Monthly Archives: August 2014

Astrophotography

Astrophotography is something I’ve always been interested in, but other than the occasional shot of the moon, I haven’t done much of it. Lately, I was reading an article about shooting the sky in light-polluted areas, which is a big deal for me because the light pollution in my area is such that I often can only see handful of the brightest stars. The article suggested using a technique called exposing to the right, which basically means overexposing to just short of the highlights being blown out, then post processing the image to darken the sky while retaining the stars. I was outside last night and decided to try a few shots. Looking to the NNW from my house, all I could see was the big dipper and a handful of surrounding stars – certainly no more than a couple dozen. I pointed my camera at the area and took several shots. The first shot below is the SOOC image, taken at 42mm | f/2.8 | 10 sec | ISO 3200. The second shot is what I came up with after processing. While it will never take the place of good, dark skies, this technique actually worked pretty well. The dozens of stars I could see with the naked eye turned into hundreds, and I also got an unexpected bonus in the streak in the upper right corner of the image, which I learned was actually the International Space Station passing overhead.

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By the way, if you’re looking for information about what’s in orbit over your head at any given time, Heavens Above is a great resource!

New Cards Moo Cards

I’ve been using contact cards I had done at Moo for a couple years now, and I love them, but what with all the site changes and such, I thought it was time for a refresh. Here’s the new design, which I just uploaded and ordered.

The Front

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The cards have different images on the back. These are the 12 that I chose

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Backpacks and Customer Service

I’ve been wanting a new backpack for a while, and I’ve been leaning toward one of f-stop’s packs ever since I checked out Colby Brown’s about 3 years ago. My concern was the fit. I have little stumpy legs, but a very long torso – sort of like 5’6″ legs and a 6’6″ body. I knew their larger packs would fit, but I wasn’t sure about the Loka, which is a mid-size job, and about the size I want. I emailed f-stop’s support expecting a canned answer containing the pack’s specs (like I received from another manufacturer).

By the time I checked my email the next morning, I already had a reply from Steve Sweet, f-stop’s customer service manager. Instead of quoting specs, I was delighted to find a reply that not only gave me measurements that the specs didn’t, but went on to explain the pack’s suspension system and adjustments. He even included photos (11 of them!) showing one of his (tall) colleagues, Danel, wearing the Loka, as well as some of the other packs. Danel also offered to speak with me on the phone to detail his experience with the pack, and address any other concerns that I had. I can tell you that by the time I finished that email, I was ready to buy the Loka, and I did, along with a medium shallow ICU. I would have been tempted to buy something even if it didn’t fit, just because it felt like they gave a damn.

Anyway, I got the pack this past weekend, and took it out for a shakedown run. Fully loaded with all the gear I wanted to carry, it weighed in just under 20 pounds, and after 2 or 3 hours stomping around Rocky Mountain Arsenal, I was still amazingly misery-free, which is saying something given that I hadn’t carried a pack at all this year. I’m thrilled to death with it, and I can tell you that f-stop has earned a loyal customer. Thanks to Steve, Danel, and f-stop for a great pack and awesome customer service.

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Magnificent Skies

I’ve started compiling a new photo series called “Magnificent Skies”, which will center on weather and celestial shots. I’ve selected a few existing shots as the initial entries into the series.

Blood Moon

BloodMoon

Fireworks

Fireworks

Solar Eclipse

SolarEclipse

Waxing Gibbous

WaxingGibbous

Frolicking

Cami did the shooting for Dillon’s senior pictures, and she wasn’t happy with the way they turned out, so she brought them over to see if they could be resurrected. They could, and quite nicely. This was one of the shots we played with. I like it!

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