Astro-Photography from the Rest Stop

Photo info: FUJIFILM X-E4, 18mm, f/2.8, 13 sec, ISO1600
“Stars Above” Deming, 2021

I woke up early from my highway rest stop accommodations, and while packing up, I decided to put the Fujifilm X-E4 on the tripod and point it up at the Milky Way. I am pretty happy with the result that the XF 18-55mm “kit” lens produced (with some editing in Adobe Lightroom). 🌃

ISS Fly-By

Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 19mm, f/2, 10 sec, ISO800
“ISS Fly-By” Cedar Park, 2020

Tonight the International Space Station (ISS) was very bright as it passed over Texas, and I had my camera and tripod set up to capture it. I didn’t really know what kind of settings to use, so I just went with a typical exposure that I normally do. Unfortunately there were a lot of clouds obscuring the view, but I think the photo turned out okay.

I made a series of 10-second exposures, then stacked them in Photoshop to create the composite image above. You might notice that there appear to be double stars. This is because I hid a few layers in the Photoshop stack when the ISS was passing behind the clouds so the overall cloud coverage would be reduced, and this resulted in the star trails having a gap in them.

FYI, this website is a fantastic resource to see when satellites will be flying overhead. It uses Google Street View to show you exactly where to look from your viewpoint! Just make sure that your watch is synchronized to the atomic clock so you know when to look up.

Perseid Meteor Shower

“Perseid Meteor Shower” Cedar Park, 2020

I tried my hand at capturing some of the meteors of this year’s Perseid Meteor Shower by setting up my X100T’s intervalometer and letting it shoot for a few hours, then checking the results for shooting stars. The five-hour span resulted in seven shooting stars, which I combined into the composite photo above. It’s pretty neat how almost all of them originate from the same point, isn’t it? I’m happy with the results, but next year I will keep the camera going all night which will require that I wake up twice in the middle of the night to reset the camera, unless I upgrade to the latest X100, which can shoot all night all by itself. (my current camera has a 999 exposure limit)

Since I had a lot of images, I created a time-lapse video. It’s not optimal for viewing shooting stars, but I think it’s fun to watch anyways. 😀

Spotting Comet NEOWISE

Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/2.5, 10 sec, ISO800
“Comet NEOWISE” Cedar Park, 2020

I finally saw Comet NEOWISE! Thanks to my friend Jeremy’s tips and advice, I was able to spot the comet just over the treeline and captured a couple of photos with my Fujifilm X100T camera. It’s the first comet I’ve ever seen so I was pretty stoked. 😄☄

Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 19mm, f/2, 13 sec, ISO200
“Comet NEOWISE” Cedar Park, 2020

I make Mariko laugh when I came back from the photo session because I was carrying my tripod/camera, had my headlamp on my forehead, and around my neck was my compass and binoculars. I struck a pose and she said “Dasai!!” (uncool) 🤣

Suburban Stars

Photo info: SONY NEX-6, 0mm, f/0, 13 sec, ISO3200
“House and Stars” Cedar Park, 2020

I managed to take this photo before turning in for the evening (I sleep so early these days!). This 9:15 pm photo still shows a little glow from the sun, but the lack of a moon and the less-polluted skies allow for some decent star photos, even from suburbia. That bright star in the center is actually the planet Venus. Super bright as usual! This is a 13-second exposure using a Sony NEX-6 and Sigma 10-20 mm lens, at a 15 mm full-frame equivalent focal distance, ISO 3200, with a quick edit in Adobe Lightroom 5.7. 🌌