Friday, January 4, 2013

Pic of the Day

Orion Constellation is in the middle of the frame
     Orion Constellation – From Everglades National Park, Florida:  Happy New Year!   We were on the road from December 27 through January 3rd for the holidays and did not have time to post.  This year we spent new years in Everglades National Park.  We arrived at the Long Pine Key campground after sundown on December 31.  When I stepped out of the van and looked up, the sky was filled with bright, shinning stars and I was in awe!  I was also remined just how small we really are, on a small planet.  While it had been years since I turned my cameras (film cameras) to the stars I thought this would be a good time to experiment with digital astrophotography. 
     The constellation Orion was rising in the east.  Orion, represented the hunter in Greek mythology, and in ancient Egyptian mythology, it was the heavenly representation of the Pharaoh.  For me, it was the first constellation I remember identifying as a child.  I have spent many hours in my youth looking through a telescope at the great Orion Nebula that lay in the hunters sword, so I had to make Orion my target for the shoot.
      I pointed my camera eastward toward the constellation, and Homestead that lay ten miles to the east.  As I prepared the camera a few clouds began to pass overhead.  Not sure what to expect from the fist shot I pumped the ISO of the camera to 3200 ISO, focused the lens at infinity, opened the aperture to its widest opening, and changed the focal length of the zoom lens to 24mm.  I set the shutter speed to 10 seconds and tripped the shutter.   As I looked skyward a few scattered clouds slowly drifted by, then the shutter closed.  Within ten seconds the image had downloaded from the buffer and I was able to view the photo.  I was pleasantly surprised.  The lights from Homestead, Florida had illuminated the clouds with a red glow, the stars were sharp points and the foreground pine trees lent a perfect earthly perspective.  I was very please with this first attempt of digital astrophotography. 

Nikon D7000, Nikkor 24-85mm f3.5-45 lens, 10seconds @ f3.5 on Tripod.
      The Orion constellation is in the center of the frame.  Orion’s belt is the three vertical stars in a row, placed in the middle of the frame.  The red Giant (star) Betalgeuse is to the left of belt, and forms the hunters right shoulder.  The bright star to the right of belt is Rigel,  which forms the left leg.  Below is a drawing that indicates the outline of the constellation with the stars identified.

               This map has been oriented to match the starfield in the center of the above photograph

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