Sunday, January 29, 2012

Rho-Oph: Dreaming of Summer

While we are in the midst of winter one cannot help but drift ahead of time to a warmer clime. It is true that Scorpius is emerging from its date with Sol and soon will be filling the early morning southern sky. Dreams of Rho-Oph will soon be fullfilled.

Taken last June during a rare window of opportunity of good weather, but during the work week, so little sleep was afforded. It was worth it of course.

The film, Fuji Acros 100 is a stellar performer for capturing the faint blue reflection nebulae in this region, especially IC4592! On top of that the contrasting dark nebulae (Thank you Mr. Barnard ! ) leap from the frame. The lack of thick star clouds in the upper right is because this is where the central hub of our galaxy tapers off.

I hope to be haunted again this summer by the spirit of E.E. Barnard, shooting this region again as he had done over a hundred years ago, with film and a portrait lens.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Night Trax Aurora Photography

Dennis Anderson is an Alaskan photographer specializing in aurora photography.  I stumbled upon his site and was taken back by his incredible image "Angel Fire" which took top prize in Nordley's 2005 Photo of The Year.  See for yourself!

Angel Fire  Copyright Dennis C. Anderson

Dennis spent years perfecting his craft but took it a step further, producing custom made cameras with lenses suited for the pursuit of perfection and to cope with the frigid Alaska night!  These cameras use medium and large format film, one of which was used with Kodak E100G to capture the award winning photograph.  Kudos to Dennis and his amazing work. 

6x9 Medium Format                  4x5 Large Format

Dennis offers prints in various sizes for sale at his Night Trax web site.
Special thanks to Dennis for use of his images here, all copyright Dennis C. Anderson.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Legacy Astrophotography: The Taurus Dark Cloud

Classic black and white astrophotography using modern orthopanchromatic b&w emulsion.

The image was obtained by using an equatorial mount for tracking during the 60 minute exposure utilizing a Pentax 67 and 105mm f/2.4 lens stopped down to f/4.

Under a dark sky these dark regions in Taurus and Auriga can be glimpsed by the keen observer. Long exposure photographs show an entanglement of dark nebulae rivaling anywhere else in the northern Milky Way. Edward Emerson Bernard was among the first to photograph this region and was delighted by what he recorded.

Barnard photographed this region (Plate 5) on January 9, 1907 revealing more than what can be seen here.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Film Test: E100G & Taurus

Kodak E100G is Kodak's last professional transparency film available. Having used the best transparency film for astrophotography, E200 for years now, I decided it was time to try Kodak's last remaining Ektachrome.

Here is a two frame mosaic, each a 20 minute exposure at f/3.4 using my Pentax Spotmatic II and 50mm f/1.4 SMC Takumar.

E100G lacks the red and blue response E200 holds in spades, but is more sensitive to greens. That is typically a bad formula for an astro film, as skyglow and manmade light pollution would record predominantly.

Reciprocity looks good and with a one stop push this film would be a great alternative to E200 if shooting the brightest regions of our Milky Way, such as those in Sagittarius and Ophiuchus. Star colors are well rendered.

As seen here, the film did record the California nebula and a very pale blue Pleiades. More interesting however is that it handily shows the Taurus Dark Cloud and what appears to be the Zodiacal Band running through Taurus.