#LPTG13WK24, 52 week challenge, astronomy, astrophotography, camera, camera controls, Camera Mode, camera shake, D7000, D7000 Blog, Digital Camera, Digital Photography, EtX-90EC, Howard Jackman, Late night photography, Learning D7000 controls.Camera Controls, LensProToGo.com 52 week challenge, LPTG, LPTG 52 challenge, LPTG.com 52 week Challenge, Lunar, mirror shake, Moon, Moonset, mountain, New D7000 user, new DSLR, Nikon, Nikon Blog, Nikon D7000, Nikon D7000 Controls, Nikon D7000 From Snapshots to great shots, Oquirrh Mountains, Photography, Photoshop, Prime Focus, Ridgeline, Salt Lake City, Setting, shaky mount, Shooting Mode, silhouette, Still Life, sumoetx, T-thread, Theme: Trees, tree line, trees, Using a Nikon D7000, Utah, week 24, Week 24 of 52, Wireless shutter remote
There is nothing worse than a sharp image of a fuzzy concept.
Combining my two favorite passions of Astronomy and Photography always makes me happy. Seeing the theme of “Trees” I knew right away what I wanted to do, I was going to use my telescope to shoot the Moon setting behind trees on a mountain ridge.
Easier said than done…
Having to wait for the right conditions (my work schedule vs Moonset times) I had scouted out a location on a road that dead ended at the base of the Oquirrh Mountains on the west side of the Salt Lake valley. This would place me about 1 1/2 miles from the mountain ridge, well within range of my Meade ETX-90EC Maksutov Cassegrain telescope.
The Moon was a waning Gibbous and would set about an hour after I got home from work giving me plenty of time to drive and set up. As soon as I walked outside I should have known not to go as it was windy with gusts up to 25mph, but I had to submit my image as I was already late by a few days. I removed the battery grip on the D7000 to lighten the load the telescope mount would have to handle and added the counter weights to the front, I left the tripod at its lowest setting to improve stability and tried to block the wind the best I could with my car, I attached the camera to the telescope using a T-thread adapter and started making test images purposefully underexposing in order to keep my shutter speed as high as I could to counter camera/scope shake. As I looked through the viewfinder I could see that the atmosphere was absolutely boiling and would make capturing details in the lunar surface nearly impossible. Again I should have aborted the shoot, I had the wind and “seeing” against me. I was using my wireless remote to trigger the camera again to minimize camera shake however one thing I forgot to remember was that when using the wireless remote you can’t use the “Mirror Lock Up” function, it needs a wired shutter release cable to work. Strike Three!
It’s surprising how fast the Moon sets and I was snapping shots as fast as I could hoping against all hope that I could get a decent shot, the Moon was setting behind a near perfect scene of a large weathered tree with a small line of trees just a little to the left of it. Watching through the viewfinder was mesmerizing and I was stoked thinking of how cool getting just one clear shot would be to post in the flickr forum. Looking back I realize that with the wind, the turbulent atmosphere, and no Mirror Lock Up I really should have just shot video and pulled out and stacked the best frames to make a final image.
Instead I got this…
Behold a fuzzy image of a sharp concept.
With all due respect to the great Ansel Adams I think I’d rather have a boring picture that’s sharp than this mess…
I plan on re-shooting this, using lessons learned from this experience, as soon as I get it I’ll share it with you.
Thanks for stopping by and I apologize for the crap image, but it’s good to be reminded that not every shot we make is a winner, but it’s a step to getting better.