2015-09-12 Astrophotography: The Great Galaxy Andromeda

20150905_Andromeda_HDR_DBE_CC_HT_NR_MT_SAT_CB-Edit-2-3The night sky is full of amazing objects that unseen by the naked eye come to life with long camera exposures, but very few produce a sense of scale and significance as powerful as that of the Great Galaxy Andromeda.  Spanning three degrees of our night sky, Andromeda is six times wider than our full moon, making it the largest galaxy in apparent size as seen from Earth.  It is the closest large galaxy to the Milky Way, and perhaps one of it’s most remarkable features is that Continue reading »

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2015-08-29 The Kings of The North Maine Woods

20150807485-2Being a wildlife and nature photographer, for me, one of the greatest draws of the North Maine Woods are the moose.  These lumbering giants possess an awkward beauty and grace unlike any other land animal I have encountered.  Their long legs and wide toed hooves are well adapted for the marshy landscape in which they live.  It amazes me, to see the speed at which they are able to pass through a seemingly impenetrable marshland, thick with grass and deep mud.  In places where I would Continue reading »

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Posted in Wildlife

2015-08-26 Nightlife of the North Maine Woods

20150808_StarTrails_HT_SAT-Edit-2One of the great benefits of visiting remote areas such as the North Maine Woods, is that there are very few people, allowing you to connect with nature in a way that you simply cannot do when surrounded by the hustle and bustle of civilization.  A side effect of being remote, is that there is a lack of human-made light sources to pollute and drown out the night sky.  Perhaps, it would be better to make the statement that a side effect of a concentrated human population, is that there is an abundance of human-made light causing there to be a diminished view of the night sky.  In the North Maine Woods, there are no light pollution side effects from the street lamps, headlights and yard lights of towns and cities, just as nature intended.  Looking up at the night sky from such a remote location is actually Continue reading »

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2015-08-23 North Woods Panoramas

20150808180-2-2Every year I try to make a pilgrimage to the North Woods of Maine. Since 2008 I have been visiting this region of Maine and have developed a deep love for this true wilderness. Most of this area is well out of cell phone service, and once you venture off the beaten path, there are very few people. You cannot realize the significance of this until you have experienced it for yourself. Without connectivity with the rest of the world you quickly settle into an inner calmness and with clarity can focus on the moment, on the natural surroundings. All anxiety drains as the troubles of everyday life fade into the past. The relief is so powerful that even as I type these words, bombarded by the sounds of church bells, cars, sirens, the whine of the computer, the throb of the air conditioner, the airplanes approaching a nearby airport, the chime of an email on my smartphone, I am able to pause, Continue reading »

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2015-07-12 Astrophotography: The Veil Nebula Complex

20150711_The Veil_DBE_CC_HT_NR_SAT_STAR1A few nights ago I was able to enjoy the clearest and darkest skies we have had since mid-April.  It was clear as a bell with minimal atmospheric haze, and only a quarter moon that did not rise until almost 2am. The only detracting elements that I had to contend with was light pollution from nearby Burlington and swarms of ravenous mosquitoes.  I was planning on photographing a part of the sky surrounding the star of Sadr in the constellation of Cygnus, however the skies were Continue reading »

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2015-06-18 Astrophotography: The North American and Pelican Nebula (NGC 7000, IC 5070)

20150617_NGC7000(4)_DBE_CC_HT_HDR_ACDNR_HT_SAT-4I often seem to start these posts off by remarking about how we finally had clear night skies and that it has been cloudy for weeks, but this last stretch of poor visibility has really seemed to drag on and on.  In the last four weeks we have had one very clear night, and it happened to coincide with the full moon.  This makes it very challenging to image faint deep space objects.  Last night, the streak continued and while the stars were actually visible there was a constant layer of high altitude clouds passing through diffusing the light from the sky and preventing it from being truly dark.  I have felt so pent up lately that I decided that I would go out and setup, if only for the sake of exercising my skills with the gear.  As I started to image, I cursed the clouds and yearned for truly clear, dark skies.  I located my practice target, and began to review images to check for exposure settings and composition, and I noticed something about the images that was quite intriguing.  As I studied the image on the back of the camera LCD, I Continue reading »

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2015-06-06 Astrophotography: The Great Hercules Cluster Messier 13

20150607_M13_CROP_DBE_BN_SCNR_HT_HDR_ACDNR2_HT_SAT-2There are over 150 Globular Star Clusters found inside the Milky Way Galaxy.  Larger galaxies can have even more, with Andromeda Galaxy containing more than 500, and Galaxy Messier 87 a staggering 13,000.  These star clusters contain hundreds of thousands of densely packed stars and form a spherical cluster due to the gravitational relationship with one another.  Little is known about Globular Clusters with relation to how they were formed.  There is debate over whether the stars were all formed at the same time, or whether stars were acquired somehow over many generations of stars and hundreds of millions of years.  The theories on formation even change from one star cluster to another, but similarities can be drawn between them.  Most contain older yellow stars and very few young hot stars, which suggest that Continue reading »

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2015-05-28 Astrophotography: The Flaming Star Nebula IC 405

Flaming Star-3I am still very new to astrophotography, and one of the aspects that interest and excite me the most about it, is that there is so much to learn about every facet of this photographic genre.  From image collection to data processing, astrophotography is perhaps the most complicated form of photography that exists.  With persistence and dedication to overcome the challenges inherent in astro, I find that the personal rewards in this growth are immeasurable.  It seems that every time I sit down to dig into this I am able to learn something new, and through this learning process I am able to improve upon my techniques.  A perfect example is the image contained in this blog post.

I captured the photos use to create this image back in April, and was very Continue reading »

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2015-05-23 Astrophotography: The Pleiades Star Cluster

The Pleiades is one of the most beautiful open star clusters found in the winter sky.  It is easily seen by the naked eye even in light polluted sites and has a distinct “dipper” configuration.  Due to it’s prominence in the night sky it is an excellent and common target for the beginner astrophotographer.  In fact, while these images were not my first attempt at astrophotography, The Pleiades was indeed my very first target. Continue reading »

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2015-05-20 Astrophotography: M101 Galaxy

20150521001-Edit (Gradient - Edits)-2Last night we had unexpected clear skies.  The forecast called for partly cloudy skies, but as the sun began to set the remaining wisps of clouds in the upper atmosphere dispersed and much to my delight it was clear from horizon to horizon.  I kept glancing out the window as Venus and Jupiter began to emerge as twighlight took over.  Slowly, the brighter stars began to appear and as the sun’s glow to the west faded the fainter stars began to emerge… and still, no clouds in the sky.  At around 10:30pm as Astronomical Twilight ended (the time of night when it becomes truly dark) I set up my tripod and equatorial tracking mount in the back yard and sighted in on a target that I had not previously photographed. Continue reading »

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