Welcome to my Astrophotography Blog!

This is a journal of my adventures in astrophotography -- taking images of distant celestial objects. Please look around and feel free to add your comments, questions, and critique to any of the entries by clicking the "comments" button on the bottom of each entry -- or just say "howdy!

And don't forget to click on the images for a larger view!

So choose either the Red pill or the Blue pill and follow me down the wormhole....


Comanche Springs Star Party

Comanche Springs Star Party
Doin' my thang at the Comanche Springs Astronomy Campus (where I often become a "red ghost")

Dallas Sky

Rancho Venado Sky

Atoka Sky

Camanche Springs Sky

Sunday, June 13, 2010


Zion National Park has been one of my favorite places ever since visiting there back in 1990. I have always wanted to return, as well as explore the many other parks in and around the "Four Corners" area on motorcycles. So when my buddy Trey suggested we go to Vegas, rent bikes, and ride to Zion, it was a big "hell yeah!"

I have become a big fan of Wally Pacholka's night photography of the National Parks, so I instantly planned to take my camera kit and tripod with me and try my hand at some night shots. While I was on a Harley Road King, Kim rented a trike (she always wanted to try one). This was perfect, since the trike could easily carry my camera gear!

Me, Kim, Trey, and his wife Laura had a great time riding through the switchbacks and tunnels late at night. We stopped and enjoyed the stars for a while, while I took a few shots.

After returning to the motel, I decided not to retire just yet. Even though we had a big day ahead of us (hiking and the long hot ride back to Vegas), I had not taken the shots I was hoping for. So, I took the trike and headed off into the night while the others slept.

This kind of photography is dependent upon a balance of lighting. If there is no light (no moon or nearby "light pollution"), the terrain will remain dark and featureless in silhouette against the canopy of stars. But if there is too much light (high full moon, big city lights) the terrain will overexpose by the time the stars are looking good, or perhaps blow out the sky altogether.

The moon was due to rise late and I was hoping to use it as a rim light, but there are so many mountains it took too long to see the effects. So I ended up shooting mainly around the Visitor's Center and using the lights there to illuminate he mountains. This worked pretty darn well!

Anyway, this was a LOT of fun. It was really serene without any other tourists (at about 3:00am) and the desert was gorgeous.

These are a few of the photos I took. They were all taken with my Nikon D700 at ISO 3200, 20mm lens at f/4, single 35 sec exposures, just using a tripod.

I'm really looking forward to doing more of these type of images.


DavidP said...

Two words for you.....Palo Duro.

...its even on the way to Okie-Tex.

Neutronman said...

Ahhh... good idea :)

You going back to Okie?

DavidP said...

Back to Okie? You bet!