Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Day 4

The North Star

Icy. Cold. Space

The idea for this shot was to take a star trail photo and hopefully capture a nice, bright meteorite from the Quadrantids that came through last night. Unfortantely I was unable to capture a shooting star but I did capture short star trails, swirling around Polaris.

As usual, I used my Nikon D3000 with 18-55mm kit lens, zoomed out to 18mm. Unlike my other photos thusfar, I didn't use any lens filters. The shot was trigged remotely with my ML-L3 remote shutter release in order to avoid introducing any camera shake. The shutter was open for a little over 15 minutes; officially it was 924.6 seconds @ F8. I kept the ISO at 100 due to more than distracting noise that occurred when I used anything higher than 100.

This was by far my most "involved" shot. Primarily, I wanted to view the meteor shower, but that soon became less important as I had a tough time getting the star trail shot I wanted for this post. It was 24 degrees at the time and I had already been outside for about an hour. Luckily, I have a +15 degree Marmot sleeping bag and it kept me nice and warm through the night. Without the shutter remote and my sleeping bag, this photo would never have happened! I was hoping to get more shots but keeping the shutter open for 10+ minutes is a real battery killer. I do hope to do more astrophotography in the future and so I now know that I will need a few extra batteries.

This shot in particular wasn't my first choice, to be honest. I had hoped to see much longer star trails, but by the time I dialed in the angle and avoided the annoying street lights, my battery was in its death throws. That's not to say that I don't like this photo. I'm very pleased to have captured the North Star with all of the other stars seemingly rotating around it. I did try to get the shot I was hoping for tonight, which is why I'm so late in posting this, but the moon is just over 1/2 full and would be too high in the sky to be able to capture as many stars as I had in this photo. So even though I settled, the shot is still an good memory of the experience of sitting out in the cool winter air and viewing some amazing meteorites.

Stargazing can be a very rewarding way to relax, so long as you are nice and warm! The meteor shower was short but entertaining. The quiet night air really gave me a chance to relect on things and to appreciate on just how small we really are in the universe. I hope every one gets the same chance.

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