A Shot in the Dark

Today’s post features an image I captured this past Monday evening, from the back yard at the Lake of the Ozarks, Missouri. I first became interested in astrophotography a few years ago. Since then, I always try to find a unique place to shoot the annual Perseids meteor shower (August), as well as other opportunities, as they arise.

Additionally, I find making good astrophotographs to be very challenging and I love a good photographic challenge! My “Astrophotography To Do List” is constantly growing, as I think of new and different things to try!

Well, Jupiter came into “Opposition” this Tuesday night. Opposition occurs when the Earth comes directly between a planetary subject (Jupiter, in this case) and the sun.

I set up a telescope, with one of my DSLR cameras attached. However, this didn’t work out for me … it was pretty windy and telescopes are extremely susceptible to wind! So, I set up my 500mm f/4 lens onto another camera body and worked with that.  It was a bit difficult … I needed to move the camera around and find a place out of the wind. Even then, a 500mm lens, coupled with a 1.4x teleconvertor is still very motion sensitive! My remedy? Shoots tons of images and hope that at least a few are relatively stable and in focus!

Although not the best image, I did manage to capture a few “good” ones … here is my favorite:

Jupiter, at opposition

As you can see, Jupiter is very small in this photo … and this is even after cropping the original image by a large amount! If you look closely, you can actually see some of the cloud bands that are part of this interesting planet. I sure wish it was a bigger image! I tried cropping it to be even larger, but the resolution breaks down and the image becomes way too grainy.

So, what’s next? Well, Saturn comes into Opposition next week, so I will try again … if the weather is good! And hopefully, I will be able to use the telescope for greater magnification!


Photographic Equipment Used:

  • Canon 7D Mark 2 body
  • Canon 500mm f/4 IS lens, with IS “Off”, and Canon 1.4x TC
  • Bogen 3221 tripod, with Wimberly gimbal head
  • ISO 400
  • Aperture f/5.6
  • Shutter Speed 1/1000 sec.



Posted in Astrophotography, Nature Photography
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