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Astrophotography

The Milky Way over Rocky Mountain National Park

Escaping to Colorado’s high country affords you peace and quiet away from the busy Front Range and at night, goodness, the stars you can see are breathtaking.

On this particular evening a couple of weeks ago, I took a short hike from where we were camped to take it all in. Looking south across the Moraine Park area, the darkness was all enveloping but with no light pollution, above were millions of points of light. The Milky Way was working its way across the sky and, in this capture, if you look toward the top you will even see a meteor streaking through.

While I certainly took pictures, I also made sure to stop and sit and just look and listen, taking it all in.

The Milky Way and a faint meteor in the skies over Moraine Park. (© Tony’s Takes)

The Milky Way and a faint meteor in the skies over Moraine Park. (© Tony’s Takes)

The red sun of Krypton

Fans of Superman will get the reference there. 😉

As I mentioned yesterday, the last few days have seen our normally clear, blue Colorado skies obscured with smoke from wildfires in Oregon and Montana. Yesterday morning as I arrived at my photo destination right at sunrise, I couldn’t help but take note of the rather odd coloring of the sun.

The smoke gave it distinctive red coloring and the light was so filtered, I was able to shoot directly at it without any sort of filter. There were even a few sunspots easily visible. Kind of cool but also kind of eerie.

Haze and smoke from wildfires in the western United States colors the rising sun in red. (© Tony’s Takes)

Haze and smoke from wildfires in the western United States colors the rising sun in red. (© Tony’s Takes)

The Milky Way as seen from the Wyoming plains

During a recent visit to our neighboring state to the north, I took the opportunity to get out and do some astrophotography. I don’t really have the right gear to do this justice (need a faster lens) but it is fun to go out and see what I can come up with. Here you do get a pretty good view of our galaxy although there were a few, light clouds that intruded on the view.

A view of the Milky Way as seen from southeastern Wyoming.  (© Tony’s Takes)

A view of the Milky Way as seen from southeastern Wyoming. (© Tony’s Takes)

A view of the Milky Way as seen from southeastern Wyoming.  (© Tony’s Takes)

A view of the Milky Way as seen from southeastern Wyoming. (© Tony’s Takes)

Panorama of the stages of Eclipse 2017

Stepping outside my comfort zone here and piggybacking on some ideas for collages I saw online. This one takes 11 images of the various stages of the solar eclipse from start to finish as seen from Goshen County, Wyoming. I am far from a Photoshop pro as I rarely need to use it for most of my work but this one came out pretty good I think.

All images taken with my Canon 7D Mark II and a Sigma 150-600 Sports.

A collage of images of the various stages of the Great American Eclipse. (© Tony’s Takes)

A collage of images of the various stages of the Great American Eclipse. (© Tony’s Takes)

Partial phases of Eclipse 2017

Three years ago my brother mentioned the eclipse to me and we said then we were going to go and I am so thankful that I did. For the photography I did a lot of reading, planning and practicing and it panned out. I captured the event from start to finish and overall think the pics came out quite well.

Here is a series of eight images together – the top four showing the eclipse beginning and the bottom four showing it ending. Me thinks a trip to Texas in 2024 may be in order! 😉

Various stages of the partially eclipsed sun during the Great American Eclipse.   (© Tony’s Takes)

Various stages of the partially eclipsed sun during the Great American Eclipse. (© Tony’s Takes)

The diamond ring

Oh my. I cannot begin to describe what I experienced yesterday. Eclipse 2017 was everything I had hoped it would be. Breathtaking would be a good word for it.

Here you see the ‘diamond ring effect’ – the few seconds right before the eclipse enters totality. Nothing short of amazing!

I had planned on driving home right afterwards but unfortunately traffic kept me in place. I did actually start to head for home and didn’t make it two miles before hitting a monster traffic jam on this little highway in southeastern Wyoming. Rather than fight it, I turned around and spent another night up here. More pictures to come!

The diamond ring effect of the 2017 total solar eclipse.  (© Tony’s Takes)

The diamond ring effect of the 2017 total solar eclipse. (© Tony’s Takes)

Practicing for the 2017 Great American Eclipse

I received my solar filter and we finally had some sun this afternoon so I got out and there and started getting things nailed down. Not too bad for my first attempt, even got a little sunspot on there. Focusing just perfect will be a challenge but the exposure part is figured out I think. Totally forgot to turn off image stabilization which I need to remember to do. Going to have to come up with a checklist to have with me. Can’t wait!

Full view of the sun using a solar filter. Note the small sunspot toward the bottom right.  (© Tony’s Takes)

Full view of the sun using a solar filter. Note the small sunspot toward the bottom right. (© Tony’s Takes)

High country Milky Way and a shooting star

Browsing through some pics from last year I came across this one that I haven’t shared. Taken on September 11 up at Brainard Lake Recreation Area. Above Mount Audubon lies the Milky Way. Toward the top right of the image you can see a meteor as it enters the Earth’s atmosphere.

I don’t really have the photo gear needed to do high quality #astrophotography but I still love getting out there every now and then and giving it a shot. This particular location is at an altitude over 10,000 feet and away from most of the contaminating influence of city lights which provides for some amazing nighttime sky viewing opportunities.

The Milky Way is seen above Mount Audubon in the Brainard Lake area.  (© Tony’s Takes)

The Milky Way is seen above Mount Audubon in the Brainard Lake area. (© Tony’s Takes)

Bright stars and streaking taillights

The plan was to try to get some quick snaps of the Milky Way at a spot an easy walk from where I was camping a couple of weeks ago at Mary’s Lake in Estes Park, Colorado. I knew the ambient light from the town would be a problem but the biggest issue was one stubborn cloud that insisted on staying right over the heart of the galaxy preventing any chance of getting what I was hoping for. Instead, I panned a bit more to the east toward the clear sky capturing some very bright stars and in this image, the taillights of a car going down the road.

Taillights streak down a road with stars up in the sky in Estes Park, Colorado.  (© Tony’s Takes)

Taillights streak down a road with stars up in the sky in Estes Park, Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)