Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Preparations for AstroFest .. Astro Coffee Mugs

For the last couple of weeks I have been working hard preparing for 2012 AstroFest at Curtin University. I always hold a store there selling my various astrophotography products. It's a great opportunity for me to meet some of my customers, and best of all talk lots of astronomy and astrophotography with like-minded interested people! More about AstroFest in an upcoming blog.

My astro coffee mugs always go down well at the AstroFest so I've been working on a bunch of new designs. I think my favorite of the new ones is the Orion Nebula Coffee Mug (shown below), favorite for it's bold colourful nature.

Orion Nebula Astro Coffee Mug

It's also hard to beat this nice sequence from the total lunar eclipse (especially if you're from Perth!). I was really happy when I finished the Lunar Ecilpse sequence, it took a lot of photo's for not only the moon but the Perth City foreground that it was great to have the many hours of work pay off. It's when you need to sit with your gear in a public place like Kings Park photographing a lunar eclipse from start to end that you realise just how many long hours a lunar eclipse goes for!

Lunar Eclipse from Kings Park, Perth WA

Here's the other new mugs, I'd love to hear any feedback on them:

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

A diamond in the sky with stars ...

What do you think of this new shot? It's a portrait of The Moon during the total lunar eclipse in December. I've been preparing the photograph for a client who is giving a print of it as an engagement gift to some friends:

for a better view...

What I like about it (unfortunately not showing too well in the little thumbnail above - see the larger image) is the glisten on the right of The Moon and all the stars behind The Moon.

Taken during totality, the exposure time was quite long for a photo of the Moon - 30 seconds. As The Moon becomes darker during totality the exposure times increase and so more stars become visible around The Moon. Ordinarily in a photograph of The Moon you would not see stars around it.

The bright glisten effect on the top right is because that is the part of The Moon least in shadow and so showing brightest. With a fairly moist atmosphere and some very thin cloud that night the bright glow from that side of the moon has shone a little, like looking at a bright light through a foggy windy.

I have nicknamed this "the diamond in the sky with stars" because of that glisten which the moon has and the stars around it.

Great idea for an engagement present I think!

Friday, 17 February 2012

The Art and Science of Astrophotography

Welcome to the Astro Photography Australia blog! This is a new intiative by myself (Roger Groom, the photographer behind Astro Photography Australia) to bring you the best of artistic astrophotography, together with the science of astrophotography and amateur astronomy.

In this blog I hope to bring to you artistic and visually appealing astrophotography as well as astrophotography and knowledge that gives some insight  to the finer details behind what you see in a beautiful photograph of the night sky.

Think back to when you first saw the night sky...

Let's go back to where Astro Photography Australia began, and the most recognisable stars of the southern night sky, the Southern Cross (constellation of Crux):

Many of us can remember as a child having experiences such as being driven home at night and seeing stars out the car window, or perhaps being out late at night at a family barbeque standing on a lawn with the stars overhead. For myself it is the Southern Cross and constellation of Orion that I remember the most. It was the Southern Cross which I first photographed as an astrophotographer.

Maybe you have a similar memory of the night sky from your childhood?

The Art: The above photograph of the Southern Cross is one of the very first I sold as a print. It has the sparkle and colour to the stars that you often see in the sky, and takes me back to the aesthetic appeal of the night sky.

The Science: It is only when I delved deeper in to astronomy and astrophotography that I learned the above photograph includes the star Alpha Crux which is actually a binary star system, the Coal Sack which is a dark nebula (cloud of interstellar gas and dust), the open cluster called the Jewel Box, and many previously hidden secrets waiting to be photographed.