Sunday, August 17, 2014

Summer roundup

3 posts in 3 days faithful readers, I can hardly believe it myself.  My summer is essentially over with the University returning to full swing next week and our programming with the Mount Lemmon SkyCenter and UA Sky School full steam ahead.   I have been promising pictures from Mount Lemmon and without further ado below is an image of several of our domes taken from a very nice vantage point.  I was borrowing a friends Canon 6D which is a full frame camera (and a dream of mine) and using my 24-105mm zoom lens.  The image (as all of them in this post) is presented at a reduced resolution.  Overall I was very impressed with the dynamic range of 6D as well as the low noise when shooting at high ISO.

Any self-respecting blog post sharing images from Mount Lemmon must include a sunset.  No matter how many times I have watched sunset (more than I can count) from the summit, it is far and away my favorite experience on the mountain.  The image below was taken from the northwest area of the summit ridge while sitting quietly with a group of high school students visiting from Fryeburg Academy in Maine.  This was taken with my Canon T2i and a 10-22mm zoom lens.

This weekend we have seen some monsoon thunderstorms of the variety that make 2 months of no astronomical observing worthwhile.  These storms are simply ferocious with winds raging to 60 mph, driving rains, and lightning that can strike fear in even the most seasoned natives among us.  One of the benefits to these storms are the multitude of photographic opportunities that precede and follow them.  Below are two images from the storm we had Friday night.  Both images preceded the sunset storm with the clouds high in the western sky and rainbow in the eastern sky.

Both of these images were among the first I have taken with a new Rokinon 14mm f/2.8 lends that I received on Friday.  I had just enough time to open the box, attach it to my Canon T2i and run outside.  I purchased this lens primarily for use in shooting the milky way due to it's fast aperture and reputation.  That being said, I was very impressed with the way the lens handled the spectacular colors in the evening sky and I will certainly be playing with this in the daytime as well.  This summer I had the opportunity to make a new friend, Jon Webb, at the Grand Canyon Star Party and he introduced me to this lens.  He spent the week imaging the Milky Way with this lens and you can see his results below.

Timelapse in Canyon Country from Jon Webb on Vimeo.
This short series of night and day sky time-lapse videos were taken during the summer of 2014 between Arches National Park, Canyonlands National Park and on the north rim of the Grand Canyon national park. While this video was not sponsored by the U.S. National Park Service (NPS) I would like to thank the NPS and all its employees for maintaining such beautiful locations so that I and others can enjoy the night sky from them. I would also like to thank the Saguaro Astronomy Club in Phoenix, AZ for hosting the star party on the north rim of the Grand Canyon where part of this footage was shot. Finally, while I do not own the rights to the soundtrack I would like to highlight the music, Human Legacy, produced by Ivan Torrent and I highly recommend viewers of this video check out his music.

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