Testing the Night Sky

This is a one hour exposure from the roof of my house last night using my 10.5mm digital fisheye lens, with the camera exposing manually on Bulb at f/5.6.

I used my best guess for the exposure settings based on the dark night sky. I think I’m a bit off here because this sky is really a bright city sky. You can see the light artifacts of the city in the image, although more poetically it is possible also to see a great eye in the sky. If you look closely (check out the middle of the lower right) you can also see impressions of the camera optics.

I set the camera up on the roof on the tripod at about 10PM after the kids were in bed. We watched a little TV (I leave to your imagination whatever else we may have been doing), then I went to sleep.

Phyllis woke me a little after 11PM (Mathew was up and down all night, so he functioned as a good timer!). I got dressed and put on my headlamp, and climbed up to our upper roof.

The exposure had completed, and the computer in the camera was chugging away processing the image. I noticed that the battery was running on empty, and that the whole Nikon D200 camera felt a bit warm to the touch.

I brought tripod and camera downstairs, with the camera still chugging away. My brain was a little sleep silly, so I thought I could just plug the camera into an outlet, in case the battery totally ran out before the camera finished processing the image. Silly me! The AC adapter for the D200 is a Nikon accessory you can buy for about $80.00.

Finally the camera completed processing the exposure. I took the memory card out, and copied the image to my computer. In Adobe Bridge, the image looked way overexposed. (This morning I partially compensated by sliding the exposure and brightness down, and the shadows up, when I converted the RAW image.)

When I removed the battery for recharging, the battery was one hot potato.

Stay tuned. What I really want is an image showing an extended star arc. Perhaps a four hour exposure will do it. From my city roof, on a clear night, I’d figure about four hours at f/22.

I’ll have to wait a fews days to make this exposure. Right now, there’s no four hour window without a moon to spoil my exposure.

I’m armed! I’m dangerous! I’ve ordered the Nikon EH-6 AC adapter, and I plan to run an extension cord up to our roof.

Related story: On Night Photography.

This entry was posted in Bemusements, Photography.

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