The night sky is a fascinating place!
I follow several photographers on Facebook…the new frontier for modern photographic processes…who each post about a photo a week that shows some exquisite night scene they’ve captured.
Night photography has been growing by leaps and bounds because of improvements in cameras. The best cameras now have sensors to record their images that are the same size as the old 35mm film images…rather than about half that size.
Size matters, but the biggest effort now is to develop pixels that can record what I call “deep and wide” information. Rather than just throw more pixels on a sensor…so they get smaller and smaller…the technology is devoting attention to making larger pixels that are more sophisticated.
Sony sells a camera whose pixels can record a range of exposure that is about five to seven times greater than the typical sensor AND can operate up to a sensitivity of ISO 25,000 without appreciable noise. Just two years ago, a camera that could shoot at ISO 1200 without much noise was doing very well!
So suddenly everyone wants to shoot the Milky Way above Delicate Arch in Utah at what looks like noon….
I sure do….
Until I get there….physically, and up to par with the technology…here are some pictures I took a few nights ago.
All three show the moon taken about 3 1/2 hours after sunset. The moon was only an 8% sliver. Each picture was taken from a slightly different vantage point that overlooked the ocean. Click on each one so it will fill your screen.
Notice in the first image, the camera is able to slightly over-expose the bright sliver of moon and capture the dark portion! Even a small sliver casts a bright reflection on the ocean waves. Only the brightest stars show.
In the second image, the moon is soooo over-exposed it shows as a bright ball and creates some flair as a small hot-spot above. As I took this photo, everything in front of the camera was utterly black except the sliver moon and some of the brighter stars! The bright reflection burning toward the camera could not be seen at all with the naked eye! The bright spot on the water near the right edge was from car headlights in another parking lot overlooking the ocean.
The final image shows the moon just moments before it slipped beneath the waves. Its orange color results from its light passing through the Earth’s atmosphere at a low angle. You’d swear it was a sunset…except for the stars!