Astrophotography Photos

Butterfly Beach Milky Way
Friday, August 21, 2015
Butterfly Beach Milky Way

Waiting for Perseids out on Butterfly Beach. This was a really fun evening. There were only a few really spectacular meteors, but they were worth the wait. Especially with this view. Even without the camera, once your eyes really adjust it's breathtaking how many stars you can see. Even more amazing to think that the little spots of light are just our local neighbors. Really just a small handful of the stars in our galaxy, the bright swath of stars so numerous they blend together and are largely blocked out by the large clouds of gas and dust in the middle. Standing under the stars always brings out the child-like wonder in me! But then again, exploring most of the world with my camera does that too.


Milky Way Vista
Sunday, August 16, 2015
Milky Way Vista

This week was a great week for stargazing. In case you missed it, the Perseid meteor shower peaked on Wednesday. If you did miss it, don't feel bad. I love that sort of thing and I would have missed it if it weren't for running into a good friend at the beach while I was taking an evening walk with my wife. Fortunately we were all set up for taking photos of the stars anyway. We got a few nice meteor shots, (this NOT being one of them, that's just a passing jet in the sky) and saw even more really beautiful meteors. But I was, purely coincidentally looking to experiment with a wide enough view to capture more of the milky way. Although the meteors were amazing, this is more the image I was looking for and it just goes to show, you don't need to wait for the next meteor shower (October 8th, by the way) to find something absolutely amazing as close as the night sky.

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Cypress and Perseid
Thursday, August 13, 2015
Cypress and Perseid

Last night at Butterfly Beach hanging out under the beautiful Cypress Tree watching the meteors go by. There were some really spectacular displays, this was just a tiny one, but every one was really exciting to see!


Santa Barbara Skies
Sunday, November 23, 2014
Santa Barbara Skies

An evening in the hills over Santa Barbara. The lights of the city are just visible as the bright glow through the trees and the foreground was lit by the headlights of passing cars. There is such an amazing dance going on just above our heads every night. And you don't even need a telescope or even a camera to appreciate it. Just a short drive up the mountain to a dark spot and the patience to sit and let your eyes adjust, is all you need to have the beauty of the universe laid out before you. (Or at least our little galactic corner of it.)


Heaven and Earth
Sunday, August 31, 2014
Heaven and Earth

Every evening as we go about our lives there is an amazing ballet going on above our heads. Most of us are too busy to think about it. But if you take some time to get away from the brighter lights of the city you can see some spectacular things just by looking up. This is the the beautiful Santa Barbara Greek Orthodox Church, under the equally beautiful Milky Way Galaxy. The Galaxy we call home. If you think of all those stars at night that you usually see from any location, they are in general just our local neighbors in a small part of the Milky Way. All the visible stars you can make out with your naked eye in every direction from the earth (anywhere between five to ten thousand stars give or take) only comprise a tiny fraction of the stars in the Milky Way. That glowing band however, is made up of individual stars so numerous that they appear to be a continuous cloud of light to the unaided eye. Estimates put it from one to four hundred billion stars. There are absolutely wondrous and beautiful things all around us!


Milky Way Over Goleta
Sunday, August 17, 2014
Milky Way Over Goleta

Last night in the foothills above Goleta, the sky was beautifully dark and clear. I have been planning a drive to Santa Ynez to get some Milky Way pictures out where there is less light. But last night I just had to get out and see what I could get, even if it was a little late for the drive all the way to my favorite astrophotography spots.

This was one of my earlier shots of the evening. The glow is from cars in the distance and the city of Goleta down the hill in the distance. This spot was not my first choice (or even my second) when thinking of where to go, but as it turned out it was the best. There was just enough of a ridge around this area to block the city lights enough to get some beautiful images of the night sky and to see quite a few beautiful shooting stars!


Fog Over The Good Land
Sunday, May 26, 2013
Fog Over The Good Land

This angle is from the foothills just outside Santa Barbara. Overlooking the city of Goleta (our next-door neighbors, AKA "The Good Land"). The fog was rolling in quickly the night I took this. About ten minutes after this shot there were no discernible points of light. Well not on the ground anyway. The stars were still amazing! In fact you can just make aout some of the Milky Way in the left side of the photo.


Waxing Crescent
Saturday, May 18, 2013
Waxing Crescent

I've always loved taking pictures at night. The golden hour is just the start of the show for me. There was a time when I would sit still counting the seconds for multiple minute exposures on my film camera, trying to get every available photon. These days some of those same photos can nearly be taken hand-held at 10,000 ISO. But this is one shot that still requires a good tripod. Not as much becuase of the darkness, the moon is actually quite bright. But the fact that with the teleconverter this image was taken at 1200mm, and it was taken on a tripod that was a little wobbley for the job too. Nonetheless it held up and did a wonderful job.


Santa Ynez Night Sky
Monday, May 6, 2013
Santa Ynez Night Sky

This was a beautiful evening in the Santa Ynez Valley. The exposures were so long that I couldn't really tell how much the wispy clouds were affecting the shot. At one point it seemed like the clouds were too heavy to get anything interesting, but I kept at it. I was glad I did. The clouds only made things more beautiful. They gave a glow to the stars and Jupiter, and helped increase the glow of the lights in the distance. The light at the top (generally in the west) is the last glow of the setting sun. The light down the road is the glow of houses and cars moving around on the other side of the hill (the cars moving, not the houses.)


Jupiter over Santa Ynez
Friday, February 15, 2013
Jupiter over Santa Ynez

Last evening I found myself in Santa Ynez Valley. My plan was to look for some interesting wildlife to try out a borrowed lens to get comfortable with it before a shoot this week. But having arrived a little late in the day to find a good spot I decided to go after a different shot. As things got dark I found a perch on a back road overlooking several vinyards. The stars were really something to see this far away from the city lights. The amazingly bright one is actually not a star at all, it's Jupiter. The two large trails of light are planes, but in the upper right hand corner there is the small trail of a shooting star.


Heavens Above
Sunday, October 28, 2012
Heavens Above

This view of the Milky Way Galaxy over the Santa Barbara Greek Orthodox Church is a long exposure taken in almost total darkness. The light inside the greek orthodox church is the smallest flicker of light from a very small bulb. The lighting of the thin clouds and shadows on the wall were cast by the glow from the horizon of the just past full Moon, which had not risen yet. Although long by normal photo standards, at 30 seconds the stars are still points of light rather than trails. This much detail in the stars would have been nearly impossible just a few years ago without a motorized tripod head to track the movement of the stars which, of course would make the objects on the ground blur.


Milky Way From Painted Cave Drive
Saturday, July 30, 2011
Milky Way From Painted Cave Drive

This is the latest in my experimentation capturing the night sky from the mountains above Santa Barbara. The night of the new moon was dark enough to catch an image of the Milky Way. It was an amazing evening, and I will definitely be doing more of this type of work.