Tues. 02.28.17 – Last evening I went out to my photography corner of Brockman Lane and Dixon Lane*, so that I could take photos of the New Moon as it set behind Mt. Tom to the west. I used the US Navy Observatory Moon rise and set calculator to figure out when it would set and when civil twilight would be so I could take the above new moon photo and attempt to take a photo of the Mars & Uranus conjunction.
When I drove out at 6:30pm, it was approximately 42F / 5.5C and there were frogs singing their little hearts out. Odd but true. Frogs trying to get laid in February when it is still dipping below 32F / 0C at night. By the time I finished nearly 40 minutes later, it was at least 5 degrees colder, a wind had picked up, and the frogs had wisely retreated. My gloves** were not equal to the task at hand and my fingers were sending mayday alerts.
The good news is that I was able to take a series of photos of the Moon and Venus (Instagram), the Moon setting behind Mt. Tom (Flickr), three photos of Mars & Uranus.
Why no posted photos of Mars & Uranus with the used Nikon 70-200mm f4 lens taken with my Nikon D800? Post-processing is my achilles heel. I love to shoot, but I hate post-processing. Working in Lightroom and Photoshop bring out the worst of my personality and work habits. I am normally a patient person who can spend hours crafting a thing, but not in photo post-processing.
Last night, the Flickr version of the Moon Setting on Mt. Tom was my favorite of the three photos I took within a minute and then processed the RAW files to jpg. This morning, the photo I posted above is my favorite. But the truth of the matter is that only the Instagram photo that I took with my camera phone captured the color of the late dusk sky correctly.
No matter how I fiddled in Lightroom last night, I could not get the RAW files to have the right two tones of the late dusk sky. I had to resort to using split tone highlights and shadows – this feels like it is too much processing. But that is the point of shooting RAW, I get to do my own processing and not let the camera generate the jpg.
Anywhoo, forgive my grousing. If you have a clear horizon, do go look at the new moon as it sets tonight. Astro Bob has a nice blog post on the new moon for the 27th & 28th of February, as well as how to find Mars & Uranus with binoculars.
*Do you all sense a theme here? Local high point with low sagebrsuh so the view of the Eastern Sierra, the White Mtns., and the Owens Valley is good.
** I wonder how my Finnish photo friends shoot at night and dawn in winter with a tripod? I must inquire what gloves they use that allow for dexterity & flexibility but keep one’s hands warm.