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Thursday, August 31, 2006

The end of another productive night

The Hunter and the Bull continue their eternal battle above the Schmidt dome before sunrise a few days ago. Taking advantage of a few rare clear nights before the monsoon ends, this image records the early twilight of dawn before the clouds rolled in again.
A productive few nights on the telescope, with some extremely interesting discoveries, and another full night of images taken with the 20D for the purpose of building a dusk to dawn animation. Canon 20D - 30 seconds, 20mm @ f/1.8, ISO 200

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Deneb, The North American Nebula & the Cygnus Star Clouds

The Monsoon is starting to wind down and the skies are starting to clear again at night.Here is an image deep within the Milky Way in the constellation of Cygnus the Swan. The red nebulosity at top center of the image is NGC 7000 or the North American Nebula. It is named that because its shape looks very much like the North American continent. The bright star to its right is the 1st magnitude star Deneb. Canon 20D - 44 minutes, 70mm @ f/4, ISO 800

Friday, August 25, 2006

Porcelain Bonsai 11238

Canon 20D - 20 seconds, 190mm (Macro) @ f/27, ISO 100

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Porcelain Bonsai 11236

Canon 20D - 121 seconds, 119 mm @ f/22, ISO 100

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Porcelain Bonsai 11242

Canon 20D - 30 seconds, 133mm @ f/22, ISO 100, "Platinotype"

Monday, August 21, 2006

Messier 8 & Messier 20

M8, or the Lagoon Nebula, along with M20, or the Trifid Nebula are two more of the showpieces of the night sky. M8 is the larger, brighter red cloud of gas and dust in the lower part of this image. It is about 60 by 140 light-years across and lies about 5200 light-years distant. The light you see here started on it's journey around the time the pyramids were being built in Ancient Egypt. The distance to the Trifid is not known, with estimates of 2000 - 9000 light-years. Both nebulae are stellar nurseries, where new stars are being formed.
Canon 20D, 30 minutes, 400mm @ f/5, ISO 400

Friday, August 18, 2006

A Handsome Couple, circa 1850

I'm exploring how to emulate early photographic processes using digital cameras and Photoshop. One of the first was invented in France by M. Daguerre around 1839. It involved polishing a silver coated copper plate to a mirror finish and making the plate light sensitive. After a exposure of many seconds to minutes in length, the image was "developed" using Mercury vapors. Each daguerreotype is a unique record. Daguerreotypes were the first wide spread photographic process and was embraced in the United States from the early 1840's through the late 1850's.
This couple was captured over 150 years ago and this is probably the only photograph of them that was ever made. Their names are lost to time. I love the bemused looks on their faces, especially the wife. The depth of the image in the original is amazing. It is impossible to replicate this in any other process.
Daguerreotypes are fragile. A simple touch to the plate can damage or ruin the image. All are covered in glass, but to truely appreciate the image etched in the plate, it has to be removed from it's frame by someone that knows what they are doing. This image is of the raw plate after I removed it to clean the cover glass and remove any loose dust that was on the plate itself.
Considering the lenses of the time, and that the exposure had to be many seconds in length, it is amazing how sharp the focus is and how much detail is visible. In fact, most people sitting for the daguerreotypist were braced to iron stands to restrict their movement. This is why many images from this time period show the sitter with strained looks on their faces. This couple looks very relaxed and at ease. A final touch was the blush of pink that was later added to their cheeks.
Probably a wooden box camera, 30 - 60 second exposure, The ISO was most likely 4 or 5! Levels adjusted and sharpened in Photoshop to bring up the full detail. Even so, this copy doesn't do the original justice.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

It isn't easy being... white.

The vast majority of butterflies that feed on the flowers around my house are Sulfurs, named that because of their yellow coloration typical of the element Sulfur. This one had very tattered wings, which is usually indicative of older butterflies. However, I suspect that because this one is quite a bit more whitish, making it stand out, it has attracted the attention of predators more than normal colored ones. Canon 20D – 1/2000th, 214mm @ f/5, ISO 200

Monday, August 14, 2006

You lookin' at me?

Another shot of Saturday's visitor. I'm pretty sure he couldn't see me, but I think he was suspicious something wasn't quite right. Canon 20D - 1/800th, 300mm @ f/5.6, ISO 800

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Tortoise & Ant

This tortoise kept a wary eye on me as I took its picture yesterday morning. I wonder if he even felt the ant crawling around on his head. Canon 20D - 1/250th, 214mm @ f/11 (Macro), ISO 200

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Beep Beep

This male Roadrunner spent a lot of time on my front porch this afternoon. I had to shoot through the window, so the image isn't as sharp as it could be. Canon 20D - 1/1000th, 263mm @ f/5.6, ISO 800

Friday, August 11, 2006

Serendipity 11038


n : good luck in making unexpected and fortunate discoveries.

I was climbing the hill behind my house to take some images of the growing cumulus clouds building over the Rincon Mountains to the northeast. As I climbed the hill, I noticed how the petals of these flowers, a pale gray-green, contrasted against the reddish-beige of the rocks and gravel of the slope. I haven't seen these plants previously anywhere else and as I climbed past them to get the shoots I was originally there for, I instantly previsualised this image. I had just added a few new tools into my Photoshop toolbox the night before I saw this image. It was serendipitous that I came across this scene the day after I learned how to properly reproduce what I saw in my mind's eye. Canon 20D - 1/100th, 18mm @ f/22, ISO 800

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Tortured Sky

Just as the rain from another monsoonal storm moving in from the southeast started to fall, sunlight streamed through the breaks in the clouds. The lighting lasted only a few minutes and as it started to fade, the rain became heavier and the lightning bolts, closer and more persistent. Canon 20D - 1/60th, 18mm @ f/3.5, ISO 100

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Lightning 10957

The last of this lightning series. The rain was ending so I could see the lights in the distance again. Note the orangey glow to the clouds caused by the Sodium vapor lamps. In the previous images the white glow was the rain lit up by the lightning itself. The pervasive orange glow being obscurated by the rain. The vivid line of light is traffic on Sahuarita Road. Canon 20D - 221 seconds, 55mm @ f/9, ISO 100

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Lightning 10949

Another shot from the storm. Canon 20D - 163 seconds, 55mm @ f/14, ISO 100

Monday, August 07, 2006

Lightning 10950

After waiting most of the Summer, I finally had an evening where the lightning was visible off in the distance and it wasn't raining on me. This storm over Corona de Tucson, about 15 miles distant, produces some interesting sparks along with over an inch of rain. Canon 20D - 247 seconds, 55mm @ f/14, ISO 100

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Another Portrait of Sydney

I've been wanting to expand my photography into other areas. One area is portraiture butI only have one sometimes willing model available at a moments notice. I was sitting on the floor and Sydney was dozing on my chair behind me. (Typical cat, right?) Since she was so relaxed I figured I could get away with pushing in for a few close ups without her moving. Canon 20D - 1/60th, 39mm @ f/5, ISO 400, on camera flash

Friday, August 04, 2006

Cattle & Ocotillos

Heading into town one afternoon, I had to wait while a small group of free range cattle finished crossing a road in my neighborhood. After they passed, I took a few shots of them with my Point & Shoot Olympus C-3020. 1/400th, f/7, ISO 100

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Desert Frog

I knew there were frogs in the deserts of Arizona, but the first night I heard them croaking it took awhile for me to connect the sound with the animal. The frogs in Florida could be deafening on wet nights. These little guys aren't quite so loud, but I'd guess there are fewer of them. I caught this guy swimming away from me and toward the other 20 or 30 frogs in a temporary pond near the house. Am I posting this image because my friend Jim posted a water pic yesterday? You bet! Canon 20D - 1/1600th, 300mm @ f/8, ISO 400

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Wash 802

Another one from the wash series. Canon 20D 1/40th, 18mm @ f/18, ISO 100, Green "filter", Purple toning