A is for Aurora
It has been a good month for the Aurora Borealis. With clear skys and displays on at least three occasions. And as with all things practice leads to improvement. and to learning. Here are the images I took on the first night I saw it (8/02/2014)
There are a couple of things to point out in these images. The first is clear - car trails - As these images were taken from my garden they are difficult to avoid. So are the wires, but they are not as intrusive. The second is more difficult to see in these images. There was a thin layer of cloud so only a few stars were visible. As you will see they are blurred and show as little streaks. The streaks are because the image was taken on a 90 sec exposure and stars move. But I could not work out why they were blurred. It was dark and so difficult to focus on the sky so I focused on the furthest away object I could see. Clearly it was not far enough away. The ISO was 100 aperture f6 and focal length 18mm.
The Aurora was showing again on the 16th.
To get these shots I went down to Cairnbulg Harbour away from the lights of Fraserburgh and from car trails. It was a clearer night so I was able to focus using live view. The results were better. I still had the streaky stars, exposure time was long. And instead of the car trail I got a ship trail. ISO 400, aperture f7, focal length 18mm.
The Aurora showed again on 23rd.
This time I thought I would crack the focus issue. As the stars were 'infinity' away I turned to focus ring right round. As uyou can see it did not work. I had discovered, too late, that the infinity focus is not quite all the way round. I took thirty shot one after the other to get my first time lapse video. 90 sec exposures,ISO 800, f7 focal length 40mm. Unfortunately I can't upload it to the blog but you can find it on Facebook here
The final show was on the 27th, and what a show. I have nearly nailed the exposure - all the way round and then back a bit - still not acurate but a lot better. If any one knows how to get it nailed on please let me know. The dispay was so bright that only 3 - 4 second exposures were necessary and so high it was easy to avoid the car trails.
The top three images are close to reality. The only processing was to push the clarity and vibracne sliders a little in Abobe Camera Raw. The bottom images have been enhanced by just clicking on the Auto Fix button in Photoshop Elements 10.
B is For Book
Aberdeenshire Council set Photographic Clubs in the county a challenge to take images of various places described by the councils 'ambassadors. So in addition to aurora hunting I have been visiting three of these places. Crovie, Aden Country Park and Collieston. Unfortunately we are not allowed to publish the images we subbmitted without the councils permission. I have asked if I can put them on the web site but haven't got an answer yet. One image from each location will be published in a glossy table top book. Here are some of the images I did not put into the challenge.
If permission is granted to put up the submitted images I will do so.
C is for Competitions
There have been two competition results anounced in the past few weeks. You can see the winning entries by following this link and read a report here
Here are the ones I put into the 4th monthly competition
The Judge in this competition was harsh. For the Rhea he suggested a crop that took out the light spot on the top edge towards the left. The waterfall was too grainy and lacked contrast. He quite liked the bridge.
Here are the changes. Any better?
I submitted these three to the print competition. The judge was a lot more generous with his marking and more constuctive in his comments. But then I would say that because the storm picture won the competition. It was suggested that the road and cars should be cropped from the fishing village scene and that there should have been a wider depth of field given to the taod to better show the colours and textures in its throat.
....a selection of other images I have taken over the last few weeks
I'm Mike, I am the (Self appointed!) web master for Fraserburgh Photographic Society (FPS). I started taking photography seriously a couple of years ago and joined Fraserburgh Photographic Society