Love the night sky? Love photographing the night sky? Want to learn to to it even better - and find great places and great people to share the experience with. So do we!

Our blog has lots of juicy technical details and insights on night photography. Give it a read. Give us a shot. And if you're entranced by the night, join us at a workshop.

8th April 2014

Photo with 1 note

In my prior post I displayed a triptych created from a single tulip. This photo is a different purple tulip back lit by daylight and face lit with a compact flourescent light.  This, however is to photos - a focus stack. I layered the sharp background beneath a sharp foreground and use a blending mask to reveal greater depth of field.

In my prior post I displayed a triptych created from a single tulip. This photo is a different purple tulip back lit by daylight and face lit with a compact flourescent light. This, however is to photos - a focus stack. I layered the sharp background beneath a sharp foreground and use a blending mask to reveal greater depth of field.

Tagged: tulipfocusstackingtwoexposuresblendednaturalandartificiallightfotostat

6th April 2014

Photo

My friend and mentor Harold Davis has a wonderful way with flowers both from his techniques for photographing them but especially for the results.  Flowers are accessible to anyone and do not require venturing out into the cold dark night like most of my endeavors… and yet it’s possible to see flowers very differently.  Here you see 3 macro shots… One a literal interior, one a soft exterior, and the third was a hand-held shot with motion blur - also of the interior of a store-bought tulip boquet.   All used a 70-200mm lens with macro extension rings.  My rings do not have focus or aperture control so I stopped down the lens to f/9 using the depth of field preview button and disconnected the lens. That left it at f/9.  I then mounted my extension rings and remounted it all on my older Canon 40D.  Focussing is most easily achived by a combination of zooming and focussing while zoomed in on Live View.

My friend and mentor Harold Davis has a wonderful way with flowers both from his techniques for photographing them but especially for the results. Flowers are accessible to anyone and do not require venturing out into the cold dark night like most of my endeavors… and yet it’s possible to see flowers very differently. Here you see 3 macro shots… One a literal interior, one a soft exterior, and the third was a hand-held shot with motion blur - also of the interior of a store-bought tulip boquet. All used a 70-200mm lens with macro extension rings. My rings do not have focus or aperture control so I stopped down the lens to f/9 using the depth of field preview button and disconnected the lens. That left it at f/9. I then mounted my extension rings and remounted it all on my older Canon 40D. Focussing is most easily achived by a combination of zooming and focussing while zoomed in on Live View.

Tagged: StarCircleAcademy.comStevenChristensontulipmacrotriptychtriplefotostat

1st April 2014

Photo with 1 note

Despite the many light houses along the North Carolina’s Outer Banks, shipwrecks are not all that uncommon.  Not sure how old this one is, but the owners appear to continue to work at salvaging this vessel.

Despite the many light houses along the North Carolina’s Outer Banks, shipwrecks are not all that uncommon. Not sure how old this one is, but the owners appear to continue to work at salvaging this vessel.

Tagged: shipwreckagroundashoreOBXOuterBankNorthCarolinaAtlanticoceansandbeachbeachedsailorsmastfotostat

31st March 2014

Post

Trimming away the Excess (Photoshop)

Trimming away the Excess (Photoshop)

I created a problem for myself twice and with the Total Lunar Eclipse coming in April, 2014 I suspect I’ll be creating the same problem again.  I wanted to record a time-lapse of the May 20, 2012 Annular Solar Eclipse as well as the June 5, 2012 Transit of Venus.  I used a solar filterand an Equatorial Mount to help me track the sun. Unfortunately getting a good polar alignment during daylight is…

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Tagged: aligningautomatedcroppingPhotoshop Trimtrimming

23rd March 2014

Post

Catching the Moon Simplified

Catching the Moon Simplified

Freedom Gazes at the Moon [5_055475-7deB]

Freedom – the statue at the summit of the Nation’s Capitol – Gazes at the rising Moon

One of our popular webinars is Night Photography 111: “Catching the Moon (and the sun)”. The next webinar is April 2, 2014, by the way. Long before the many tools that now exist to help solve for moon+landmark alignments, I began working on a tool I call the MoonChase Tool. As snazzy tools came into being like…

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Tagged: alignmentaltitudeazimuthcalculationsmoonchaseSuntooltrigonometryweb based

14th March 2014

Photo

Up at 3:00 am then driving for an hour and 15 minutes got me to a location where the sky was dark enough to see the Milky Way. Mind you this close to a city of over a Million people the view was not as spectacular as it would be, say at Alabama Hills or Outer Banks, North Carolina, but nonetheless it was there ready to greet me.  You can see the glow of impending sunrise developing on the horizon.  The huge white glob is the planet Venus. Below Venus you see reflected skylight in a small lake, and above that lake is an unidentified city.. possibly Livermore

Up at 3:00 am then driving for an hour and 15 minutes got me to a location where the sky was dark enough to see the Milky Way. Mind you this close to a city of over a Million people the view was not as spectacular as it would be, say at Alabama Hills or Outer Banks, North Carolina, but nonetheless it was there ready to greet me. You can see the glow of impending sunrise developing on the horizon. The huge white glob is the planet Venus. Below Venus you see reflected skylight in a small lake, and above that lake is an unidentified city.. possibly Livermore

Tagged: MilkyWayVenusSunrisemountainSanJoseCaliforniafotostat

13th March 2014

Photo

Apparently this is the place to film a truck or SUV commercial. Subaru, Dodge, and Chevy commercials feature this landscape (though none so far feature star trails!). Alabama Hills is also the setting for many movies - especially old westerns AND Alabama Hills which is between Mt. Whitney and Lone Pine in Southern California has a wonderfully dark sky that offers more than just fantasmical rock shapes and towering mountains. These charms are part of the reason why we frequently hold workshops here (http://alabamahillsworkshop.com). This image is clearly a star trail stacked in lighten mode that has been glued to a separate exposure of the foreground to make a “vertorama”. We first described this technique long ago on our BLOG, you can read about the process here: http://starcircleacademy.com/2010/11/stitching-stars Microsoft ICE was able to stitch the shots together, though I had to clean up some imperfections afterward. The star trail was created with Advanced Stacker PLUS (http://advancedstackerplus.com)

Apparently this is the place to film a truck or SUV commercial. Subaru, Dodge, and Chevy commercials feature this landscape (though none so far feature star trails!). Alabama Hills is also the setting for many movies - especially old westerns AND Alabama Hills which is between Mt. Whitney and Lone Pine in Southern California has a wonderfully dark sky that offers more than just fantasmical rock shapes and towering mountains. These charms are part of the reason why we frequently hold workshops here (http://alabamahillsworkshop.com). This image is clearly a star trail stacked in lighten mode that has been glued to a separate exposure of the foreground to make a “vertorama”. We first described this technique long ago on our BLOG, you can read about the process here: http://starcircleacademy.com/2010/11/stitching-stars Microsoft ICE was able to stitch the shots together, though I had to clean up some imperfections afterward. The star trail was created with Advanced Stacker PLUS (http://advancedstackerplus.com)

Tagged: fotostatlightroom

13th March 2014

Photo

Apparently this is the place to film a truck or SUV commercial. Subaru, Dodge, and Chevy commercials feature this landscape (though none so far feature star trails!). Alabama Hills is also the setting for many movies - especially old westerns AND Alabama Hills which is between Mt. Whitney and Lone Pine in Southern California has a wonderfully dark sky that offers more than just fantasmical rock shapes and towering mountains. These charms are part of the reason why we frequently hold workshops here (http://alabamahillsworkshop.com). This image is clearly a star trail stacked in lighten mode that has been glued to a separate exposure of the foreground to make a “vertorama”. We first described this technique long ago on our BLOG, you can read about the process here: http://starcircleacademy.com/2010/11/stitching-stars Microsoft ICE was able to stitch the shots together, though I had to clean up some imperfections afterward. The star trail was created with Advanced Stacker PLUS (http://advancedstackerplus.com)

Apparently this is the place to film a truck or SUV commercial. Subaru, Dodge, and Chevy commercials feature this landscape (though none so far feature star trails!). Alabama Hills is also the setting for many movies - especially old westerns AND Alabama Hills which is between Mt. Whitney and Lone Pine in Southern California has a wonderfully dark sky that offers more than just fantasmical rock shapes and towering mountains. These charms are part of the reason why we frequently hold workshops here (http://alabamahillsworkshop.com). This image is clearly a star trail stacked in lighten mode that has been glued to a separate exposure of the foreground to make a “vertorama”. We first described this technique long ago on our BLOG, you can read about the process here: http://starcircleacademy.com/2010/11/stitching-stars Microsoft ICE was able to stitch the shots together, though I had to clean up some imperfections afterward. The star trail was created with Advanced Stacker PLUS (http://advancedstackerplus.com)

Tagged: AlabamaHilsNightStarTrailAdvancedStackerPLUSstitchedpanoramavertoramafotostat

1st March 2014

Photo with 3 notes

This lighthouse is less well  known than the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, but it has an interesting history. It was torn down by retreating confederate troops to prevent the Union troups from using it as a lookout. It was rebuilt a few years later.  It also overlooks a very large wildlife sanctuary.  The Hatteras Lighthouse is painted with a spiral black and white stripe and stands just a few feet taller.

This lighthouse is less well known than the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, but it has an interesting history. It was torn down by retreating confederate troops to prevent the Union troups from using it as a lookout. It was rebuilt a few years later. It also overlooks a very large wildlife sanctuary. The Hatteras Lighthouse is painted with a spiral black and white stripe and stands just a few feet taller.

Tagged: BodieLighthouseCivilwarOBXOuterBanksNorthCarolinalightcloudsreedsreflectionamberbrownblackwhitestripes.fotostat

24th February 2014

Panorama with 1 note

Prior to our first Bristlecone Pine Workshop, Harold Davis and I did some scouting during what we hoped would be a clear enough path to get to Patriarch Grove on White Mountain.  However the roads into the grove were impassible due to snow. We had to settle for a view like this.  No complaint!This is a stitch of about 18 overlapping images.  Look carefully and you might spot 3 photographers in the photo. One is obvious, one a bit more subtle, and yet one more you only see their head.[C_009434-500]

Prior to our first Bristlecone Pine Workshop, Harold Davis and I did some scouting during what we hoped would be a clear enough path to get to Patriarch Grove on White Mountain.  However the roads into the grove were impassible due to snow. We had to settle for a view like this.  No complaint!

This is a stitch of about 18 overlapping images.  Look carefully and you might spot 3 photographers in the photo. One is obvious, one a bit more subtle, and yet one more you only see their head.

[C_009434-500]

Tagged: Altitude AttitudeWhite MountainCaliforniaBig PinePanoramastitchsunsetsnowBristlecone Pinesphotographersbelt of venusfotostat