I'm now selling my photos!!!

I now host galleries of my favorite photos @ www.lloydshell.zenfolio.com Feel free to surf over there to see photo's that may have drifted into the darkest reaches of the archives here on Blogspot.

I also have begun selling my photographs when requested, I can handle most sizes and finishes either locally or via my on-line printing service.

Thanks for looking!


Monday, September 29, 2014

Looking for Aurora Borealis! (But coming up empty...)

A couple of weeks ago I went looking for the Aurora Borealis that were supposed to be widespread and at much further south latitudes than almost ever seen before. Nope, they were a no show. BUT I did take the opportunity while I was out there to shoot the Milky Way, I really had not gotten shots of the Milky Way before that I really liked. Now I can say I am getting closer!

On a technical note, there are a few things you need to do to prepare for this type of thing:

1) Get a really steady, solid, rock solid, thermonuclear proof Tripod & Head combination. 30 second exposures at high ISO are demanding, your support should be helping not hurting.

2) A Headlight that has a red setting so you don't destroy your night vision helps you a LOT!

3) Knowing where your lens focuses at infinity helps to make your shots sharp. Most of the time you will be shooting wide open or barely stopped down. Correct focus is critical.

4) Get a cable release with a timer and use the bulb setting on your camera AND learn how to use it.

So, technical info: I was shooting at ISO 3200 for most of these shots, f4-4.5 for my aperture and 30 second exposures. Cable release in bulb mode, or manual, depending on the shot. With the 2 second timer (Mirror Lock Up Mode) engaged to reduce vibration. I also only extended my first (larger) section of my tripod legs to make it more stable. I have had some shots ruined from having it set too high and getting a little shifting.

The hardest part of this was aiming the lens, you really cannot see the Milky Way through the viewfinder, putting a little bit of landscape in the frame and lighting it with a flashlight can help you set things up. Sometimes you just have to guess. It also helps to remember to stay out of the frame. On this first shot you can see my profile on the lower left edge where I stood for part of the exposure. sigh...

I have really wanted to take a cool selfie, not just the dorky ones people do with their cell phones. This is a start.

I am now facing East towards the rising Moon. There is still some Milky Way in the frame and some clouds for drama. The white balance part of the equation was hard trying to make the sky look nice without making the clouds look mongo funky.

As an experiment I liked this, don't think it is saleable, but I like the richness of the color.