Brilliant Winter Morning Sky

Wednesday, January 23, 2019


Sunrise at 7:33 am CST, Sunday, January 20, 2019. Looking east from the parking lot at Noelridge Christian Church in Cedar Rapids. The sky looked hot, but the temperature wasn't--1 degree above zero F. The panoramic image above was imaged at 1/125 second, f/5.6, ISO 200 and 18mm focal length, and the image below at 1/200 second at f/7.1, ISO 200 and 29mm focal length. Nikon D7200 DSLR camera.


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Strains From Winter Storm Harper

Tuesday, January 22, 2019


This image, looking north from Bowman Woods Park in Cedar Rapids, Iowa at 8:01 pm CST, Friday, January 18, 2019, shows Winter Storm Harper in full bore. A recent forecast for this area had predicted 5-10 inches of snow, but instead the location got around four. Image capture is a 5 second exposure at f/5.6, ISO 200 and 18mm focal length.


8:06 pm. Looking north. Snow falling and wind blowing (directly into the camera). In the background is Boyson Road. Five second exposure at f/13, ISO 200, 18mm focal length.


8:08 pm. Looking the opposite direction from my position in the park. An inquisitive group of deer keep an eye on me as they move up the hill toward the right.


8:11 pm. Four-stitch panorama facing north. Each was a five second exposure at f/14, ISO 200 and 18mm focal length. Air temperature was 21 degrees F.


Aftermath of Harper the following morning and from the same perspective. 8:21 am CST, Saturday, January 19. Air temperature was 14 degrees F. Image is a 1/320 second exposure at f/9, ISO 200 and 18mm focal length.


Also 8:21 am. Looking east from the park at a sun pillar and shadows across the snow field.


8:23 am. Similar image of the sun pillar. Nikon D7200 DSLR camera.


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Super Cold Super Eclipse Super Moon

Monday, January 21, 2019


Okay, I admit it. I'm a wimp when it comes to cold weather. I had planned to drive outside the city limits to use other foreground elements for the upcoming total lunar eclipse on January 20-21, 2019. But with temperatures at zero degrees F and below on the day, I had no intention to venture out in those conditions. Instead, my more comfortable plan was to simply go out on our back deck and shoot the spectacle in thirty minute increments. In between, my camera and I would take refuge back in the warm indoors. Earlier weather forecasts weren't initially promising for the eclipse itself, but when the time came skies were either clear, or with high thin cirrus clouds which did not obscure the moon's disk.

For imaging, I shot at 300mm focal length and secured the manual focus with a strip of gaffer's tape, and of course used a tripod. Imaging information for each capture of the composite is shown below:

January 20-21, 2019 total lunar eclipse composite. Captured from Cedar Rapids, Iowa. 300mm focal length. Left-to-right, from bottom: 7:35 pm. 0 degrees F. 1/320 second exposure at f/20, ISO 400; 9:15 pm. 1 degrees F. 1/320 second exposure at f/11, ISO 400; 9:44 pm. 0 degrees F. 1/320 second exposure at f/11, ISO 400; 10:13 pm. 0 degrees F. 1/320 second exposure at f/7.1, ISO 400; 10;41 pm. 0 degrees F. 1/25 second exposure at f/5.6, ISO 2000, 11:12 pm. 0 degrees F. 1/5 second exposure at f/5.6, ISO 2000; 11:42 pm. 0 degrees F. 1/5 second exposure at f/5.6, ISO 2000; 12:12am. -4 degrees F. 1/640 second exposure at f/5.6, ISO 2000; 12:43am. -2 degrees F. 1/320 second exposure at f/11, ISO 400; 1:11 am. -4 degrees F. 1/320 second exposure at f/16, ISO 400.

Maximum total eclipse occurred at 11:12 pm CST.


Immediately following my last moon capture for the composite image, I noticed a subtle halo around the moon--then coming out of its eclipse phase. The halo is created by ice crystals at high altitude. Three fifth magnitude stars in the constellation Cancer can be clearly seen below and right of the moon in this image looking south at 1:16 am CST, Monday, January 21, 2019.


As the full moon was coming out of its eclipse phase it returned to its full bright glory. Note the stark shadows beneath the trees in this image looking south from Bowman Woods Park in Cedar Rapids, Iowa at 1:21 pm. Air temperature at this time was -4 degrees F. Brrrrrrr!!! (I'll just stay inside...)
Nikon D7200 DSLR camera.



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Early Risers

Monday, January 7, 2019


The moon and planets were early risers on Friday morning, January 4, 2019. This handheld capture looks southeast at 6:43 am CST from Progress Drive in Hiawatha, Iowa. It is a 1/100 second exposure at f/4.2, ISO 10000 and 29mm focal length. The waning crescent moon can be seen just above the roofs at the lower left. Above and right of the moon is the -1.78 magnitude planet Jupiter. Below and right of Jupiter is the 1.03 magnitude star Antares. At upper right is the -4.45 magnitude planet Venus. Air temperature was 27 degrees F. Nikon D7200 DSLR camera.

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Christmas Eve Evening Sky

Wednesday, December 26, 2018


The last glow of the sun accentuated a Christmas Eve sky as seen from the parking lot at Noelridge Christian Church in Cedar Rapids, Iowa on Monday, December 24, 2018. This image is a 1/320-second exposure at f/4.5, ISO 3200, 18mm focal length and looks west at 5:00 pm CST. Air temperature was 27 degrees F. Official sunset on this day was at 4:39 pm. Nikon D7200 DSLR camera.

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Christmas Full Moon Shots

Sunday, December 23, 2018


Shown here are three shots of the full moon, captured one day removed from the winter solstice, shot in quick succession at 9:43 pm CST, Saturday, December 22, 2018. The rising moon was passing in and out of a thin layer of clouds as seen from Brentwood Drive NE in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Each hand-held camera image is a 1/200-second exposure at f/5.6, ISO 5000 and 300mm focal length. Nikon D7200 DSLR camera.

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More Comet Wirtanen

Wednesday, December 19, 2018



Clouds were quickly encroaching the view when I was able to get this capture of the 8.8 magnitude Comet 46P/Wirtanen (arrow) at 9:52 pm CST, Saturday, December 15, 2018. Minutes later and then throughout most of the night the sky was cloudy. Above the comet is the Pleiades star cluster, and at lower left is the 0.84 magnitude star Aldebaran in the constellation Taurus. This image, captured from my back deck in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, is a 5 second exposure at f/5.6, ISO 8000 and 52mm focal length.


One day later and Comet Wirtanen was at its closest approach to Earth. The comet (arrow) is 53 degrees above the horizon in the southeast sky. This image was captured from Bowman Woods Park in Cedar Rapids, Iowa at 7:47 pm CST, Sunday, December 16, 2018. The image is a stack of four frames--3 sky and one ground--with each sky image a five second exposure at f/3.5, ISO 2500 and 18mm focal length. The constellation Orion can be seen just above the horizon. Air temperature was 31 degrees F.


Zoomed in version of the comet (arrow) at 7:58 pm. Four image stack. Each frame is a five second exposure at f/5.6, ISO 6400, 55mm focal length. The Pleiades star cluster is prominently seen at upper right. Nikon D7200 DSLR camera.

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