starry shooting night

This week I’m bending the rules on my 7shots theme a little bit. Instead of 7 individual pictures I’ve taken this week I have one video. It’s okay though, since it took over 130 individual shots to make the video it should satisfy my requirement for taking or editing 7 pictures in a week.

Tonight there was a meteor shower. The conditions ended up being perfect for watching the meteor shower, it was a clear night, and it was a new moon, so the stars were at their brightest. We drove to the Northwest corner of Davis to a patch of farmland and took pictures and watched the stars from the side of the road.

I set my fish-eye lens on my camera, stuck the camera on a tripod, attached my remote trigger, and set my camera to continuously take 30 second exposures to try and capture a few shooting stars. The end result is the video you see above.

I’m a bit disappointed with the result. But the great thing about photography, and part of the reason why I like it so much, is that it’s a learning process. I think I’m constantly learning from my mistakes.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERATonight I used my fish-eye lens for the first time. Part of my reason for purchasing the lens (besides it being on sale for Black Friday) was to use it for wide field starry sky shots. I found that it works, but because the field of view is so wide, there needs to be absolutely no light pollution. Because we were still basically in Davis, there were lots of lights on the horizon, which were captured by the lens. And because the front element protrudes so much, any light sources that hit the lens flare really badly, which you can see in the video. So basically what I learned is that if I want to use this lens for starry sky shots I need really dark conditions.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnother thing that I learned recently, is that I can sorta hack my camera to make it more useful for time lapse photography. By default my camera does a dark frame subtraction on any long exposures, which means that on a 30 second exposure I have to wait 30 seconds before taking another shot. I found this little hack online that lets my camera get into debug mode and disable the DFS, which makes my camera able to continuously take long exposures. This discovery has brought new light to my old camera (please pardon the crappy photography pun.)

So anyways with these new findings, I’m really looking forward to bringing my camera out on starry nights. Hopefully my pictures or time lapse videos will come out better next time.

While my camera was continuously taking pictures, we stuck Brenda’s camera on another tripod and started doing light painting. Jack, Deborah and Brenda took turns drawing stuff with a flashlight, and later on we added Brenda’s phone’s flashlight app which (with a lot of effort on Brenda’s part) allowed for rainbow colored lines. We created a cool Christmas card, which hopefully I’ll post somewhere once I get the images from Brenda. It was a lot of fun for a random weekday night.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOn a somewhat unrelated note, I recently started reading this book called “Eyes Wide Open.” The first chapter talks about the beauty of God that exists in the world, quoting one of my favorite passages from the bible, Psalm 19:1-3.

The heavens declare the glory of God;
    the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
Day after day they pour forth speech;
    night after night they reveal knowledge.
They have no speech, they use no words;
    no sound is heard from them.

I think this is the main reason why I like being outdoors so much. It shows the handiwork of God, which shows his creativeness, his glory, his beauty, his power… basically His awesomeness. And if something is that awesome, you not only want to experience more of it, you want to share it with your friends. So I guess that’s where my love for photography comes in. It helps me to share that enjoyment of the outdoors, which I guess is my natural way of sharing the gospel.

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