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.
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…
Dolphin Resort, Crescent Lake, Walt Disney World
Normally I do not like having the Swan & Dolphin Resorts behind Crescent Lake and so close to Epcot. I think they interrupt the sight lines from various locations and detract from the visual settings so carefully crafted by the Imagineers. But on this particular evening I could not pass up the opportunity to capture this beautiful view. I will admit these hotels are a sight to behold, especially at night. I wish they were located in another area of the resort.
Asia, Animal Kingdom, Walt Disney World
I had so much fun running around the Animal Kingdom after the sun went down last night. Being in the park after dark was one of the experiences I was looking forward to on this trip. It did not disappoint. There are so many images to process. I’ll start with my favorite refreshment stand on the corner in Asia. I’m not sure if it is the architecture of this little building, the environment and all the details or the general theme, but I always grab an image of this spot on every visit. Getting one at night was on my list…
As a meteor hunter, I am not very good. I can probably chalk it up to lack of experience and/or opportunity. Of course, there is also the fact that when I went to bed Thursday night the weather forecast was calling for rain. Waking up at my normal time for work (3:30am) I noticed I could see stars out my window. I quickly fed the cats and headed out into the back yard to see what I could capture.
I only spent fifteen minutes pointing my camera at various sections of the sky. My Olympus is not the perfect camera for high ISO night photography but I did manage to snag a couple of meteors. In the first image the meteor is dead center and traveling vertical. The second image I barely caught the meteor over near the top left, also traveling vertical. I can say I did see quite a few more meteors in other portions of the sky, mostly as my camera was exposing in the wrong direction! LOL
Frontierland, Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World
I know I have a fascination with Frontierland at the Magic Kingdom. I typically spend a lot of my time in this area of the park. I enjoy exploring Tom Sawyer Island and always go for a ride on the Liberty Belle. I’m not sure if it is because I grew up on a farm and the “rural” feel of the area brings me back to my days playing in the creek or I just enjoy being able to find quiet spots away from the hustling crowds on their way to the rides.
Looking through my Disney posts I find I also enjoy getting pictures of Harper’s Mill and the Liberty Belle riverboat. There are plenty of locations for different and unique compositions. One of my toughest pictures has been getting both in one at night. I try every visit and rarely come home happy with my attempts. This last visit either my luck has improved or my skill with the camera has gotten better. I hate thinking it is the new camera but it might play a little role in helping me get this image. Typically I would bracket a night image like this in order to capture the range of light but I found with my D7100 I could process a single exposure and achieve the look I wanted.