After the weather fiasco during Perseids, I was hoping that the weather for the lunar eclipse will be decent in Canarias. Well, it looked just so so. I was tempted to drive up to the caldera, but then it looked like it might be drizzling there, so I stayed home, hoping for some decent weather. Let’s say that driving from Las Canadas at night is not something you want to do every night. The road’s long, curvy and at 4 a.m. the sleep is kicking in.
So front porch become my little observing platform. I have quite a decent view of the Moon, so I just simply assembled the little telescope and camera with tripod at home and I waited.
The weather was moody. The clouds were passing quickly, well, providing at least some windows. What was bit unsettling was soft rain, but as long as it’s soft. I can survive. So peaking through the holes in the clouds, I got my shots. Soon after the Moon entered the totality phase, the clouds became more frequent, so I gave up. The result, taken with Canon 7D & Canon 70-200mm L IS USM @f/2.8, 200mm and ISO 200 is below.
There are places in this world where you know, that you’ve encountered nature’s magnum opus. Well, I believe there is one for every ecosystem. Jökulsárlón glacial lagoon is the magnum opus of glaciers. You’ve seen the pictures, you know what to expect, but no matter what, you’ll end up standing in awe. I managed to go there during a sunny morning and a gloomy evening. And I’d say the gloomy evening fits the lagoon quite nicely. The blue color of the glaciers stands up.
Of course there’s not only the lagoon, there’s also a beach. Black one, as I know from Canarias. But this one is special. As the glaciers move from the lagoon towards the ocean, some of them get jumbled around and end up on the beach, looking like gemstones. Well out of this planet experience for sure. I wish I could go and spend there couple of weeks, just watching the glaciers.
This was the first time I processed the images using graphical tablet. Well, now the things I considered too complicated to do in Photoshop (clumsy mouse), are super accessible. I think I’ll revisit some of my older shots. Let’s see how more complex photoshop magic will work.
Okay, life was going crazy fast lately and still is, but I just wanted to share some images I’ve taken not-so recently, during the trip to La Palma (September 2013). The daily ones are still to come, but the mission was to take pictures of the night sky of La Palma, one of the best ones in the world (yes, I mean comparable with Chile and Hawaii).
I’ve actually learned quite a few things during that trip: apparently I don’t mind heavy backpack, as long as it’s full of my photo stuff and I can freeze down for a picture. Anyway, one of the more painful things I’ve learned is that I’ve hit the limitations of my camera. If I take my Canon 7D & 15 mm Fisheye lens, the result will never reach the quality of Canon 5D Mark III with essentially the same settings. Hence whomever wants to send me the note saying ‘your image’s noisy’, buy me a better camera and I’ll prove you I can do better.
So picture above, from Roque de Los Muchachos observatory. It’s a single shot, 20s exposure @f/2.8 and ISO 4000. Which I think is pretty impressive. The yellow spot on the lower left side is lights from Santa Cruz, the bright spot over the horizon, casting shadow on the water is Venus. Actually you can even see Zodiacal light going through Venus, pointing to the Milky way (brighter area going above the horizon). The red and green glow is a natural glow of our atmosphere, called airglow. And the bright bridge is the Milky way… looking into the galactic center in Scorpius.
Since combining the images with a foreground is tricky, I’ve combined only one image of the milky way with no foreground (that’s to come in the future). It’s a combination of 15 images, ISO 4000 and using dark frame. As in the previous pic, the red glow is our own atmosphere.
Okay, with this picture, I’ve learned how ‘bad’ is my camera compared to the 5D MIII, since we were shooting from the same spot and guess what, I have the noise… But anyway MAGIC telescope and Milky way is a cool combination, worth of almost spraining my ankle in the dark
I also got into experimenting with time-lapse. So if you want to check my super short one, go fot it on vimeo.
Sunrise is stunning… but sunset is not far behind. There’s a spot I’m really fond of, close to the observatory. It’s called La Tarta (the cake). It’s a viewpoint with very nice view of Teide and Valle de Orotava, usually filled with clouds. The best part? It faces west, hence it’s perfect spot for watching the sunset. But beware, it’s cold there, even in May/June. Accompanied by my friend Natalia who came to visit, we were waiting and freezing down for an hour, waiting for the sun to disappear behind the horizont. First picture is HDR, combination of 9 images taken with Canon 7D & 15 mm Canon FishEye at f/8.0…
Second image is far from perfect, but it was first attempt to use ND filter with clouds. Unfortunately I forgot lens hood, hence I have ghosts on the image. Canon 7D & 28-135mm kit lens, Hoya NDX 400 filter 80 seconds exposure with f/22.0. I guess I need bit more practice here, but I’ve gotten the ‘fuzzy clouds’ which was essentially the aim…
Okay, here is the deal. I love mountains. The older I get the more I like them. I’m not sure when did this transition happen but it did. I’m lucky enough to live close to 3.718 m peak – Pico del Teide, which is one of the bigest volcanos on the Earth (third after Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea). I finally managed to climb it with couple of friends at the beginning of April. We decided to star overnight in Refugio Altavista and hike up early in the morning to see the sunrise.
As for the hike, it’s easier than I thought it’d be. The road to Montaña Blanca is easy and from there to Refugio, it’s just little bit steeper, and the altitude eventually starts to call for your attention, but we’re reached Refugio surprisingly quickly. The only downfall of Refugio is that the water is not good for drinking and the beds are singing their annoying song through the whole night. The second part of the hike is not bad either. We had full moon so no need for flashlights, except for couple of parts in shade. We even had snow, which is quite impressive here. If you keep slow and continuous pace, it takes an hour and half to get on top.
And then… you’re there. On the highest peak around and all you see is wonderfully colored sky and islands peeking from the clouds. The new day is born in a blink of an eye and everything is suddenly colored in the warm tones of orange. And you stand there, overlooking the world and feeling free. Feels like you can just spread your arms and fly… yes maybe that’s why I like mountains.
The spine of Tenerife just moments before the sunrise
Shadow of Teide, cast on the ocean
Another one of the Sunday hikes was ascent from Pico del Inglés in Anaga mountain range to Santa Cruz, more precisely, we took the bus to the beach from there. The hike is nice, though little bit hard on the knees. Anyway, the picture is HDR, but with not so extreme manipulation as the previous ones. Taken with my beloved Canon 7D and 15mm fisheye. Well, enjoy, criticize etc…
Teide is always wonderful and most usually above the clouds, so when the clouds are ‘on the mountain’ it’s a totally different sight. This was taken before the storm came, later that day, Teide was completely obscured by the clouds and the rain was carried with wind quite far away. Anyway, surprisingly (or maybe not), the photo is not a HDR. I was playing around in photoshop, mostly with saturation and tone mapping and this is the result. The more I looked at the blue hint, the more I liked it, it’s just making the monochromatic pic little bit more dramatic… at leas in my opinion. But feel free to criticize. Taken with Canon EOS 7D, EF28-153 f/3.5-5.6 IS USM (kit lens), f/9, 1/400 sec with ISO 100.
If you walk down the Anosma gorge, you’ll find yourself on a small rocky beach surrounded by black volcanic rocks. It’s a charming place, but definitely not for swimming, since the currents are strong and the waves are juggling with the heavy stones in the water. I’ve decided to find out how HDR of something highly dynamic as the ocean will look like. Sooo… couple of notes on that: I should have put the camera on a slightly higher place (I was using the rocks on the ground as a tripod). If one does aim for the simmering effect in the water, single shots should be planned as the waves come, not just blindly quickly as I did. I might have taken one more ‘long exposure’. But it’s doable, so next time, maybe with more Sun…
Hiking around the small villages has it’s perks. Like running into newly build roads leading to nowhere. This is a road near Arguayo, close to Santiago del Teide. The picture is another HDR. It was partly overcast so the hike had a nice atmosphere. Also the empty roads gave slightly apocalyptic feeling… I hope it’s somewhere there in the photo…
Today, we made a really nice hike up Montaña de Guajara (2.817 m). Starting from Parador in Las Cañadas, up the south-eastern side, to the top and then back to Parador. It’s a pretty nice loop. Anyway, it was one of the days, when La Laguna reminds everybody of Mordor and when you drive up, it’s sunny. The clouds below when you’re in the Teide National Park are always impressive, so I took couple of pictures. Recently I’ve found myself in the ‘HDR hole’, so I made one more HDR. Let’s not pretend it’s real or something. I’ve done it exactly so it doesn’t look real. I like the tone of the picture and the details of the clouds. Thinking of this, one can be pretty sure that it’s really gloomy underneath. Anyway, opinions welcome…
Teide from La Tarta Viewpoint