July 16 &17, CAO – Orion Cam Fail; Photo 101; fog

So – Thursday night skies were not fabulous but good enough for ‘practice’, as Blake said, luring me from the kitchen and my hot chocolate back to the observatory. I can’t get an image on my Orion Solar System IV Camera – I have been able to in the past (with some focus and centering difficulty, and my old macbook pro), but not with my new mbp nor my new pc laptop.

After much frustration, Blake helped: pointed to Vega, adjusted focus while he fiddled with the very poorly designed image resolving software provided by Orion, and can you imagine: whenever I moved more closely in to focus, the star disappeared! Black screen. Nudge the focus just a touch, and it reappeared. Something is weird. And it is not just me. So…next time (maybe tonight, though it will be busy here this eve) I will try the ms Amcap software, see if I fare better with it. I may need to invest on a better astro cam, because I am totally failing at Saturn image capture this year.

I am also still struggling with finding the right mov>avi conversion software. Winff does not produce viewable/usable files.

Yesterday, Friday, it was grey and blustery – I think Blake said the winds reached 60km/h, gale force. It was pretty lovely out, and the air was so soft, since we were sitting in clouds basically.

Dietmar gave a Photo 101 workshop, which was awesome, and graciously allowed me to do my favourite camera meter black-white-grey demo. As you can see in the image below, if you let the camera ‘balance’ the exposure at EV 0 (zero), it will offer an average metering that aims to make everything look middle grey. From left to right, that is a white wall, a grey shirt, and a dark navy jacket – and all look identically middle grey as per a ‘balanced’ meter reading. On the far right, you can see that by exposing the dark subject 2.5 stops ‘under’, you can actually get an accurate rendering of tonal value. See Ansel Adams. As per the Zone System, white will be around 3 stops ‘over’ EV zero to have details, and black around 3.5 to 4 stops. So..unless you want everything to look grey: learn how to control exposure!!

What a camera meter sees.

What a camera meter sees.

Enough lecturing. The evening was sweet and the white lights were on, so this:

CAO-fog02_DSC7544 CAO-fog01_DSC7549 Today, Andrew Wright and his family are joining us and I am so excited to welcome them! The skies look promising and Blake has giant bubbles. Happy weekend.

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