A Great Year for Astrophotography

Wow! As I sit here blurry eyed, I marvel at what a great year it has been for photographing the sky! And really…I can’t say how much this has forced me to extend my knowledge and perhaps even my skills as a photographer.

Flowers are filled with Color
Florida’s Colorful Flowers

Moving out of my comfort zone, essentially that of a flower/garden photographer, with a passion for macro photography, has been a challenge. Florida is just such a great place to appreciate all that color. It always seemed strange to me that there were people out peering at a black sky, usually in the cold, just hoping to catch a glimmer of a bit of space dust. And.. doesn’t this flower look like something from outer space?

 

But, the eclipse in April moved me into a whole different world, forced me to use a tripod and to learn an awful lot about using my Olympus 75-300mm telephoto lens. I also came to appreciate the available expertise there is on the topic.  Interested? First do what I did and find a local camera club.  The Florida Center for Creative Photography, ended up being a great resource for tons of advice.  Then of course there are the myriad of websites which provide advice to the astrophotographer. These include the biggies, such as NASA,  Space.com, and EarthSky.org,   But a Google search will generate a whole slew of professional and amateur photographers: many provide product reviews and detailed advice on settings and the like. All of these photos were taken with the camera set for manual photography.  Step-by-step information was definitely out there for this low-light photography.

This has been such a great year to just look up.  We have had a total solar eclipse,

a lunar eclipse (only partial in Florida, but full in the west) and three supermoons.

Boat and Supermoon
A Boat Watching the Eclipsing Supermoon

I can even say I learned a lot from my mistakes. I was able to watch the first of the supermoon rise, but in the absence of a critical piece of my tripod, I ended up with an orange blob. Well..at least I have the experience etched in my memory.

A bad picture
How Not to Take a Photo of the Supermoon

Really though, the sky has been the limit and this morning I was able to set up my tripod alongside like-minded folks on Clearwater Beach, set the Olympus OMD-EM5 to manual setting, set my ISO, and shoot the moon.

Supermoon over the beach
Supermoon Eclipse Over Clearwater Beach