The Olympus E-M1II and backyard astrophotography

A lot of people are still waiting for their pre-ordered Olympus OM-D E-M1II cameras to arrive — in the meantime, a number of them asked to see some high-ISO photographs to judge the camera’s abilities in the realm of astrophotography.  After days of waiting, I finally got clear night skies where I live, so took some shots of the constellation Orion.  Please bear in mind that I live in the south Denver metro area, so have to deal with light pollution — here’s the view looking south toward Orion from my house (enough sky glow to silhouette bits of a telephone pole and two trees):

Orion at ISO 1600

For the above image, the EXIF is E-M1II,  12-40mm Pro lens @ 17mm, f/5.6, ISO 1600, 8.0 seconds.  This is a SOOC image, by the way — all I’ve done to it is RAW conversion and scaling (to fit my blog’s template) in Lightroom.

But I didn’t only take this one image — I took a series of them, all unguided (i.e., on a still tripod): Continue reading

Star trails and Perseids

The Perseid meteor shower had its peak a few days ago (late August 12 / early August 13 in North America), and since I both live in an urban area (bright night skies) and had cloudy weather that night, missed out on what must have been a good show.

But as luck would have it, we own a small bit of land in southern Colorado’s San Juan Mountains — a dark sky sort of place — and I’d already planned on traveling down for the weekend to do some maintenance work.  So, I thought I should try to capture some lagging Perseids the night of the 13th / 14th — here’s my first shot from the series:

Crowded skies

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Morning comes to Flores

Sunrise in Flores, Guatemala:

Morning comes to Flores

We didn’t get to spend much time in Flores on our autumn trip to the Yucatan — really, just a night sandwiched between the ruins of Tikal and our flight east to Belize.  But we had a great night on the island, and were greeted in the morning by this amazing sunrise.

The original part of Flores (where we stayed) is an island in Lake Peten Itza — it was once the last Maya holdout (from the conquistadors) in the Yucatan peninsula.  Now the island is connected to the mainland by a causeway, and the town of Flores covers more ground there than on the island.

Scooting on around

So I went on a little trip to Texas last week for business, and managed to grab a window seat on the way down.  This gave me a fantastic view when our plane’s flight crew had to play dodge-the-thunderhead a few times on the way.

Scooting on around

This is just one of the beasts we had to work our way around (the orange tint is from the last bits of sunset working their way through the clouds).

Waiting for a break in the weather

Life’s been a bit busy for us lately, but we managed to run off into the mountains for a little R&R over the July 4th extended weekend.  One of our stops was the neat little ghost town of Ashcroft, near Aspen.  On our way through the sights, my daughter alerted me to this little hummingbird perched on an old bit of wood.

Waiting for a break in the weather

Fortunately for me, this little guy was very patient on his perch — alert and watchful, but never startling or making any apparent move to fly off.

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