August 31, 2010

The light of 100 Billion Stars twinkling off broken glass ...

Now my heart-rate has calmed somewhat I can tell the story

Toinght was a perfect night - still, quiet, a fair time before the moon rose and washed everything out so off to the darkest part of Snells I could think of I go.

Venus was just setting ...

and the Milky Way was out in force ...

with an occasional meteor ...

and I dropped the camera.

Smash, tinkly noises and the sound of my heart stopping.  I rushed back to the car, thinking "oh crap" and sped home to get torch and Jeremy.  We found the remains of something .. and upon getting home discovered it was my UV filter ...

I lucked out

Lens and camera seem fine as rain - Canon build em tough!

August 30, 2010

More Martins Bay

Martins Bay
Originally uploaded by Astronomr
This is one of six shots posted - not counting the 1200mm milky way exclusive.

Martins Bay

Martins Bay
Originally uploaded by Astronomr
This is one of six shots posted - not counting the 1200mm exclusive under this post :D

That cloud is small and Magellanic!

The plan? The plan is victory!

Just come back from the moonrise on Martins Bay .. and yes, the plan was victory!  usual focus issues, star trail issues and almost losing my glasses, not to mention the tide chasing me up the beach ... but DAMN it was worth it ....

Here's a taster, more to come!

Check out Antares!

w00t!  Watch this space!

August 29, 2010

Time to organise

As well as packing to move to a new house in a week - a house with a balcony and a good night sky view to the north and east - I am trying to also get my digital and photographic affairs in order.

So there's some changes afoot.  First one is the renaming of the Flickr account from chickinthepark1 to Astronomr .. which is a little more apropos, links will remain the same.

Then there's the investation of a Tumblr account - - where I will be posting more photography related things, starting with all the shots in the Flickr account that have passed 50 views. You got to start somewhere.

 I also mooched over to Deviant Art, but after reading just what they can do with your photos and artwork, I mooched straight back out again.  I'm not a huge fan of copyright, but also not a huge fan of giving stuff away without permission - if you want to use something of mine, ask for it, it's usually fine :)

So things are progressing :)  Just hope gfkBill texts me with a time to go round and start cleaning The Beast!

Stars in the Mist

Stars in the Mist
Originally uploaded by Astronomr
Misty, Misty and slightly trailing stars (grrrrr)

August 28, 2010

Snells Beach in the Mist

Some stars too!

August 25, 2010

Bright Lights, Small Town

Valhallen isn't the only astro-photography nut around here, although that's scarcely a coincidence. Until the Beast is up and on it's 3 feet, I'll have to content myself with long exposure fun with the 300D we rescued. Hmm, bit of a theme here, fixing up broken and neglected optics! Speaking of which, have a 350D on the way which will be a major mission to fix, but I digress.

Last night featured a gorgeous moon halo, and a very bright Venus, so without further rambling, some pics...

A little noisy, but i like them. Now to figure out how to insert pictures; just getting the links in right was a mission :)

August 24, 2010

Walking the trails ...

While I have been kinda obsessed with astro-photography of late, only through the camera until I can afford a t-mount of course :)  I have till been sniffing around the Flickr groups and the net in general re: Startrails.  In doing so, I found this:

Looks pretty simple, so will try it and let you know how it goes eh?

Been thinking I might do a kit post soon, not done one of them for a while :D

August 23, 2010

Landing at Scotts

Further in the quest to shoot awesome star shots ... and good looking photos in general

Return to Scotts

Return to Scotts
Originally uploaded by chickinthepark1
I got to go sleep now, but here's a single-shot preview of some of the quality I got tonight. I will be doing HDRs as well, when I get some time.

I has a tired, but I also has one HELL of a happy!

August 22, 2010


Just waiting for my batteries to charge!!  Then off to Scott's landing again - on a CLEAR night :)  Lets just see what we can achieve shall we?

No scope with me, but got the camera, so excited!

The epic begins

Well the epic cleaning begins anyways.  Myself and gfkBill road tripped it down to Auckland yesterday so he could take possesion of ... The Beast.

Yes, 12 inches of mirror, 1.7 meters of scope.  And we didn't even have to sacrifice a single goat!  There was some bitter mutterings about curtains from the Bill, but otherwise, was all just lucre.  Which stunned Mini-Bill into comparative silence!

So here begins the restoration of The Beast.

The Beast in situ with gfkBill admiring.

The beast in the car, with gfkBill's butt.

This will give you some idea of the work that needs to be
done - that mirror is going to take some cleaning!

So, the saga begins .. we will be following the cleaning and restoration as closely as we can :)

August 19, 2010

Liquid Metal Sea

Liquid Metal Sea
Originally uploaded by chickinthepark1
Quick moon shot from an hour spent in the rain at Scotts landing ... It's my first nighttime HDR!!

August 13, 2010

For photographers, and a welcome

Welcome to the blog Bill!  Thanks for the awesome first post, although we will never speak of astrology again thank you!!!

In other news, Bill put me onto an awesome website today for calculating how long an exposure you can use before you start to get star trails .. this is awesome for photographers to know, so I decided to post some of the more common southerb stars here, with their declinations, for my not-so-astronomical friends who look at me funny when I say "declination."  Declination is of course how far a star is from the celestial equator :)

So go here:

and here are the stars!!!

Southern Cross
Acrux -63.1575
Gacrux -57.1717

Anilam (middle star of the belt) -1.1958
Betelgeuse 7.4083

Aldebaran 16.5303
Canopus -52.7019
Sirius -16.7286
Formalhault -29.5656
Archenar -57.1831
Antares -26.4547
Vega 38.7936

these are all pulled from Stellarium, which you can get from

And lastly, how to find the south pole:

The reason I'm working around to this is of course my latest few shots, which feature quite rich and not-too-streaky star fields.  This prompted some questions from fellow photo-bunnies, and well here it is :)  Weather looks like poo for the next week or so, which is a pity as there is a beautiful clustering of the moon and several planets tonight ... damn you clouds!

Increasing the Scope

First Post! w00t!

Just kidding - gfkBill has joined 1200mm! I'm about to pickup my new (ok, used... ok, homemade) scope and will be documenting the restoration here, as Jason has kindly invited me into his astrologi... oops, astronomical voyage. So 1200mm will soon be a misnomer - the new scope is a 1700mm, with 12" main mirror. Hoo boy!

The main mirror is currently very dirty and bit fungusy I suspect. So first mission (once we pick the beast up and post some pics) will be to find some distilled water and soap flakes to begin the mirror clean.

1200mm - now with more mm!

August 12, 2010

Celestial Cows II

Celestial Cows II
Originally uploaded by chickinthepark1
Just a quick (30s) shot this evening

Did you know that Cows snore?

August 11, 2010

Vanilla Skies

I been shooting! See?