sand and surf. At first I thought the bright lights would ruin any image I tried to capture. There was still a lifeguard stand on the beach and I thought possibly it could be used to hide the obnoxious lights. Although I initially captured multiple exposures the slightly underexposed image turned out to be all I needed.