First signs of summer: Milky Way

Last night at 1:15 A.M. I decided, that I cannot let this beautifully clear night pass without some astrophotography. I drove up to Farnach, which is only 7.5km away, but provides some nice dark skies above the brightly lit Rhine Valley.

I set up the Vixen Polarie and took pictures using 20mm, 85mm and 300mm lenses.

The summer milky way and the multitude of nebula and clusters hidden in it, never cease to impress me. When I went to bed some hours later, dawn was already breaking. Read More

Taurus Molecular Cloud

Inspite of all the beautiful stars, I have a fascination for the dark stuff lurking between them Today I managed to get almost an hour of exposures of the Taurus molecular cloud,

The dust cloud between the Pleiades and Auriga is called the Taurus molecular cloud, 27x120s (54m), AF-D Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 at f/2.8, Nikon D750, ISO 800.

Read More

Backcountry skiing under the stars

On Easter monday a friend called and asked, if I wanted to join him for a backcountry ski outing to the Nob mountain. It was the last day of service in the Laterns ski resort, so the descent was tough as the slopes were not prepared any more and very icy. With the soft backcountry skis, it was quite rough, and surprisingly loud! But the ascent was very quiet as we walked through the serene dark forests. I took a few quick snaps of the brillant winter sky:

Nikon D750, 1/20s, ISO 2000, AF-D Nikkor 20-35mm f/2.8 at f/2.8.

Nikon D750, 1/20s, ISO 2000, AF-D Nikkor 20-35mm f/2.8 at f/2.8.

The winter milky way can be seen above Orion. the bright star to the left is Sirius. Nikon D750, ISO 3200, 25s, Samyang 14mm at f/3.5

The winter milky way can be seen above Orion. the bright star to the left is Sirius. Nikon D750, ISO 3200, 25s, Samyang 14mm at f/3.5. The elongated haze around Sirius was probably caused by a smudge or fingerprint on the front element of the lens.

On the right side bright Jupiter is visible below the constellation Leo. Nikon D750, ISO 3200, 25s, Samyang 14mm at f/3.5

On the right side bright Jupiter is visible below the constellation Leo. Nikon D750, ISO 3200, 25s, Samyang 14mm at f/3.5. The Big Dipper is in the left part of the image.

A quick shot during our ascent to the summit of the Nob moutain. Nikon D750, ISO 3200, 25s, Samyang 14mm at f/3.5

A quick shot during our ascent to the summit of the Nob moutain. Nikon D750, ISO 3200, 25s, Samyang 14mm at f/3.5. Matthias stood still for the time of the exposure.

Subtropical winter sky

When trying to get some nightime skyscape images from a beach on Sanibel Island in Florida, I slowly became aware of a diffuse light brightening the sky behind the clouds. It took me a while to convince myself it was real, but when my eyes adjusted to the darkness I became more and more convinced that it was. At first I couldn’t make sense of it at all – for a moment I was just thinking, it surely isn’t an aurora as it was in the south-west sky.

Only when I reviewed the images on the camera display I realized that this is the zodiacal light. I found this quite amazing, as at the latitude where I live it is only visible in autumn and spring. In Florida which is much closer to the equator it is also visible in winter due to the high angle of the ecliptic with the horizon.

Two-Panel mosaic showing the Zodiacal light and Milky way over the Gulf of Mexico, Image taken on Sanibel Island, Florida, 30s, f/3.5, ISO 3200, Samyang 14mm, Nkon D750

Two-Panel mosaic showing the Zodiacal light and Milky way over the Gulf of Mexico, Image taken on Sanibel Island, Florida, 30s, f/3.5, ISO 3200, Samyang 14mm, Nkon D750

Read More

Lenses for Astrophotography

Astrophotography Lens Test

A test of wide-angle lenses for astrophotography on FX format. The shots were taken from suburban conditions, the camera was mounted on a static tripod without guiding. The left image is always the full frame, the middle one is the center, and the right one is the upper left corner of the image. Read More

Backpacking Astrophotography

Yesterday afternoon I decided to do some simple astrophotography high up in the mountains. I chose the Cavalljoch as the view to the south is unobstructed. My backpack was way too heavy, but somehow I managed to trek from Schattenlagant to the Cavalljoch. The night was the darkest night I ever experienced. M13 was clearly visible with indirect vision with the unaided eye. Read More