Three typhoons one after the other. Kinda cool!
Well, to be more precise, the first one was supposed to cover the whole of Taiwan but it made a left turn and it’s basically gone. The third one might be headed to Japan and shouldn’t have any impact here.
The second one though, called Chan-Hom, is looking kinda scary though. Due to the presence of a lot of “stuff” in the west Pacific, all the models contradict each other. Some of them had CHan-Hom headed to Korea (…stop doing drugs, kids…), others had it on Japan, others forecasted it between Japan and Taiwan. The latest images are basically a coin toss: it will either pass north of Taiwan and hit mainland China, dropping a lot of water on us and not much more, while other models basically have it hit Taipei directly. That would kinda suck, because while I don’t live in Taipei my home is in North-East of Taiwan, and I’d have to spend one day at home making sure nothing happens to the windows and my plants.
Yesterday on my way back home around 8.30pm I noticed an unusual amount of stars in the sky. It looked pretty clear to my eyes, which is unusual living in a fairly populated area that is famous for fog and clouds after the sunset. It was even more surprising considering that I went outside thinking that the sunset could have looked nice on a close by river, but the sky was covered in clouds around 7/7.30 so I gave up all my plans for sunsets.
As soon as I arrived home I picked up my 6D, 50mm f1.8 and a tripod and I went to the roof of my home and started shooting away. There was some light pollution and I my first few shots were trash, but I gradually reduced shutter speed until the pictures had a good exposure. When I shoot night sky I always expose to the right, the opposite compared to what I do during the day when I tend to under expose in order to preserve highlights.
Here are some of the shots:
In this picture in the distance there was a lightning storm. I tried many exposures in that area in order to catch lightnings, but it was too far. In this photo I managed to catch the moment where the lightning painted the clouds with light, but it was really far. I would have needed to ride to the seaside with a really long lens to capture the lightning storm on the sea, but since I don’t have the required gear there was no point in trying.
Most of the pictures that I took had to be deleted because even with a really good tripod there was no way to keep the camera perfectly steady for the required 4/5/10 seconds. Some of the pictures that I kept still have a bit of camera shake, but I liked them anyway.
I find it interesting that these pictures that I took from the roof of my home in 20/25 minutes look much better than the night sky pictures that I took from the top of Taiping Mountain in the middle of the night for 2 hours below 0 degrees Celsius.
The only thing that I prefer from this picture is the presence of some foreground, but the sky doesn’t look as good. It has no detail of the milky way, mostly because of the full moon from that night.
I’ve just recently moved to my new home in the countryside, it’s great to see that on a clear night I can start taking real nice pictures of the stars. It means that it in the future it would be easy for me to wait until the sky looks right, then walk to a bridge, river or temple and take a picture of the night sky with some interesting foreground as well.
Considering that it was just my second attempt at astrophotography I’m really satisfied. All the pictures look much better than my first attempt, and improving my results is the best form of gratification.
On a technical note: the 50mm f1.8 STM is really bad for astrophotography. If you check the stars and lights around the edges, they look like eggs. It’s a thing called coma, some lenses stretch the lights at the edges of the image. Unfortunately I still haven’t had the chance to buy a lens that is really fit for night skies, like most Rokinon lenses. Out of all my lenses, the 50mm f1.8 had the best focal length and aperture, so I gave it a go. I’ll probably keep using it for a while anyway.