I was enjoying an online discussion about photographing the stars with a friend in West Virginia tonight when it triggered an idea I had been mulling since a fluke shot I made over a year ago. I was shooting the aurora and noticed the Orion Nebula was visible in one of the shots, albeit very small in the frame, from that moment I wanted to capture it but didn't want to be buying a telescope and moving mount to track the shot so I put the thought on the back burner.
Tonight I decided I might as well try with my Canon 70 - 200mm f2.8, the wide aperture means it pulls in lots of light and the 200mm focal length would get me much closer than my previous (unintended) shot. I needed an ISO of 6400 as the long focal length only gave me a maximum 2.5 second exposure to avoid star trails. So I made 10 exposures of 2.5 seconds each and stacked them in photoshop to bring out as much detail as I could. Though the result is a less than impressive splodge of colour in the night sky I am really pleased with it, using a 200mm lens to grab an image of an object 1344 light years away is pretty cool, gotta love modern technology.
When the clouds killed any chance of making further nebula images I turned around and noticed a weak aurora over the city so grabbed a few shots of that too. All in all it was a great couple of hours on the balcony tonight.
We arrived in Calgary, Canada on 29th December 2011 to continue our journey. This blog is intended to keep our family and friends informed whilst we explore Canada.You can use the RSS feed below to stay updated.
The Shaman, West Texas