Jul 222010
 

 

Pole-Star-Light-TrailsAnd before those of you in the Southern Hemisphere jump all over the title, with its clear Northern Hemisphere slant, don’t worry, I’ll be talking about the Southern Cross (Crux) as well.  There just wasn’t room in the title to fit in all of that.

Let’s start off with the ‘why’ and then move to the how.  For those of you well versed in astronomy this may all seem very simple to you and you’re welcome to skip right over.  But as I’ve traveled I’ve been amazed at how many people, while sitting around a campfire or on a beach, can’t find the North Star or Southern Cross.  I’ll admit, for most people, it doesn’t matter.  They just like seeing stars overhead, making up constellations and looking for shooting stars.  And that fine.  But if you are looking to take pictures of the night sky, it can be helpful to find either the North Star (Polaris) or Southern Cross.

The reason is that it will tell you how light trails from the Earth’s rotation will show up in your picture.  Are you looking for streaks across the sky when using a long shutter speed or stacking photos?  Or do you want that cool circular effect?  It can be fun to play with different directions and foreground objects and unless you’re familiar with finding the right locations, it can be tricky.  First, some explanation.

A Pole Star is a star that sits near the point of rotation for the axis of the Earth directly above either pole.  In the case of the North Pole, it’s the North Star. In the case of the South Pole there currently is not a single star close in that is easy to spot with the naked eye, so the Southern Cross is often referenced.  Unless you are on the equator, you can only see one or the other (or very high up a mountain near the equator, like Mt. Kilimanjaro).  When you point a camera at either Polaris or the Crux and leave the shutter open for a while, you’ll get a swirled pattern as you see in the photo above (shot in Arches National Park, Utah, USA).  If you point the camera away from the pole, you’ll get more gradual curves depending on your location.  The photo at the bottom of this post was taken near the equator, in Serengeti National Park, Tanzania, while pointing Southwest.

Speaking of location, let’s find the North Star.  It’s fairly simple and you only need to know one constellation, the Big Dipper or Ursa Major.  I usually reference this constellation rather than the Little Dipper (Ursa Minor), even though Polaris is part of the Little Dipper, because the Big Dipper has ‘brighter’ stars (I know I’m disturbing some astronomers out there with a few colloquial terms and I apologize).  Once you have found the Big Dipper, connect the dots from the bottom of the outside of the dipper (farthest from the handle) to the top of the outside of the dipper.  Now follow that line until you meet the next bright star.  That’s Polaris and it is at the tip of the handle of the Little Dipper.

Serengeti Star Trails As I have practically no experience finding the Southern Celestial Pole, I’m going to borrow from Wikipedia (this is where the astronomers can jump in and give some pointers (har har har)) “Since the southern sky lacks an easily visible pole star, Alpha and Gamma (known as Acrux and Gacrux respectively) are commonly used to mark south. Tracing a line from Gacrux to Acrux and extending it for approximately 4.5 times the distance between the 2 stars leads to a point close to the Southern Celestial Pole. Alternatively, if a line is constructed perpendicularly between Alpha Centauri and Beta Centauri, the point where the above mentioned line and this line intersect marks the Southern Celestial Pole. The two stars of Alpha and Beta Centauri are often referred to as the “Southern Pointers” or just “The Pointers”, allowing people to easily find the asterism of the Southern Cross or the constellation of Crux.”

A helpful reminder when finding either celestial pole is they are as far off the horizon, North or South, as you are from the equator. In other words, the photo at the top was taken in Utah at approximately 38.7°North Latitude, so the North Celestial Pole is 38.7° off the horizon to the North.  This is helpful for visualizing a trip in advance.  If you know your latitude, you can guesstimate what your star pattern will look like.

And that’s the how and why of finding either celestial pole.  Armed with that knowledge, and the DPS post 4 Steps to Creating Star Trails With Stacking Software, it’s time to head outside when the sun goes down and see what you can create!  Feel free to post some of your memorable star trail photos in the comments section.

PHOTO NOTES: The top photo is a stack of 36 images taken over 51 minutes. Each image is 75 seconds in duration shot at 16mm, ISO 1250 f/6.3. The second photo is one single image lasting 618 seconds, f/2.8, ISO 400, 16mm.

Post from: Digital Photography School – Photography Tips.

How To Find The North Star And Why You’d Want To
Peter West Carey
Thu, 22 Jul 2010 14:07:52 GMT

Jun 212010
 

Thank you Louie for taking the time to help expose this recklessness and massacre of our oceans!

I’m in the Gulf now with the OPS crew shooting a horror of epic proportions unfolding here. Reading that BP CEO Tony Hayward is off yachting while whole towns are all out of jobs is so out of control – I’m incredulous – you couldn’t make this stuff up. We were trying to get a tour of the estuaries by an out of work fisherman today but he was forced to take a job with BP – suddenly he couldn’t talk to us. We’re finding that getting anyone to talk is pretty difficult in the Gulf. The oil companies, one of their own effectively destroying the only competing industry, hold all the cards in this fragile high stakes game with the environment now. Hard working people are left with no alternative but to sign non-disclosure agreements and start working for the dark side.

At a time when Japan is being questioned for censoring The Cove the hypocrisy of the right wing in our country (and England) forcing poor fisherman to be silenced is not lost on us. Seeing oily pelicans, egrets and spoonbills trying to feed their young in their breeding grounds in what has becoming the biggest environmental disaster in America is heartbreaking. We aim to give these animals and the environment a voice. But we’re going to use this opportunity to help tell the story of what I believe is the crime of the century, how the burning of fossil fuels is destroying the oceans. The oil spill is just the most visible manifestation of the bigger disaster that has been unfolding in the environment for quite some time.

Acidification of the oceans, which results from the burning of fossil fuels, has been destroying the oceans since the industrial age but only in the last few years has it been found to be one of the largest environmental problems we face.

The only solace I find is that we are on the side of the good fight. It gets me up in the morning, it motivates me to do what we do at OPS against overwhelming odds. Next week The Cove comes out in Japan and that effort made the front page of the NY Times yesterday. People told us that would never happen but we have 20 theaters still holding there. After the Oscars, we used our cameras to reveal an LA restaurant that had secretly been serving sushi made from the endangered sei whale. They were shut down. We recently found restaurants in Seoul, Korea to be serving this fare as well and this morning I was told that DNA tests trace the origin to guess where? Taiji! Like I said, you couldn’t make this stuff up. The restaurant owner is facing five years in jail.

This week the IWC votes to abrogate the moratorium on whaling and I’m told by colleagues there The Cove has stirred up a hornet nest – abuzz also by the London Times creating a sting operation that exposed the Japanese vote-buying scheme.

Thank you all for your support and helping us keep shine a light on the good fight – this kind of evil can’t stand the light!

Onwards and Upwards,

Louie

image, Gina Papabeis, OPS

Report From The Gulf
Sun, 20 Jun 2010 18:06:00 GMT

May 282010
 

WOW!  This is just amazing, my hat is off to Brad Kremer for this one. I won’t ruin it with my blabber, watch and enjoy!

Hayaku: A Time Lapse Journey Through Japan from Brad Kremer on Vimeo.

Hayaku: A time lapse journey through Japan.

Japan is one of the most beautiful countries in the world. This is my Japan. This is one of the many reasons why I love Japan. I shot this in many locations around Japan in the summer of 2009. Some of the location include Tokyo, Matsuyama, Imabari, Nagano, Gifu, and Ishizushisan.

I started this as a personal project to try and capture the beauty that I see in Japan. It started as just that…

But now that I have finished, I see it only as a beginning. This video, along with SAIJO MATSURI (www.vimeo.com/7458088) is just the start of a much larger project that I have now decided to do.

So I hope you enjoy this preview of what is to come in the future.

"Hayaku" definition: Hurry up

Camera: Canon 5DMKII

Additional equipment: Mumford Moco

Music:

Royksopp – Triumphant

The Album Leaf – Window

Mar 162010
 
Had to share this one…not sure if I like the photo or the description better!

This picture was taken just before Hoverball Cat took off at supersonic speed. It sounded like a whistle and a scream and the ground caught fire.

(photo via Uproxx)

This picture was taken just before Hoverball Cat took off at…
Tue, 16 Mar 2010 17:11:06 GMT

 Posted by at 4:11 pm  Tagged with:
Feb 242010
 

Since just over a year ago when I decided to step up to a DSLR and buy a Nikon D90, which I absolutely love, I’ve become more and more appreciative of great photography.  I’m still learning to use Photoshop and Lightroom to turn my ‘snapshots’ into some dramatic photos worth showing off.

Digital Photography School just posted these awesome shots.  I really want to get this good some day.

Landscape photography can provide some of the most awe-inspiring photos out there. But doing it well is the key. Anyone can take a snapshot on their vacation, but it takes a talented photographer (a true artist!) to capture the scene. Lighting, angle, crop, lens, and post processing all play a part in the final image. Combining the various elements together is what makes these 25 landscape photos truly outstanding.

Winter Dusk and Angel's Landing Zion National Park by James Crotty

Winter Dusk and Angel’s Landing Zion National Park by James Crotty

Sunflower Moon 1 by Jim Crotty

Sunflower Moon 1 by Jim Crotty

Change of Direction by James Neeley

Change of Direction by James Neeley

Break in the Storm by James Neeley

Break in the Storm by James Neeley

 Mount Gould in Morning Light by James Neeley

Mount Gould in Morning Light by James Neeley

Rainier Alpenglow by Mike Dawson

Rainier Alpenglow by Mike Dawson

Rise against the storm by Michael Vincent Manalo

Rise against the storm by Michael Vincent Manalo

The Tree by Terry Shuck

The Tree by Terry Shuck

North Gateway Rock by Marcus Panek

North Gateway Rock by Marcus Panek

::HDR-Vertorama:: Shine On You!!! by Leonardo Riano

::HDR-Vertorama:: Shine On You!!! by Leonardo Riano

Evening Shore by Barbara Brown

Evening Shore by Barbara Brown

Night At Owachomo Bridge by John Foster

Night At Owachomo Bridge by John Foster

The Advance of  Light by James Neeley

The Advance of Light by James Neeley

Mobius Arch #6 by Inge Johnsson

Mobius Arch #6 by Inge Johnsson

La Salinas - Isle De Margarita by Rob Diffenderfer

La Salinas – Isle De Margarita by Rob Diffenderfer

Battery Point Lighthouse by Ken Dietz

Battery Point Lighthouse by Ken Dietz

The Forest Is Dreaming by Janel Kaufman

The Forest Is Dreaming by Janel Kaufman

Take You There by Janel Kaufman

Take You There by Janel Kaufman

 Toco Rock by Gregory Scott

Toco Rock by Gregory Scott

Toco Sunrise by Gregory Scott

Toco Sunrise by Gregory Scott

Last purple sky ~HDRI~ by RATEL JULIEN

Last purple sky ~HDRI~ by RATEL JULIEN

Summer sunset ~HDRI~ by RATEL JULIEN

Summer sunset ~HDRI~ by RATEL JULIEN

Zen Tree by Ben Ryan

Zen Tree by Ben Ryan

The Last Best Place by Janel Kaufman

The Last Best Place by Janel Kaufman

Home On The Range by Janel Kaufman

Home On The Range by Janel Kaufman

Post from: Digital Photography School – Photography Tips.

25 Oustanding Landscape Photos of Various Types on Imagekind
Nate Jelovich
Wed, 24 Feb 2010 14:07:29 GMT

Oct 022009
 

From Gizmodo.

 

Wildlife photographer Michael Nichols wanted to photograph a 300-foot-tall redwood in a dense forest with no clear lines of sight. So he built a custom camera rig to take tons of close-ups to stitch together.

The result is a stunning composite of 83 different shots of this incredible tree. Look for a huge foldout of the image in the October issue of National Geographic, and here’s a video of Nichols talking about the process of capturing the image.

Custom Camera Rig Allows For a Stunning Vertical Panorama of a Giant Redwood [Nature]
Adam Frucci
Thu, 01 Oct 2009 18:40:00 GMT

Sep 082009
 

On our recent trip to Gateway, CO for labor day weekend, I knew the scenery was going to be spectacular and was hoping I’d get a chance to get the camera out and get a good time lapse shoot in.

Unfortunately, the full moon was going to keep me from getting a set of a starry night, but being that we were smack dab in the middle of a beautiful canyon, full or green vegetation and gorgeous rock formations, I didn’t give it a second thought.

Mike showed me a fantastic shot he got right out his front door of Thimble Rock highlighted by a stunning rainbow, and right then I knew where I had to setup.  There were clouds building as they came over the mountain behind the house so we knew a rainstorm was eminent.  I quickly got all setup and started grabbing images hopeful that we’d get a little rain followed by that rainbow.  I was excited to see a rainbow show up in a time lapse!

Eventually the rain came and it started REALLY pouring.  I of course had setup the camera under a ledge to keep the rain off, but unfortunately, I couldn’t keep the wind from spraying the lens with a fine mist.  I ran out every 5-10 minutes and tried to keep the lens dry, but that ended up just making it worse as I had shifted the shot just a little several times.  Over the course of about two and a half hours I grabbed about 900 frames of some rather drab weather, no rainbow, and only a second worth of sun in the end video:

 

So it wasn’t much of a video, but a good trial run for that spot.

Determined to get some good weather shot, I setup again the next night around 5:00p.  I could already see that it was going to be a beautiful evening with some dancing clouds creating a kaleidoscope of shadows on the mountains.

I setup my camera on Kindra and Mike’s patio pointing Northwest down Unaweep Canyon facing Thimble Rock and Driggs Mansion and captured a video that is certainly going to be a challenge to top:

 

I can’t believe how well this turned out!  If you look close you can see that I even captured some cars going down the road (00:11, 00:13), the horses and donkeys strolling around (00:10), and even Aliyah and Karen on a little walk around the property (00:30).  I may be easier to see it in the full HD video (link below).  This one was just over 1100 frames, giving me 37 seconds of video.

Get the full HD 1080p video HERE.

Once I can get a good video editing software setup, I’ll add some music to it as well.

Aug 232009
 

The right place at the right time, I’m thinkin’.  AWESOME shot!

Skysidhe intimated* she would post naughty pictures of herself, in the appropriate thread, if I would use these pictures for IOtD.


*Actually Skysidhe didn’t do anything of the sort, but if she’s got a bad memory, maybe I can trick her into it. :haha:
Link

Aug 23, 2009: Red Arrows