Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Great Falls at Sunrise

While I was off work a few days during the Christmas season, I took the opportunity to go the Virginia side of Great Falls National Park and take some pre-sunrise and sunrise pictures.  The wonderful thing about taking pictures 30 minutes or so before the sun rises is you can easily extend your exposure time to 10 seconds or more.  This allows the normally turbulent water to appear smooth and silky.
Pre-sunrise image of Great Falls.  10 second exposure

Red sunrise sky reflecting in the water above Great Falls
High Dynamic Range image of the pre-sunrise sky at Great Falls

It turns out that I was not the only one out there, although I was not as adventurous as he to climb out on the ice rocks so close to the falls.

A fellow photographer capturing the ice on the falls
I wish everyone a Happy New Year and thank you for visiting my blog and leaving comments on my work.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Total Lunar Eclipse 20101221

We had a total lunar eclipse early on the morning of Dec 21st, a rare event to coincide with the 1st day of winter.  Unfortunately, the weather was not the best with a layer of clouds that drifted in and out of the view finder.  More importantly, the rush of Christmas preparations prevented any dedicated all night photography outing.  So, using a variety of tools including The Photographer's Ephemeris to estimate how the moon would move in the sky, I set the camera up before I went to bed.  I set the timer to start taking pictures around 01:30 when the moon entered the Earth's umbra (shadow) and programmed the timer to take a picture every 2 minutes for 99 times (the max on my timer).  That placed the last picture around 04:40, just before the moon left the earth's shadow on the other side.  Using my experience from the Lunar Eclipse in February 2008, I used an exposure setting of F/4, 0.5 seconds and ISO 400.  While this was a good exposure for the moon during the eclipse time of total eclipse, it cause the moon to blow out before and after.  The clouds didn't help any either. 

The image below is a composite of selected (19) of the 99 images I captured.  The lens was a 24mm lens in portrait (vertical) orientation, so the motion you are seeing is how the moon moved down the sky between 01:30 and 04:40 this morning.  Not my best image, but not bad either given that I just set the camera up and went to bed.

Total lunar eclipse from the early morning of Dec 21st 2010