Sunset Reflections on a Ranch Pond

A couple new photos taken a local ranch pond in Deer Creek Valley, Bailey, Colorado at sunset. The view is looking towards the south east, so the setting sun is behind the photos. There weren’t many clouds, so I decided to compose the shots with just some sky and more of the clouds reflections on the pond.

(Click on the images to view in my gallery)

Bailey, benches, Colorado, Deer Creek Valley, Landscape, pond, reflections, sunset

Ranch pond in Deer Creek Valley, Bailey Colorado at sunset. Two benches await fishermen.

Bailey, benches, Colorado, Deer Creek Valley, Landscape, pond, reflections, sunset, wildflowers

Ranch Pond in Deer Creek Valley, Bailey Colorado at sunset Reflections with Wild Flowers

The camera was a Canon 5D Mark III at ISO 100 and the lens a Canon 24-70 f2.8L II at f/22 with a circular polarizer and a graduated neutral density filter. With that combination and the low light level, the exposures were fairly long – about 3 seconds.

The pond was in the shadow of the mountains to the rear, so the bank and hill in the background were quite dark in relation to the sky and the reflections on the pond. To bring out the dark areas, in addition to pushing the shadow slider in Photoshop, I used a technique I call semi-HDR toning. Basically, what I do is take a copy of the image and apply Photoshops HDR toning and copy that back onto the original image. I then adjust the opacity slider to something around 30-50% so that the dark areas are brought out but it doesn’t have too much of the unrealistic HDR tone effect.

My New Art Gallery Space

I took the leap and leased space at a local art & gift gallery, Fun & Funky Art Gallery and Gifts, to sell some photography prints It recently opened in downtown Bailey (it’s their 2nd shop – their 1st one is next to Coney Island. My display consists of a few framed prints – one medium sized (The print is13x19) and 4 smaller (8.5×11), a bunch of matted prints and post cards (pre-paid postage).

It’ll be interesting to see how this works out. My approach is to have mostly local locations with a few from other places and astrophotos. I can update/change my inventory at any time, so I can change what I have depending on what sells.

This is my Fun and Funky Gallery space.

This is my Fun and Funky Gallery space.

FunAndFunky2

 

Rainbow and Lightning Time Lapse Video

My previous post showed a couple pictures of a thunderstorm with a rainbow and lightning. Here is a time lapse video from that shoot. The rainbow seems to emanate from a vortex in the clouds (OK, the sound track may be a little overboard…).

Click the Vimeo link in the embedded video to see it in HD.

My intention was just to catch some lightning, I had no idea the rainbow would be there or how the clouds would swirl. The way I shot the sequence was pretty simple – shoot long enough exposures that camera would have enough time to write the images to the memory card and not fill up the buffer. This means there would be very little missed time between exposures so if a bolt struck, I was likely to catch it. I used a Canon 5D Mark III at ISO 100 on aperture priority (so it could adapt to changing light conditions) with a 24-70 2.8 L II at F/22 and a circular polarizing filter. This worked pretty good while it was daylight as exposures were around 2.5 seconds. That gave the camera plenty of time to write to the memory card but as it evening progressed into night, the exposures quickly maxed out at 30 seconds and the frames are totally black. I toyed with the idea of opening up the aperture to keep the exposures under 30 seconds, but decided to just let it run.

Rainbow and lightning

As the evening  thunderstorm developed quickly, I rushed to set up my cameras to try a new way of catching lighting. To my surprise, a rainbow appeared right int the middle of the frame. My approach to catching lightning worked and I got a distant bolt with the rainbow and another that struck less than a half mile away. Since the method involves shooting continuously, I have plenty of frames to make a time lapse video.

Click the images for a larger view

lightning rainbow

A lightning bolt appears to be trying to touch the rainbow

lightning

Lightning strike less than 1/2 mile away

Lunar eclipse time lapse video and how I took it

Something I’ve always wanted to do was a time lapse video of a lunar eclipse where only the moon’s actual motion into and out of the earth’s shadow. Here I’ll show such a video and how I took it.

Here’s a video from the April 15, 2014 lunar eclipse (unfortunately clouds blocked the moon as it was leaving the earth’s shadow)

 

How I took it

First a little explanation. The problem with doing this is a lunar eclipse lasts a few hours and during that time the earth’s shadow moves to the west as the earth rotates but the moon’s orbit has it moving to the east but at a much slower rate. This means that if you just used a camera on a tripod, the eclipse would cover a wide span of the sky and the earth’s shadow moves across the moon in the same direction of the moon’s motion across the sky – here’s an example

 

The moon is moving from left to right but the earth’s shadow appears to also move from left to right making it look like the shadow is catching up to the moon. I always thought that makes it less than obvious what was going on. In order to remedy that, I attached my Canon 70D on a small telescope – an APM/TMB 80mm F/6 (480mm focal length) – mounted on my NJP equatorial mount. An equatorial mount rotates in the opposite direction of the earth’s rotation, thereby keeping the stars (and the earth’s shadow) stationary in the telescope. Another benefit of using this mount is that I can connect it to my laptop and point it at the precise location of mid eclipse.

Here’s a picof the scope and mount

NJP_TMB80

The software I use to control the mount is TheSky version 6 (not the most current version). This allows me to not only control the mount, but to plan on where the moon would be in the frame over the course of the video. The screen shot below shows the field of view with the moon. By changing the time, I can see where the moon would appear at different phases of the eclipse. This allowed me to decide which was the best telescope to use.

MoonTheSky

Once everything was planned and set up, I set the camera to aperture priority so it could try to adjust the expose length. Because the moon moves through the frame, it only got the exposure right mid eclipse and over exposing the moon for the rest of the sequence. I used an intervalometer to space the sequence of exposures and created the video using Virtualdub. Note: if you want to use Virtualdub, download the 32 bit version because many of the plugins for it do not work with the 64 bit version.