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Astrophotography

Star bright, city light

Star bright, clouds illuminated by city light. Taken two weeks ago in Roosevelt National Forest. The stars were absolutely gorgeous at 3:30am when this image was taken. While the sky was mostly clear, there were a few clouds. In this image, one is lit from beneath by the lights of Boulder, Colorado. I kind of liked the effect.

Stars dot the night sky while the city lights of Boulder, Colorado illuminate a cloud. (© Tony’s Takes)

Stars dot the night sky while the city lights of Boulder, Colorado illuminate a cloud. (© Tony’s Takes)

A meteoric, starry morning in the mountains

Camping in the Colorado high country is almost always a treat but having your alarm go off at 2:30am at a time when the wind is howling and the temperatures are pushing down toward freezing is not exactly ideal. Nevertheless, I heeded the beeping and got dressed (with long underwear!) and headed out to capture some pictures of the stars.

Smoke from a wildfire on the Western Slope of the state coupled with dust from the strong winds created a bit of a haze in the atmosphere limiting my ability to get a great shot of the lights above. Nevertheless, the pictures came out pretty well.

In this image you see millions of stars, a haze-obscured Milky Way galaxy, and a meteor streaking in from the top right of the frame. Down below, the faintly lit Rocky Mountains with Mount Audubon being the prominent peak.

After about a half hour of snapping pictures the wind and cold had chilled me to the bone so I very quickly made a retreat back to camp for some more rest before the sunrise and the next photo opportunity came along.

The Milky Way galaxy and a streaking meteor are seen above Colorado's Mount Audubon. (© Tony’s Takes)

The Milky Way galaxy and a streaking meteor are seen above Colorado’s Mount Audubon. (© Tony’s Takes)

Love and the Milky Way

Taking pictures of the Milky Way is not something I really have the gear for (too slow of lens) but it is still fun to try every now and then.

While camping in the Colorado high country my son and I headed out in the evening for a few captures. We should have waited till later as there was a bit too much ambient light so my son had the idea to have some fun with light painting while we were out there. He did very well (much better than when I tried to spell it out) and my wife loves the image!

How is this done? Getting pictures of the Milky Way requires the lens to be open a long time – 20 seconds in this case. That allowed my son to stand in front and then use a flashlight pointed toward the camera to spell out the words.

The glow in the lower left part of the image is the lights of the city of Boulder. Taken in Roosevelt National Forest.

'Love' spelled out using light painting while taking pictures of the Milky Way.  (© Tony’s Takes)

‘Love’ spelled out using light painting while taking pictures of the Milky Way. (© Tony’s Takes)

A faint Milky Way on the Great Plains

I took a ‘me day’ off of work yesterday and decided to go explore the Pawnee National Grasslands. With a new moon and clear skies I figured it was a perfect opportunity to try my hand at astrophotography again.

Unfortunately the fates conspired against me as I was delayed leaving home and then had to try to find an open gas station in the middle of nowhere at 4:00am to put air in a tire on my truck that was low. By the time I arrived at my destination, the glow of the sun was already coming over the horizon, dimming the galaxy and stars above.

I managed a couple of shots with the Milky Way although by then it had dimmed considerably. To the left you can see the glow from the approaching sun and on the right the clouds are illuminated by the lights of Greeley, Colorado. You may notice three, very bright ‘stars’ slightly to the right of center in this image in an upside down triangle. Those are actually Saturn, Mars and Antares.

The image came out pretty well although I do wish I would have been able to arrive a half hour or so earlier.

Soon before sunrise, the Milky Way is seen in the skies above the Pawnee National Grasslands in Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

Soon before sunrise, the Milky Way is seen in the skies above the Pawnee National Grasslands in Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

Meteor streaks through the Milky Way

Meteor streaks through the Milky Way.  Of course that isn’t really the case but it sure looks like it.  I tried my hand at some astrophotography this past weekend – only the second time ever for me.

The first night totally bombed as I struggled to get things right.  The second night however I finally had some success.

In the case of this image, I was lucky enough to capture a meteor as it entered the Earth’s atmosphere with the Milky Way in the background.

I was also experimenting with ‘light painting’ by shining a flashlight on the trees in the foreground.  That part of the image I am not so sure I like; I think I would prefer them as just shadows.  What do you think?

Taken in Arapaho National Forest, Colorado.

A meteor streaks through the sky with the Milky Way serving as a backdrop and a Colorado forest in the foreground.  (© Tony’s Takes)

A meteor streaks through the sky with the Milky Way serving as a backdrop and a Colorado forest in the foreground. (© Tony’s Takes)

First attempt at astrophotograhy captures the Milky Way and Perseid meteor shower

Sitting outside by the campfire in Arapaho National Forest the other night, I decided on a whim to try my hand at astrophotography.

All in all, I don’t think they came out too bad. I do regret not cranking up the ISO and not using a faster shutter speed. Nevertheless, I am happy since it is my first attempt and I even managed to capture a few meteors from the Perseid meteor shower.

Nighttime in the Colorado high country allows a few of the Milky Way and Perseid meteor shower. (© Tony’s Takes)

Nighttime in the Colorado high country allows a few of the Milky Way and Perseid meteor shower. (© Tony’s Takes)