Featured Photo

Space; the Final Frontier. No, I’m not going start talking about this ship’s continuing voyages but I am going to talk a little about astrophotography. That really big word (which I do enjoy saying) just means taking pictures of stars, planets, and the moon. While it can cover such things as the pictures the Hubble Space Telescope took, in this instances I’m thinking more amateur and terra firma based.

Marc’s photo above is a great star trail photo. If you didn’t know, the night sky is in constant motion because the Earth is rotating. If you’re skilled enough, you can capture this motion in photo form in two ways. The easier (and that does not mean easy) way is to use film; using a low ISO, or low-light sensitive, film, a photographer can keep the camera’s shutter open for very long periods of time (as in hours) to capture the celestial movement.

The other way, which is what Marc did, is to take multiple shorter exposures (say 30 to 60 seconds each) and then layer them in a photo editing programming, like Photoshop, to combine them into a single shot. You might think this is cheating, but it’s the only way to do it with digital photography; since digital cameras are sensor based, not a physical medium like film, keeping a digital camera running long enough to capture star trails would overheat the sensor and ruin the shot. So layering multiple shots is the only way to achieve it. Also, combining dozens of shots is not a simple task. This is something I hope to try someday and I’m always thrilled to see photographers nail. Great work Marc!

Brian is so DC. Born on Pennsylvania Ave (not there) to a lifelong Federal worker father and a mother who has worked for Garfinkel’s, the Smithsonian, and Mount Vernon. Raised on the “mean streets” of Cheverly, MD; went to high school at Gonzaga College High School (Hail Alma Mater!); and now trolls the corridors of Congress as a lobbyist, you couldn’t write a more quintessentially DC back-story. When he isn’t trying to save the country from itself, Brian can be found walking DC looking for that perfect photograph.

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One thought on “Featured Photo

  1. Wow, thanks Brian. I’m really honored to have a photo featured here.

    You are correct on the process. I took ninety 25 second exposures over about a 45 minute timeframe. Actually only the first 75 were usable as I failed to notice the condensation that formed on the lens for the last 15 shots. A little known (at least by me) lesson learned for the next time.