"CLOUDS OF ANDROMEDA"
Here's my latest work, my "Happy New Year" gift if you will. I hope you like it!
This is the first image I know of the Andromeda galaxy that also shows at high resolution, depth and full color several of the very faint dust cirrus clouds emitting light (as opposed to reflecting it) in the deep red that happen to be in this very same field of view, despite they have never been captured like this until now....
If you're familiar with images of Andromeda, this image might surprise you. Being one of the most photographed objects in the night sky, if not the most, you might even be skeptical at first. How could everyone miss it and all of a sudden it's here, clear and obvious? Just be reassured that this is the real deal and these clouds are definitely there. Credits to Sean Walker from Sky & Telescope for being the one to notice and let me know!
For a lot more information about this image, please visit: http://www.deepskycolors.com/Clouds_of_Andromeda.html
After several revisions, edits and adjustments, last week we received the last complete proof of "Notes from the Stars" and after going page by page, making sure everything looks just the way we want it, the entire book passed the test, meaning we're in business and the lab will soon start printing the first run!!
Horsetail Falls aka Firefalls
Yosemite National Park, California
Exactly one year ago, Yosemite's Horsetail Falls were in full force displaying their famous "firefall" and despite the crowds, on Feb 15, 2017 I managed to get a good repertoire of images from different vantage points, this being the closeup I liked the most....
This year's dry winter isn't helping with the show so far. I haven't heard anything about pictures from this year yet, but there's still time for those who'd like to try (I won't be going for it this year).
If you watch this video on a big screen, you'll notice that the stars turn into hearts... Bigger stars become bigger hearts, smaller ones turn into smaller ones, and each heart inherits the color of its star. Set the video to loop endlessly, as the video only does the transformation once.
If you're curious about how this is done, I didn't use some fancy app that does this with the push of a button, nor with Photoshop working on each star/heart at a time (thankfully!!). It's a... simple deconvolution process where the PSF (Point Spread Function) has been shaped as a heart. This process, when done correctly, literally morphs each star into a heart, that's why size and color is still represented in the hearts, because the heart is formed out of data from the star. Math at the service of art? More like at the service of goofing around ... Either way, I hope you like it and Happy V's Day!
PS: This is not the first time I post this, but I guess it's become a tradition for me now... Next year I'll think of something else, promise!
Here's a "Behind The Scenes" shot of me while capturing the video of the Falcon Heavy cruising through the constellation Hydra that I posted the other day. It was a fairly bright night, with the Moon rising early around 3am. Still, the Roadster was bright enough to be captured
Here's a video I produced of Starman and the Tesla Roadster from data I captured a couple of nights ago. What you see is the distance Starman traveled in about two hours.
The video has been processed to enhance the visibility of the roadster as well as to reduce noise and artifacts. I will post a more raw video in the next few days along with details on the capture and all. Hope you like it!
"Valentine's Galactic Rose"
(The Rosette Nebula and surrounding HII clouds)
With Valentine's Day around the corner, many people will start sharing pictures of roses with touching memes. Now, astrophotographers, rather than settle on tiny flower, we share a rose that's 130 light years in diameter and 5200 light years away. How's that for being astronomically romantic?...
The Rosette nebula can be seen in the top-right corner. Hope you like the image! You're welcome to share it, as always.
"Double Flare Nebula"
Differences between 8 and 18.5 hours exposure
I know nearly every image I've published has been scrutinized in one way or another, sometimes exhaustively, pixel-picking and what not. I don't just mean losers hoping to uncover conspiracies that don't exist, but folks who are genuinely interested in the things I photograph....
My image of the galactic cirrus in the vicinity of galaxy's M64 field of view - what I dubbed the "double flare nebula" - is one of those heavily scrutinized images, and I figured some folks might find interesting looking at these two shots I took of the area - especially those of you chasing these clouds as well.
The nebulosity in the image on the left (about 8 hours exposure) was not easy to pull, but I managed to make it visible. I could have stopped there. After all, the image was already showing a cloud not photographed before, right? How exciting is that!!! Would you have just shared it right there?
Well, I wasn't happy. For me that was a smudge and somehow I knew/hoped that I could capture a clearer view of these clouds. So I added about 10 more hours of exposure, and it happened, and then I published it.
Horsetail Falls "on fire" from moonlight
Yosemite National Park, California
It's that time of the year again... or is it?...
Last year I was lucky to capture the MOONLIT Yosemite "firefall" twice, early May and then early June again, this being the first of three shots I've got. This has nothing to do with the crowd-attracting event caused by SUNLIGHT mid-late February (you don't get stars during sunset). In fact, for this shot I was completely alone!
You can probably forget about any moonlit firefall this year, and unless things change weather-wise, getting the "regular" February sunset firefall at this point could be challenging. I don't have plans to chase it this year (I reserve the right to change my mind!! 😎) but I wish the best of luck to those who do!
Hope you like it! Shares welcome!
"Eclipse at Julia's"
Pfeiffer Beach, Big Sur, California
January 31, 2018 total lunar eclipse. Same vantage point, different take. Light on rocks courtesy of someone else. 3 panes mosaic.
Pfeiffer Beach in Big Sur, California.
This is the first landscape pic I release of the total lunar eclipse that happened earlier today January 31, 2018. Along with the eclipsed moon, its beautiful orange light glittering on the ocean (easily seen naked eye, btw) and some bioluminescent creatures also glowing in the sea....
Details about the image in the first comment.
This coming Wednesday there'll be a flood of "purple moons" on social media from the lunar eclipse that'll happen in some parts of the world the night before. They'll all look either white, orange, or somewhere in between. Can you see the total eclipse from where you live? Here in California we're lucky as we can barely catch it but still can. Will you be going anywhere to shoot it?
My plan is simple: I'm hoping to go somewhere, bring one camera, one lens, one tripod, plan NO...THING and hopefully capture what nature gives, altered by nothing except my interpretation afterward. Or it could get cloudy, I might neglect my gear, get lucky, fall asleep, get lazy or who knows... The event draws you to it, the photograph is a good excuse and maybe the souvenir. We know what counts is that we were there (I actually need to remind that to myself sometimes).
Before the moon overdose begins, here's the total lunar eclipse I captured back on April 14, 2014 in Yosemite Valley, with the eclipsed moon rising above Glacier Point. The image is a composite/HDR of two shots with different exposures, one shot right after the other one, same FOV.
Deep wide field around the Leo Triplet of galaxies
If you know my deep-sky work, you know I like hunting for faint dust, IFN footprints and so on. I wasn't going to publish this image until I had collected several more hours of data, but then I thought it may be interesting to publish this version and then, if I do get more data, show the new version and look at differences....
When I produce an image that shows faint signal for which there's no previous clear reference one could compare it to, I always have a degree of certainty in the results I publish, something I can figure easily as I work with the data. Sometimes I'm absolutely certain the signal is 100% accurate, sometimes my confidence may surround 50/50, and sometimes it's low. If it's low I usually mention it, and that's the case here, particularly in the right side of the image (that pane is just 7 hours of data and rather poor color data), not counting the "bright" brownish cloud at the very bottom-right corner, that one's pretty obvious and I'm quite sure it's there.
And of course, the famous trio of galaxies a bit up and to the left of the center, with the very elusive "tail" coming out of galaxy NGC 3628. The tail is quite faint, often not appearing in deep-sky images, so that gives an idea about how much fainter the foreground dust is (and so my need for more data). In any case, I hope you enjoy the view.