Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Check the Diagonal

While waiting for my doctor, I snapped this with my iPhone. It was a translucent piece of plastic over an x-ray viewing screen - I imagine to gauge different shades of gray.

Taken with my iPhone.

Monday, May 25, 2009

International Space Station (ISS) - Into Earth's Shadow

I frequently monitor Heavens Above to see if there's any upcoming satellite passes worth seeing. Tonight was one of the brighter showings of the International Space Station (ISS), with apparent magnitude -2.3, just dimmer than the maximum brightness of Jupiter. It started in the west-northwest, rising to 69 degrees in the south sky.

For whatever reason, I was waiting with my camera pointed too far to the east, trying to get a shot of the satellite rising over some houses. Right as I was scratching my head trying to find the thing, I finally saw (don't ask me how I originally missed it) the Big Dipper, which points me to the North Star (since I'm a star-gazing newbie).

Brief aside: the North Star is the center of this previous star trail shot I took last year.

Just as I realize I'm pointed in the wrong direction, I see the space station moving quickly across the sky. I was able to swing around and capture it as it faded into the Earth's shadow. In this shot, the ISS is moving downward as it fades into darkness.

Shot with:
Canon 40D, 10-22mm
Bogen 190XPROB Tripod Legs, 322RC2 Grip Action Ballhead.


The iPhone camera isn't the best, but it's great in a pinch for random shots you might find interesting while walking about.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Ceiling-Bounced Fill Flash

View On Black

40D, Sigma 30mm f/1.4, 430EX flash

The window to the left provided most of the light here, but with harsh shadows on the right. I could either blow out the left side to bring the right in a little bit, deal with dark shadows on the right, or use a flash. The first two options are compromises - the latter, if done subtly, can still look like it wasn't used at all.

To pull this off, I used my camera-mounted 430EX flash, bouncing it off of the ceiling to the right, set at -1.5eV.

The flash was very dim compared to the sunlight, so it didn't affect a majority of the scene, but was just strong enough to brighten up the shadows a bit. At 0eV, the flash would probably have lit up the right side of her face to match the left, but that's just flat, boring lighting. I was able to keep the scene looking more natural by effectively taking the flash off-camera and increasing its size by bouncing.

Here's a test shot without flash to demonstrate how harsh the shadows are: