Saturday, March 16, 2013

Comet Pan-Starrs

Night before last we sat out on our front porch and found the comet Pan-Starrs with our binoculars.  We've been comet watching before but this was by far the easiest to spot of any we've seen.  By the time the sky is almost dark, it is still high enough to be visible.  Each night it is farther from the moon, but it is at about the 5:00 position about 30 degrees above the horizon.  

Tonight I wanted a cleaner view of the sky - so we went to Chandler Road just west of Toll 130.  This happens to be one of my favorite places to photograph lightning.  The city lights are far enough away that they are not too distracting.  There is also a nice paved area that is out of the way of traffic.

I've cropped these photos - and used Adobe Camera Raw to brighten the exposure and darken the sky.  

 I photographed these with my Canon 5D MK III and my Sigma 300-800mm lens at 800mm.

Sometimes you know that  you're not going to get award winning photos. For this one, I had to focus on one of the light towers in the distance and then set to manual focus to keep the focus.  The wind was gusting which makes a bigger difference with a big lens even on a sturdy tripod.  And . . . I couldn't see the comet through the view finder - which meant I was guessing each photo and then repositioning to try again.

The comet was eventually obscured by a small clump of trees.  But even if these are not award winning photos - they are nice memory photos - and another small adventure for Henry and me.