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Winter Solstice Lunar Eclipse

December 21, 2010

Like thousands of others, last night I braved the chilly temperatures to photograph the first winter solstice lunar eclipse since 1638 and the last during my lifetime. I recently took an online photography class on night photography with the stunning photographer (and great teacher) Kent Weakley where I learned about photographing the moon, among other things. I was excited to get out there and apply what I’d learned.

This kind of activity really exposes weaknesses in lenses and though my Panasonic DMC-FZ50 is a good camera, a higher quality DSLR with an exceptional lens would have been wonderful to have last night. Still, I’m quite pleased with how many of the images came out. Here are some of the better ones in a sequence of six (click on the image to get the full resolution):

The first four images were taken with the Tungsten filter applied. This is what gives the blue-gray tint. The fifth image was shot with the daylight filter and the last image with the Shady setting applied. This enhanced the red glow. I wish I had shot the latter two with Tungsten, as well, but what can you do.

Here is the sequence again with the image information (click image for full resolution):

Unfortunately, my photos of the eclipse when it was at its greatest (3:17am) didn’t come out. I wish I had known about Bob Atkins’ excellent discussion of lunar eclipse photography prior to starting to shoot the photos. Mine suffer from f-stops that are either too wide or not wide enough and exposures that are too long.

Because the night was so clear, however, I did get a chance to take some photos of the starts, especially Orion, which I have long loved to gaze at. (Ironically, back in college I wrote a poem that included a lunar eclipse and “Orion’s belt pointed at the shadowed moon.” If I can find it I’ll post some lines that relate.) Here are a couple:

Orion and the Little Dipper
Panasonic DMC-FZ50
Tiffen 55mm UV Filter, Shady Setting
ISO 200; F/2.8; 25 seconds; 7.4mm

Orion and the Little Dipper in Tungsten
Panasonic DMC-FZ50
Tiffen 55mm UV Filter, Tungsten Setting
ISO 200; F/2.8; 30 seconds; 7.4mm

All in all, a fun evening on the back deck. Totally worth staying up until 4:00am.

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shooting the moon at the blue hour

September 23, 2010

I’m currently enrolled in an online photography class with Kent Weakley about night photography and I’m really enjoying it. I’ve learned much more than I ever expected. We’ve had a few assignments, the first being to get out and shoot during the blue hour, and the second to shoot the moon. I missed the blue hour shoot the first night and though I was out ready and waiting, the moon was behind haze the second night, so I tried to combine both this evening. Here are some of the shots that I got, in order, with some explanation.

I was hoping the moon would have appeared nice and bright just to the left of the Ferris Wheel. No such luck:

Ferris Wheel at Moonrise, Tungsten, Thursday Night
Panasonic DMC-FZ50
Tiffen 55mm UV Filter, Tungsten Setting
ISO 100; F/11; 1/25; 95mm

Hazy MoonThe Hazy Moon at Moonrise, Wednesday Night
Panasonic DMC-FZ50
Tiffen 55mm UV Filter
ISO 100; F/11; 1/13; 199mm

First Moon Shot, Thursday Night
Panasonic DMC-FZ50
Tiffen 55mm UV Filter
ISO 100; F/3.6; 1/25; 291mm

continue…

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Scanning Canon AE-1 Yosemite Negatives

August 18, 2010

I’m starting to scan negatives from our summer trip to Yosemite. Before my Canon AE-1 battery ran out, I was shooting with Fuji Acros APA 100 and 400 using yellow or red filters. A problem that I’ve run in to is that the scanning software I use, Silverfast SE, does not have film profile for Fuji Acros.

After experimenting a bit, I decided that the profile for Kodak T-Max 100 with settings to scan in color instead of black and white created the nicest feel. I converted to black and white in Photoshop CS3 (I’m looking forward to getting CS5 because I had trouble in the vertical with some dust removal). Here are two early results.

Half Dome (vertical)
Canon AE-1 with Canon Zoom 58mm Macro Lens FD 7-210 1:4
Vivitar VMC Skylight 1A, Tiffen Red 1 (25) Filters
Fuji Acros 100; Scanned in color as Kodak T-Max 100
Photoshop CS3: Blue Filter; Picasa: Slight Shadows

Half Dome (horizontal)
Canon AE-1 with Canon Zoom 58mm Macro Lens FD 7-210 1:4
Vivitar VMC Skylight 1A, Tiffen Red 1 (25) Filters
Fuji Acros 100; Scanned in color as Kodak T-Max 100
Photoshop CS3: High Contrast Blue Filter; Picasa: Slight Shadows

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four photos showing in the 2010 Holga Show

July 29, 2010

Four of my photos are currently showing in The Holga Show (2010). The Holga Show is presented at the Saans Downtown gallery in Salt Lake City, Utah. This year’s show is curated by renowned Holga photographer, CĂ©line Downen, and judged by Richard Floyd, Director of Collections Management at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth (Texas). Three of my photos showed in 2008 and it is great to be included again this year (there was no show in 2009).The show will run until August 16.

The photos are:

Cherry Trunk by Bill Wolff

Cafe Dumont by Bill Wolff

Wigs by Bill Wolff

The Nott Memorial by Bill Wolff

One photo was not accepted:

Donuts and Milk by Bill Wolff

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