Archive for April, 2010

I mentioned a while back that the HSF image of the shot egg went viral with something like 1700 hits on my Flick site – I clearly don’t know the definition of viral.  The HSF image of the shot water-filled balloon I posted on NFO yesterday had over 8,000 hits yesterday and over 13,000 hits so far today according to my Flickr stats!!  WOW!!

Just a reminder – these incredible ultra high-speed Xenon flash units are commercially available from:

http://www.highspeedflash.com/

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After 3 weeks of brisk sales of the “Belt of Orion” things have settled down again so it’s time to introduce the second “Print of the Month” offer from the New Forest Observatory.

This Month’s full colour A3 print using HP Glossy 250g/m2 Advanced Photo Paper and the 6-colour HP Designjet 130 printer is Comet Lulin in the constellation Leo taken on February 28th 2009.  The print will be signed and dated and will come in a protective polypropylene punched pouch.  Your print will then be packed in a robust cardboard poster packaging tube for shipping.  The Special Offer price for the Comet Lulin print is still only £25 which includes postage and packing!  This offer is only open to U.K. residents.

If you would like to order your April 2010 “Print of the Month” of Comet Lulin – please e-mail sales@newforestobservatory.com to arrange your delivery.

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I have recently given a series of talks in the Hampshire area titled “The Magic of Photography”.  Based on the deep-sky images taken from the New Forest Observatory, I also discuss macrophotography and macromosaics, microphotography and micromosaics, creating panoramas using mosaics, Nature & wildlife photography, and of course ultra high-speed flash photography.

What has been brought to my attention during these talks is that most people have access to a good quality digital SLR camera, but most people do not have an observatory or telescope to fit their camera to, and most are unlikely to invest in one either preferring to leave the deep-sky image taking to the experts.  So although the deep-sky images generate a nice number of “oohs” and “ahhs” when the PowerPoint slides go up – it is actually the macro, micro, Nature, and high-speed flash photographic work that creates the most public interest.

At the end of the talks I am asked many questions, and a recurring request was for beginner’s courses for the above aspects of general photography – there was not a single request for a deep-sky photography course (which the NFO currently offers)!!  To this end, the New Forest Observatory will now be offering a number of new photographic courses for budding photographers with digital SLR cameras including:

1)  Photography in the New Forest.  A hands-on field trip course, bring your camera and all your lenses.

2)  An introduction to macrophotography and macromosaics.

3)  How to set up a photographic system for microphotography.

4)  The basics of Ultra High-Speed flash photography.

You will find more details in the Courses section of this site.

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Having just made a quick check of my Flickr site I see that another high-speed flash image is suddenly attracting a large number of hits.  I have tracked down the link to the image which is pulling in the punters and it is that well-known American author of countless fascinating scientific (and mathematical) books – Cliff Pickover!!  Thank you Cliff for putting me on the map, glad you like the HSF images 🙂

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The high speed flash image of the egg shot with an air rifle pellet:

Has gone viral on my Flickr site with over 1700 hits and still increasing 🙂

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I took the frame to the left of M100 last night using a bit of dead-reckoning – and unbelievably I scored a perfect hit 🙂  So the top two frames on the Markarian Chain mega-mosaic are now complete!  The bottom mosaic around M87 is also done – so the last bit of work I am going to do on this one, having had a word with Noel, is to get some nice deep high-resolution data using the Hyperstar III, on the Chain itself.  I daren’t say this half way through the day – but it actually looks like another clear night tonight – so you know what I’ll be doing.  If it is clear, that’ll be something like 7 clear Moonless nights this month so far – I think that must be a record from when I started in September 2004.  If I get any more clear nights this month (yes I’m now getting greedy) I will probably just try to add more and more good data to the Chain.  Virgo is now making its way West and soon it will be too far over into the trees for me to get a good imaging session on it during a single evening – time to move onto something new, probably the goodies in the Ursa Major/Canes Venatici region.

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So last night was another unexpectedly clear night and I imaged the M100 region.  I did not expect that this frame would fit onto the ultra-mega-Markarian Chain mosaic, but of course it does – perfectly – at the top.  I now need to get the frame off to the left to complete the top part of the mosaic now – I can see this is going to be a never-ending job at this rate and poor old Noel will be adding frames to this tapestry for ever and a day.

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Last night I managed to grab 3 hours worth of 5-minute subs on the final frame needed to add the M87 region to the already existing Markarian’s Chain mega-mosaic 🙂  Quite an unexpected achievement as the weather for the previous two years prevented me from getting ANY frames in the Coma/Virgo area at all.  Hard to believe but it might even be clear again tonight – just wondering if all the ash from the Icelandic volcano will give any problems.

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This is another frame to add to the mega-mosaic that is the Markarian Chain region on the Coma/Virgo border.  Just processed by Noel this is the region just to the right (West) of M87 and will make up one of three new frames taken to add to the bottom (South) of the already large Markarian Chain mosaic.  With the M87 region added to the mosaic I will call it a day on this one – until I get the mini-WASP array up and running 🙂

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If you look towards the Isle of Wight from the Milford on Sea area, you can clearly see the (recent?) massive Alum Bay cliff fall.  I am pretty certain I heard about this on the local news just a few years ago (am I mistaken?) but what amazes me is that I can find nothing about it on the Net.  Does anyone have a date for this incident and any address to a web site discussing the fall?

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