Hikers Descending Lions Head under a New Moon

The new moon sets behind Lions Head as hikers descend from the top after watching the sunset.
moon

img_0983

During that photographic session I saw a green deep sky object. I am still battling to identify it and figure out why it is green. The red circle on the right is a hiker, the red circle on theleft is Venus, but what is the green object?

venus

Astro Photography in Bontebok National Park

We went to the Bontebok National park to do some astro-photography. The park is small but beautiful.

Bontebok Park website is here:

There were some clouds early in the evening which cleared up and by 2 am the stars were gorgeous.
Sunset. Clouds to ruin the “seeing”. Nice pictures though.

2

5

10 pm. Still clouds but they do add some interest.

3

8

2 am and the camera is out of focus. Pictures are still pretty good though.

6

7

Save

Save

Save

Astrophotography tips

Learnt over a long and hard period.

Choose dark of the moon and a place with low humidity and no mist or aerosols.
Mount the camera on a sturdy tripod.
Focus the camera using auto focus then switch off auto focus. If it is really dark focus the camera before it is too dark to see as the auto focus refuses point blank to focus on stars.
I use a Canon EOS 60 d with a settings display.
Set the exposure time to 500 / focal length. I use an 11 mm wide angle so 500/11 = 45 second exposure. Any more and the stars will start making trails.
Set the ISO the absolute maximum – mine was 6400
Set the aperture to max f stop. I had F5.6.
Hit the button and then keep your fingers crossed no one switches on a torch at the critical moment.
Repeat till you are frozen, then go inside and drain the heat out the bed which will infuriate your wife and ensure you are never allowed out the house at 3 am ever again
Simple.

Load Shedding has its benefits

The local electricity utility Eskom has supply problems and they drop various parts of the country to ease the burden. There are some benefits.

Living in the middle of the city reduces the chances of good astro-photography till Eskom get it wrong, then the stars come out.

Table Mountain and Lions Head make wonderful back drops.

loadshedding5Saturn and Venus setting.

loadshedding4

loadshedding3

loadshedding2

loadshedding1