2017-08-11 Electricity

20170721127-2-2Last month I trekked up to a remote location in the Maine North Woods for a little getaway.  It was just me and Mother Nature.  I spent four nights away from cell phones and computers, “to do” lists, and traffic jams.  I passed the time kayaking, observing wildlife, and reading.  I watched the days pass by in slow motion and allowed my mind to achieve an inner calm.

Last night, sleeping in my bed back in Vermont, I was woken up by a passing lightning storm. As the rain pounded down and the thunder rumbled, I was reminded of my last night in the North Woods where I witnessed a spectacular storm blow in where my little cabin sat.  Inspired by last night’s storm,  Continue reading »

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2017-05-29 Six Months in Deep Space

20170523_M51_LRGB_3-2It’s been way too long since I have posted anything on my blog, and most of you probably have forgotten that it even exists.  For that, I apologize.  It’s been a very [insert lame excuse here] six months, and you all know how those things tend to go.   Hopefully, this post will end the drought and you will see more of my work from both this planet and beyond.

This has been a really challenging year for astronomy, with clear nights far and few between.  I have many Continue reading »

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2016-10-02 The Elephant’s Trunk Nebula IC 1396

20160924_ic1396_2-3I previously imaged this deep space target back in the summer of 2015.  I was using a modified DSLR camera with a camera lens on a basic tracking mount, and not a whole lot of knowledge on what exactly I was doing.  At the time I was quite pleased with the result, although my interpretation of this target was not nearly as appealing as many of the other image I have seen.  This summer I decided that I wanted to upgrade my imaging equipment.  DSLR cameras capture all three color channels (red, green, and blue) at the same time, and give the photographer very little choice over which types of signal he or she wishes to collect.  DSLR cameras are also inherently inefficient at collecting the faint signals that dominate much of the night sky.  After all, Continue reading »

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2016-08-09 The Iris Nebula NGC 7023

I’m not generally one to complain, but I cannot resist mentioning that this summer has been a lousy summer for astronomy.  Until last weekend it had been over two months since we had a truly clear night that coincided with a small crescent or new moon.  We have had many “close to clear” nights, nights that the forecast promised to be clear, when in reality thin layers of high altitude clouds obscured the stars just enough to make imaging impossible.  Last weekend, the streak was broken, and we had three nights back to back where Continue reading »

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2016-07-30 The Great North Woods

20160719169-2Every year I do my best to find the time to get to Northern Maine.  For me, it has almost become a pilgrimage, and I look forward to this annual trip as a way to get off the grid and ironically, recharge.  I find that I am most at peace when I can get away from it all and be close to nature.  Where I go there are no cell phones, texts or emails, or anything resembling a meeting or appointment… unless you consider a sunrise rendezvous with a moose to be a meeting.  This year I planned six nights in Northern Maine (with my father in-law Lee Cordner and good friend Jim Borden), with four of these nights totally off the grid, however a family emergency drew me home after only half of the trip.  Although my visit was short and sweet, I did have two days to enjoy the wilderness, and for that I am thankful. Continue reading »

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2016-07-09 The Sun in Hydrogen Alpha

20160703__stack6__DBE_SAT-Edit-5A couple of months ago I posted a white light image of the Sun captured by using a solar film placed over the front of a camera lens to protect the equipment (and my eyes) from the damaging effects of the suns intense light.  This method works very well for visual observation and basic imaging of sun spots, but does not allow for capturing any of the more dramatic details such as the surface texture, filaments and prominences.  Ever since those first imaging sessions where I shot white light images of the sun I became determined to capture more than these simple sun spot images. Continue reading »

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2016-04-21 The Sun

_20160417_The_Sun_DBE_Final2-3I cannot believe that it has been five months since I have been out with my camera!  The last time I really photographed anything  was back in November when I imaged Messier 33, The Triangulum Galaxy.  Since then, work has gotten in the way of play.  As soon as the Christmas season was over I refocused on the maple sugarwoods, as a strong El Nino not so subtly hinted at a mild winter.  With the chance for early season thaws we had to be ready much earlier than normal, and sure enough our first big sap run came during the first week of February.  With only short periods of down-time, we boiled right through the 15th of April.   I cannot remember a sugaring season where we boiled for ten weeks straight.  Despite the long and intense sugaring season, I Continue reading »

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2015-11-21 The Triangulum Galaxy Messier 33

20151108_M33_CC_HT_HDR_MT_SAT_STARSAT_AWNR_DSE_HTCLIPSAT-2-4This galaxy is quite possibly the most challenging deep space object I have photographed to date.  The actual camera capture was not unlike any other object I have photographed, and it was quite easy to locate and compose.  Achieving optimal exposure duration was not particularly a challenge, and I was able to take images across two nights with 200 and 270 second exposures respectively, with the galaxy prominently displayed in the resulting camera captures.  What made this deep space target so challenging for me, was Continue reading »

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2015-11-07 Astrophotography: The Bubble Nebula NGC 7635

20151104_NGC7635_Bubble_DBE_HT_MT1_SAT-5Get up close and personal.  For the longest time, as a wildlife photographer, I have been striving to get as close to the subject as I can.  I have invested in lenses with long focal lengths to provide me with the ability to “zoom” in, and tried to perfect methods of “sneaking up” to get as close as possible to fill the frame with my subject.  For me it was all about getting that close up portrait where you could, for example, count the hairs on the head of a moose, or discern the details in an eye.  Photographers of many genres are obsessed with getting close, and while there is nothing wrong with this approach, it is easy to forget that a subject is part of the world that surrounds it.  In recent years, as I have matured as a photographer, I have begun to appreciate the environment more, and have been making a conscious effort to include this natural world with my subject.  To me this presentation is more appealing, and while the close up portrait certainly has it’s place, I am more moved by an image when there is environmental context with which to gain perspective.  This same concept applies to astrophotography, where we can  Continue reading »

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2015-09-27 Super Harvest Blood Moon Total Eclipse

20150927155As many of you are aware, last nights total lunar eclipse was a spectacular and extremely rare celestial event.  What made last night’s eclipse particularly unique is that it was the combination of a total eclipse (when the moon is completely eclipsed by the Earth’s shadow as it passes between the sun and the moon), a supermoon (the point in it’s orbit when the moon is closest to the Earth resulting in it’s largest apparent size), and a harvest moon (the full moon closest to the autumnal equinox).  As news agencies the world over have been reporting, Continue reading »

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