Showing posts from 2023

Hunting Neptune

  Back in the day, and I mean starting around the turn of last century, you'd hunt for planets by taking photos through your telescope days or weeks apart, and then comparing the two plates.  Today I proved to myself that I have photographed Neptune from my front garden. This evening, I took this shot with my DwarfII - 10x15s exposures, stacked, and filtered to make everything cyan. In theory, somewhere in this image is Neptune. Good luck working out where. Cyan tinted star scape. Somewhere, Neptune is lurking. Last week, I did the same thing, but I tinted this one yellow. Yellow star scape. Neptune still hiding. Next, I composited them in Snapseed, and played with the opacity slider. Can you see Neptune now? Here are the two locations highlighted Neptune in two locations, circled Two very cool things about this. One, I did this with a telescope the size of a 1L UHT carton from my garden in the middle of suburbia! Two, it clearly shows how planets got their name - from the Greek  p

Good News (every) Week

  I do not often plug things. One, I suck at it, two, most things are perfectly good at plugging themselves. For this site, I am making an exception. We all know that there is a lot of horrible stuff going on in the world. And we do need to be informed about it so we can do something about it. But what about the stuff that has had things done about it? We hardly ever hear about that. A few years ago, David Byrne - ex-frontman of Talking Heads, and all-round nice guy, noticed this problem, and started a news site that focuses on solutions from around the world. https:// Well researched and excellently written articles about the good things in the world - giving us all a reminder of why we should keep going.

The Leaning Tower of Gingin and the Sun

  A six-month solargraph taken at the Gingin Gravity Discovery Centre, looking North at the Leaning Tower. Many thanks to the GDC and AIGO for letting me set the cameras up back in December! Scanned using Google Photoscan, and post-processed in Snapseed.

Summing Up What Sort of Photography I Do!

 Folks may have noticed that very little of my photography these days is "normal".  I do still take conventional photos with a fairly ordinary digital camera, but that is mostly my nature photography, and I do not often talk about that.  Great Egret - Herdsman Lake, June 2023. Nikon P900 I also do some astrophotography, up until recently using my mobile phone,  Milky Way, Pixel 6a, Guilderton, June 2022. but more recently with a Dwarf II 'smart telescope'.  Cat's Paw Nebula, Doubleview, June 2023, 98 x 15s frames, stacked in camera. These are not so much telescopes as dedicated astrophotography rigs controlled via a mobile app, and the results speak for themselves. They can align and stack multiple frames all by themselves, and compensate for significant levels of light pollution.  At the other extreme, I also experiment with in-camera cyanotype photography, using an 1830s era chemistry that is best known for making blueprints!  Mandurah Canal House, December 2020

Easy and cheap(ish) Astrophotography

Astrophotography is arguably the most technically demanding discipline in the art of photography, with high demands in both equipment and post-processing. In recent years advances in mobile phone technology have given everyone access to easy wide-field astrophotography, leaving three areas that still require high end equipment: Stellar, Planetary, and Deep-sky.  Is there still a place for high end equipment in wide-field? Absolutely! Just like the Instagram folks are discovering that a real camera takes better photos than a mobile phone, so too will a dedicated astro rig take better photos than a mobile phone.  But the mobile is accessible, cheap, and easy to use - so it will get folks in.  If you can get shots like this in a Bortle 5 area, it will get you excited, and some folks will be inspired enough to go further.  But what about deep sky? Enter the "Smart Telescope".  These are not so much telescopes as dedicated astrophotography rigs. These have many advantages - some o

AI Visual Writing Prompt 16/17 02 2023 and Tannis was not quite sure how she ended up embedded in the middle of a Varan combined tactics formation, but none of them appeared to have noticed her Cerian fighter. "Oh, well, I may as well go with it for now. It is not like they can do much with me in the middle of them, even if they do notice. Who knows? I might even be able to do some good", she mused to herself. A quick glance showed the CVR was running. Not bad last words. With that, she started checking her weapon loads.

Visual Writing Prompt 2023 02 07

Written  In response to this  prompt over in Mastadon. Part 1 Twice a year it came out of the river, always stopping in exactly the same place, no matter what was there. Buildings, vehicles, animals, anything there would be crushed - but it never went any further, and anything along the way was avoided. There it would stand for an hour, and then return to the river. No one knew why, or where it came from, or where it went. But they all agreed that it had a beautiful singing voice. Part 2 You wondering why none of us are worried? Well, it has been doing this for as long as folks have been here. Probably longer. We've had wars come through, and it pays no attention. Mind you, if you shoot something at it, it will come straight back at you! As for the crushing thing, well a few years back Old Harry left his ute there when he was on a bender. Only reason insurance paid up was that it was worth so little to begin with. Then there was that developer guy from out of town. Tried to stand h