I have been taking a bit of a break from astrophotography in the last few weeks, finally Winter has hit so it’s family holiday time. A regular family holiday spot for us is Pemberton in the south-west of Western Australia. As a family of photographers the area has endless photography opportunities. Many hours spent kneeling or lying on dirt to photograph interesting fungus and orchids! I’m yet to successfully incorporate macros subjects in astrophotography though! (there’s always a next challenge, right?)
This trip to Pemberton was a family holiday and so I only ventured outside briefly a couple of times for astrophotography. We happened to be staying around the corner from the Pemberton train station. What an amazing site for photography! It’s like someone installed a movie set with all the props and lighting, just waiting for photographers to arrive. My only challenge was ignoring the spooky nature of it to try and get some creativity and freedom flowing. I barely scratched the surface. Of course the challenge in Pemberton is often the weather – you can easily be there a week and have cloud every night, and you can see even in these photos evidence of encroaching cloud and fog which I only just beat.
Anyway, after much messing around on the computer, here’s some fun pics from the two nights.
Pemberton steam train at the Pemberton train station with the southerm Ilky Way above (including the Large Magellanic Cloud).
Pemberton Tramway Co with the Southern Milky Way.
Pemberton train station at night with the southern sky above.
A lucky meteor at Perth Observatory.
Recently hosting a tour at Perth Observatory I was snapping a few pics as I do, mostly to get some more marketing material to assist the observatory. I found this one in subsequent days which features a nice bright meteor low on the southern horizon! Not bad catch for a night that ended up 2/3 cloudy.
The photograph also features southern night sky targets including Eta Carina, Southern Cross, Coal sack and both Large and Small Magellanic Clouds.
A moment under the southern skies
A moment under the Southern Skies. The processed result of images taken on the 8th September.
This is a wide field nightscape astro photo featuring the Milky Way. It centers on the Southern Celestial Pole and so includes also: The Southern Cross and Pointers, Small Magellanic Cloud, Large Magellanic Cloud, Eta Carina (just barely above the south-west horizon) and other features of the southern night sky. There is even a meteor! The meteor is from one of the frames only and was a very quick bright one.
In a rare almost never seen before appearance, I am actually in the photograph too , standing on the ridge near the tree.
Dark southern skies and rich green airglow in the Central Wheatbelt region of Western Australia.
From the Central Wheatbelt region of Western Australia another night of fantastic dark clear skies. From my experience February tends to have quite a few nights compared to the rest of the year exhibiting green air glow and last night was just one time. Beautiful rich green across the sky was visible even in short exposures.
This photograph features the familiar Southern Cross and Pointers (alpha and beta Centauri) quite prominently along with the Milky Way and Small Magellanic Cloud (right). The Eta Carina nebula is also visible (top of Milky Way).
Aurora Australis at Perth Observatory on the 8th September 2017
There’s a big buzz around aurora activity at the moment, with the large solar flares erupting from the sun causing potentially good conditions for aurora to be visible. On the 8th September I and what seemed like half of Perth were out to photograph the Aurora. The hard decision is always where to go and in this case limiting factors were it being friday after a busy week of work, the almost full moon rising at 8pm, and large areas of cloud about the state. Given all that I decided to make the short trip to the Perth Observatory where I volunteer.
I took a couple of hours of time lapse from two cameras. This photograph is from my Canon 6D using the Samyang 24mm f/1.4. It is largely a single frame utilising some data from two other frames for masking out some bright lights in the foreground (it was a public viewing night).
Pink aurora is visible across an area of the southern horizon. It would have been extending only a few degrees above the horizon but is quite noticeable in the raw and processed frames. The aurora was not visible to the naked eye. Above the aurora australis you can see the Large Magellanic Cloud. The sky is lit by the moon which had risen a little at the time, but blocked by cloud enough to not illuminate the foreground. The foreground features the domes of the Perth Observatory lit by the red lights of tour guides hosting a group of public on one of the regular Night Sky Tours.
Now to work on the time lapse!