World at night
World at night
The nights in Ticino and now in Mürren were starry. The winter constellation of Orion is near sunrise in the south, which allows a “late” rising. This morning I was able to capture Orion with the red color of its nebula in the center of the dagger. So dark was it on the local helicopter landing site of Mürren. Somewhat to the left of the top of the Jungfrau one could see a faint zodiacal light.
Earthlight, Jupiter and Saturn
The sun is setting in the west. The Moon moves east and setting in the west, too. If one compares the position of the Moon relative to the prominent planets Saturn and Jupiter, because they appear close to each other, it is no longer below the two, but to the east next to them.
Temporarily there was much less haze today, so that the earthlight (in german: aschfahles Mondlicht) of the moon in the right hand image is very well visible. Yesterday you could only guess. With the spotting scope the crescent moon shows up well detailed.
The spotting scope allows to photograph the two planets Saturn and Jupiter with a full frame camera in a single field of view at lowest magnification (x30, which is about 800mm focal length). The structure of the planets ist better outlined with short exposure times (see insets), the Galilean moons of Jupiter need a longer one.
Thanks to the hint of a friend, I was again aware of the rare constellation of the approach of the two planets that I had observed during the summer. The 21st by December, Jupiter and Saturn were to be only 6 arc minutes apart. Unfortunately, the weather forecasts are not favorable, which is why I hardly figured out a chance to see anything about it at all.
Unexpectedly, the clouds disappeared during the day to retreat th the edge of the Rhine Rifle, where we were allowed to see them in the evening. At the beginning of our photo session we watched the Rhine Valley with our bright and long reaching optics.
First Lorenz discovered the crescent moon in the clouds. It could have sunk our courage, in fact as darkness fell conditions steadily improved.
At the time, it was still too bright to see the planets.
Finally we managed to take pictures of the crescent moon with the the planets Jupiter (the brighter and bigger one of both) and Saturn close to each other before the increasingly yellow moon disappeared in the dark clouds. There was even a little of the ashen moonlight to be seen. Wonderful.
In our vicinity there is a quarry that shone over to us in the afternoon with its warm colors. Loading the car with the heavy photo equipment, I drove there to try a few shots. The grounds were not as welcoming a I had imagined. Concrete paths and many closed gates that hindered a free study of light conditions. A remarkable amount of people on the road, often with dogs.
The quarry named Referenz was used to mine for quartz porphyry, a red stone similar to granite, either used for road construction or e.g. statues. One rock formation was outstanding, with trees on it and a warm and yellow surface.
On a mountain north of river Neckar through Heidelberg that was used spiritually by different subsequent cultures, there is a ruin of the monastery St. Stephan, with an arch that has probably bee reconstructed. It was already pretty dark when I got there. For the following shot it took me 2 minutes exposure time and 2 more minutes for noise reduction. You don’t see it.
The Heidelberg Castle is always a great sight. It was almost too late to find a balance between the decreasing daylight and the electrical illumination. Nevertheless, with a single 90s shot at ISO 400and f/8, the basis for this image, which is a kind of negative, was achieved. The dark Heidelberg Castle dominates the scene.
Painterly strokes or magnetic fields ?
A short trip for recreation in Bavaria led us to a completely sunny Bad Tölz at the Isar river. That way I also increased my knowledge of local geography. With a long time exposure, taken without a filter, only with a large aperture and low ISO, some assembled pebbles on the ground instead of a tripod, I wanted to capture the wave play of river Isar.
It was only in our hotel on the computer that the resulting structure became more interesting and clear to me. For Christa the image shows picturesque brush strokes of an oil painting. I can think of the surface structure of the sun which is a fiery dance of magnetic field lines and mass distributions of hydrogen.
In the evening a long sunset glowed for us in Königsdorf. The rotational planes of sun, moon and earth are quite close and in a few days we expect a partial lunar eclipse.
The light takes 8 minutes from the sun to the earth. Due to atmosphere it remains visible to us longer than the sun itself.
Dark Earth, blazing sky, vast universe
Every time the moon wanes and an ever narrower crescent becomes visible, we enjoy the sight of an almost perfect circular disk with a narrowly illuminated edge. Due to the nearby elevations of the Kraichgau around the Königstuhl, the moon rises here in Rohrbach later as the announcements of the observation programs indicate. Yesterday, short after 6 o’clock in the morning I obtained the following image, drunk with sleep, no tripod, camera settings still correct for Japan, and an empty battery. Some of the treetops of the pine forest are faintly illuminated and can be seen directly under the moon.
The photographic repetition the next morning with an even narrower crescent moon spurred my ambition on. The visibility should start about 50 minutes later. After the end of daylight saving time at three o’clock in the morning it was almost the same time on the clock as the day before.
If it hadn’t been for the clouds ! No moon visible at all. The clouds divided the world into three parts with visible stars and darkness of the night still over the city: dark earth, blazing sky, and the perceptible vastness of the universe.
Japan, mon amour
New love. New feelings. Less than one day in Japan. Tokyo means architecture like a mountain range. Food like a fair of flavors. Mild temperatures in the urban area. Some warm rain now and then.
Have I seen this before ? Hasn’t it been bigger ? The statue of liberty in Tokyo. Obaida: a skywalk for people and photographers.
A short night after a dinner in a typical restaurant. For the first time dining without shoes. Sitting low, feet underneath our tables. Lights, clouds and fog. Silence. Some sleep. Getting some rest.
Dawn is coming. Pleasant change through translation in space and time. We are not lost.
Partial lunar eclipse
Night clouds may be a creative opportunity, although they generally lead to limitations in the visibility of a celestial event. Last evening was such an opportunity. The proof of the pudding is in the eating.
There is enough structure in the image to please one’s eye. The color of the Moon has a rusty tone outside the central shadow of the earth.
The composite of this capture with a mood picture on site is technically not completely satisfactory. I should have made more different exposures of the night sky.