Monday, October 22, 2012

Week 35: Meteor Shower

This weekend was the Orionid meteor shower. I was pretty excited for it and thought it would be a great opportunity to try and get some star photos with meteors streaking through. Back in August I was out in Colorado for another meteor shower and was pretty disappointed by the lack of meteors. I had high hopes for this one. It was supposed to peak between 4am and dawn on Sunday morning with meteors once every minute.

Bound and determined I got myself up and out of the house around 2:30. The shower was supposed to originate from Orion's belt, so I picked some places that would have a good view of Orion and some interesting scenery. I was out until about 4am and didn't see a single meteor, boo. But there were an incredible amount of stars out, so I figured I would take advantage. Here's what I came away with. Only four shots this week, but better than nothing and I'm pretty happy with the four shots.

 I started out at the prairie thinking that scenery would make a nice backdrop with the stars. I was wrong. The shots just weren't working. I got some good stars, but there was really no subject, just boring trees and land. Undeterred, I had an idea. I've taken some shots out at a random cemetery out in the country and thought I could get some good shots there. So I packed up and tried to find an unmarked cemetery, in the dark, at 3:30am. After driving past it 4 times, I finally found it.

This first photo is more for the creepiness factor. Nothing like hanging out in the middle of a cemetery, in the middle of the night, with a bloody Jesus. I liked the composition of this one, but would have preferred if that tree wasn't there on the right.

I was quite happy with how this turned out. The hard thing about night photography is trying to frame things when you can't really see anything through the viewfinder. Luckily I had my headlamp with me, so I was able to use that to light of the sign, get it all framed, then turn it off and take the photo. 

This is easily my favorite of the bunch. I love the framing and composition and the fact that I was able to get a hint of the disk of the Milky Way. Plus the church looks kind of castley, which gives the whole shot a very old European look. If I have the patience I might re-visit this location and use it for some time-lapse shots. Could be very cool.

This one has nothing to do with the previous shots, but it's one I took the weekend before and really liked. I really like HDR when it captures what you see in real life. This was an instance where I just couldn't get the depth and range of color in a single shot, the way I saw it with my eye. Taking three shots and combining them really allowed me to capture things the way I saw it. And it doesn't hurt that the colors were beautiful out at the prairie to begin with. 

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Week 34: Twin Cities

This past weekend I was in Minneapolis to run the Twin Cities Marathon. Unfortunately the one time I wish I had had my camera I didn't bring it with. That's always the way it goes. I would have liked to get more photos on Sunday after the race, but I was a bit tired and kind of ran out of time to do anything. So not many pictures this week, but better than nothing.

This first photo is from my friend Becky's apartment. Cheeky monkey.

Post-race beers chilling on the window-sill in the hotel.  Didn't work so well.

Nighttime view outside of the hotel window. 

Long-exposure shot from a bridge over the highway. I'm pretty sure we ran past that cathedral during the race. 

HDR shot outside of the hotel window.