Milky Way Photos and Hiking Out of the Chisos Mountains

Photo info: FUJIFILM X-E4, 18mm, f/2.8, 25 sec, ISO3200
“Milky Way” Big Bend, 2021

This morning I woke up at 5 am and right outside my tent was the Milky Way. It was awesome! I got out my Fujifilm X-E4 with 18-55 mm lens, put it on the Ultrapod and took a few shots. There were only a few clouds in the sky so the shots looked pretty good, and I even captured a few shooting stars. In fact, with the 30-second exposure, almost every shot had at least one shooting star in it. It was so cool!

Photo info: Apple iPhone 12 mini, 1.55mm, f/2.4, 1/1000 sec, ISO25
“Sunrise” Big Bend, 2021

Soon, the sun made its way into the day, and after a sunrise photo and some coffee, it was time to hit the trail. We hiked Laguna Meadows Trail all the way down to the Chisos Basin, seeing one large bear along the way. It was digging a hole near the trail so we had to scoot past pretty quickly, bear-spray at the ready. Very exciting!

At the end of the hike, I splurged on a Topo Chico and mango ice cream bar before we hit the road. After a couple of hours we arrived at Fort Stockton and had lunch at Pepito’s, where I had a huge burger. It was a good way to satisfy my hiker hunger!

Photo info: Apple iPhone 12 mini, 1.55mm, f/2.4, 1/1250 sec, ISO25
“Refreshments” Big Bend, 2021

Here are a few more photos and the Strava track from the last day of our Big Bend trip. Enjoy!

Photo info: Apple iPhone 12 mini, 1.55mm, f/2.4, 1/480 sec, ISO25
“Switchback” Big Bend, 2021
Photo info: Apple iPhone 12 mini, 1.55mm, f/2.4, 1/950 sec, ISO25
“Laguna Meadows Trail” Big Bend, 2021
Photo info: Apple iPhone 12 mini, 1.55mm, f/2.4, 1/5300 sec, ISO25
“Casa Grande” Big Bend, 2021
Photo info: Apple iPhone 12 mini, 4.2mm, f/1.6, 1/60 sec, ISO500
“Pepito’s Burger” Fort Stockton, 2021
Photo info: FUJIFILM X-E4, 18mm, f/2.8, 20 sec, ISO3200
“Triple Shooting Stars” Big Bend, 2021

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) 🤣