Sunday, January 25, 2009

Orion, the Hunter, striding across the sky on a winter night in Madison

Orion the Hunter Striding Across the Sky on a Winter Night
I've always loved the way the constellation Orion, the Hunter, strides across the night sky in winter. The fuzzy patch in the middle of Orion's sword is the great Orion Nebula, and I still remember the thrill of viewing it in a 3-inch reflector when I was a kid -- a tiny (in my telescope), pale patch of gas glowing serenely deep in interstellar space. I tried to capture some of it's magic last night, setting up my tripod between streetlights in Arbor Drive.

It was very cold, and that seems to have frozen my brain. Although I shot from a tripod, I made a bad exposure decision, but I prefer to call it a learning experience. I wanted to keep the stars as points and avoid star trails, so I erred in the direction of caution, using much too fast a shutter speed (1 sec.), forcing too high an ISO (3200), thus the unnecessary noise. I should have done some reading first, or looked at the EXIF data on some other Flickr photos. Next time (although I'm not going out again until we have a clear night that's also warm)...

For what it's worth, best viewed Large.

1 comment:

Wren said...

Perhaps a bad decision on the camera settings, Guy, but the photo is still beautiful. I've always loved Orion, too ... perhaps because it's one of the few constellations I can easily identify, and he's just about always in view in different parts of the sky depending on the time of year and the weather.