News and Updates
I updated an old article I wrote with some tips on maintaining good battery performance from your rechargeable batteries, and a recommendation of the AA batteries and charger that I use. You can read it here: http://galleries.aaronpriestphoto.com/Articles/Rechargeable-Batteries
Tähdet ja avaruus
For my friends in Finland and Scandinavia, I was recently published in Tähdet ja avaruus, the largest circulation astronomy magazine in the region and a member of Ursa Astronomical Association. I was featured on the inside of the front cover with a three page spread of my panorama of the Milky Way over the Bold Coast of Maine. Here is the text of the article in English:
Milky Way over Maine’s Bold Coast
On September 5, 2013 I met up with fellow astrophotographers Chris Georgia, Garrett Evans, Jared Blash, and Mike Taylor to spend a week camping and shooting the night sky along the Bold Coast of Maine. This 17-mile long rugged wilderness of bogs, meadows, and steep granite cliffs between Lubec and Cutler is sparsely populated and has some of the darkest night skies along the entire eastern seaboard of the United States. Mike had carefully chosen this location and time of year to coincide with a new moon, longer, cooler nights with historically stable weather and clear skies, and yet still early enough in the year to have plenty of time to shoot the galactic center of the Milky Way before it dipped below the ocean’s horizon. We kept the trip and location a secret for many months, only announcing that we were getting together on social media that morning since so many prominent night photographers in New England getting together at once for the first time was sure to draw some attention and a crowd!
Chris and Jared had already arrived and were setting up camp when I started my long hike into the campsite sheltered in the woods just above the cliffs. Halfway there, I met Chris on his way back to the trucks for more gear. I also had to make a couple trips to transport all my equipment and supplies for several days, and it was well after dark on my second hike through the woods. Mike and Garrett met up with us later that night.
Each of us has our own photography niche, and mine is spherical panoramas. I lugged a custom-built Panoneed robotic panning head with me, and plenty of battery power and memory cards to run it for a few days. My favorite lens at night is my Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8. It is insanely sharp wide open with very little distortion and coma. At 14mm I can shoot a full sphere in 12 or 13 photos. The sky in this panorama was exposed for 30 seconds and the ground at 4 minutes, both at f/2.8 and ISO 2500 on a Nikon D700. It took about an hour to capture all of the images for this panorama, including dark frames. The two bright lights on the horizon are distant lighthouses. Andromeda is visible in the center of the image, and part of the Big Dipper can be seen reflecting in the small pool to the left. The full sphere can be explored on my website.