Category Archives: astrophotography

Milky Way over Mt. Evans

Back to Mt. Evans and Summit Lake again for this image. The storm clouds were just clearing on top of Mt. Evans as the evening got dark enough to capture the Milky Way. Some of the clouds were just dissipating as I captured the Milky Way over the Mt. Evans and it appeared as if steam were rising from the mountain, almost as if an volcano was erupting. Something and unique and different capturing the stars during our Jamboree last year.

Astro Eruption

Astro Eruption – Click to Enlarge/Purchase

Capture Notes:

Also posted in Canon 5D Mk III, Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM, Milky Way, Mt. Evans Tagged , , , |

Sunset Milky Way

I found this image unprocessed from the Astrophotography Jamboree a couple of years ago. This was taken from Summit Lake near Mt. Evans as the sun has set below the horizon.  The light from the sunset was still highlighting the evening clouds below the mountain and above Denver. It created a unique silhouette the hillside, while making the clouds golden and being so high in elevation you could see the milky way illuminated in the sky overhead. It was such a unique combination of lighting situations. I was just lucky enough to capture it.

Sunset Milky Way

Capture Notes:

Also posted in Canon 5D Mk III, Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM, clouds, Milky Way, Mt. Evans, stars, sunset Tagged , , , |

Twilight Bells

Part of making sure you get a good spot at the Maroon Bells during the fall season is to get there early prior to sunrise. Even though getting up at 3:30am is not a pleasure of mine, being able do some astrophotography while waiting takes away some of the pain of getting up early.

I’ve never created an astrophotography shot in black and white, but I felt this kind of minimalistic look to this image warranted a conversion to black and white. I applied a VSCO Film preset to this image from their Film 07 Night Tungsten Pack, the Kodak BW400CN Night Tungsten and with some tweeks to produce this image.

It’s just the simplicity of the Maroon Bells and the stars at twilight.

Twilight Bells

Twilight at Maroon Bells | Click to Purchase

Capture Notes:

Also posted in Aspen, Canon 5D Mk III, Maroon Bells, VSCO Tagged , , , |

Summit Lake Milky Way

We had a great turnout this year for the Shooting for the Stars Jamboree this year I did in conduction with The Photo Frontier. I captured this 7 image pano and finally had a chance to process it so I thought I would share it with you for the weekend. This image is from Summit lake just below the 14,000 ft. peak of Mt. Evans.  It sits high in the Tundra above tree line and this evening of the jamboree the clouds cleared enough to capture the amazing Milky Way over the lake.

Have a great weekend!

Milky Way over Summit Lake near Mt. Evans, Colorado

Summit Lake Milky Way | Click to Enlarge/Purchase

Capture Notes:

Also posted in Canon 5D Mk III, Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM, Milky Way, Mt. Evans Tagged , , , |

Mt Wilson Milky Way

One of the things I wanted to do on my Fall Tour this year was test out the night photography capability of the Fuji X-T1. I know it has great low light capabilities, but I wanted to see it in action. I needed a wide lens for some astrophotography and didn’t want to break the bank doing it.  Fuji does make a 14mm f/2.8, but I wasn’t too keen on spending $900 for the lens. I decided to try the Rokinon 12mm f/2 lens. This is the equivalent of a 19mm full frame lens.  It is a manual focus lens, but being that it is a wide angle lens the hyperfocal distance for the lens would make it that it would be fairly easy to get things in focus.  As it turned out it was perfect for astrophotography and has become one of my favorite carry around lenses.  I can just set it to f/8  everything is in focus from about 2 ft. and beyond is in focus.  Rokinon makes a silver and a black version of the 12mm lens. I opted to save a few dollars and purchase the silver one. I’m not sure why the lens is more expensive in black.  It sure doesn’t affect the image quality.

Rokinon 12mm f/2 in Silver finish

Rokinon 12mm f/2 in Silver finish

I love how the manual focus adjustment is nice and tight. It makes manual focusing a pleasure to use. When you do mount it on the Fuji X-T1 the camera will not recognize the lens so you have to manually set the camera to know it’s a 12mm lens. Also the images produced won’t give you the proper Exif information, but I can live with that. It will allow you to work in both manual and aperture priority mode and the viewfinder adjusts appropriately to the change if aperture. The aperture ring has a nice click to each setting so you know when you have made a change. The one thing I don’t like is the lens hood that came with it. It doesn’t say on tight and is useless. I’ll have to find another one or figure out how to get it to seal better onto the lens. For less than $400 I’m not going to complain. I hardly use it anyway.

On the 2nd evening of the tour we ventured down to Wilson Mesa. The night was fairly clear with some clouds flying into the scene as the night grew on, but I was able to capture this image of the Milky Way just to the right of Mt Wilson. I took some shots at f/2 and found there was some vignetting with the lens and found it much better at f/2.8 or above. The lens is nice and fast. The main thing is the lens was sharp and no major distortion issues. I give this lens a full thumbs up. I see no reason to spend the extra money for auto focusing at this focal length.

The Fuji performed great. I shot most of the evening at iso 5000 and there was minimal amount of noise at that high iso and it cleaned up nicely afterwards with Capture One. It didn’t quite have the low light sensitivity that my Canon 5D Mark III does but it did perform as I had hoped it would. The one thing I did not like was looking through the electronic view finder was like looking into a snow storm so the only way for me to get the proper image composition was to take a few test shots and adjust the camera to compensate based on the test shots. It’s not ideal and this is where an analog view finder comes in handy. I’m sure a camera like the X-Pro 1 or X100S with the optical view finder would be much better in this situation. It’s nothing I didn’t over come and now that I know what to do it’s not a big deal anymore. The most important thing is the images came out great! I look forward to bringing it out on more astrophotography adventures.

The Milky Way next to Mt. Wilson as shot from Wilson Mesa, near Telluride, Colorado in the Fall, 2014.

Mt Wilson Milky Way | Click to Enlarge/Purchase

Capture Notes:

Also posted in Fuji X-T1, Milky Way, Mt. Wilson, Rokinon 12mm f/2 Tagged , , , , , |

Milky Way | Miles City, Montana

I did a quick trip up to see my wife’s family this week in Eastern Montana.  I didn’t have a lot of time to explore, but did get out this past weekend during a new moon and captured the Milky Way out on Strawberry Hill just outside of Miles City, Montana.  It was a perfect evening with the exception of the ravenous mosquitos.  The night sky was clear and the stars were plentiful.

I decided to give my Fuji a quick test to see how it would perform and I’ll have to say I give it a thumbs up.  I had some issues with the EVF that I’ll have to figure out, but overall the sensor performed better than expected.  I haven’t had a chance to process all my files or my 5D Mark III files, but home to compare them here shortly.

I just had my Fuji XF18-55 f/2.8-4 R LM OIS kit lens and it was perfect for some astrophotography. I had it set at f/2.8 at 18mm and made for a perfect shot. The new Sunwayfoto L-bracket was perfect for this event and fired the camera using the remote shutter application via my iPhone to control the camera.

Here’s the image.  I did process the raw using Capture One Pro. I’ve found that the processing engine is much better with the Fuji Raws versus Lightroom. The images are much sharper and cleaner when processed using Capture One Pro.  I do a lens profile adjustment, white balance mostly and then export them into a 16-bit tiff file for import into Lightroom where I’ll do all my keyword tagging and final adjustments for the image.  I did use David Kingham’s Night Photography presets for this image.

Milky Way on top of Strawberry Hill outside of Miles City, Montanta

Milky Way on top of Strawberry Hill, Miles City Montanta | Click to View Large

Capture Notes:

Also posted in Fuji X-T1, long exposure, Montana Tagged , , , |

12 Best Landscapes 2013 – Part 5

We finish out the 12 Best Landscapes 2013 in Colorado. Image #8 is something panorama of the Milky Way along Ohio Pass near Crested Butte, Colorado. This image was taken on a clear evening this past year during my fall photo tour.  One of the benefits of not having any clouds in the sky makes for an amazing sky at night especially when the moon is small in the sky.

A Panorama of the Milky Way Over Ohio Pass

Milky Way Over Ohio Pass | Click to Enlarge

West Dallas Creek is home to one of the most amazing fall scenes and is image #9 of my 12 Best Landscapes for 2013. This is Mount Sneffels and is a prominent 14 thousand ft. peak near Telluride and Ridgway, Colorado. The Sneffels Meadow here in this image contains some of the most amazing fall colors in Colorado and is a definite must see for photographers. It will definitely be one of the places we visit next year during my Colorado Fall Colors Photography Tour.

A View of Mt. Sneffels and Sneffels Meadow along West Dallas Creek near Telluride and Ridgway, Colorado

Sneffels Meadow | Click to Enlarge

Also posted in aspens, Canon 5D Mk III, Crested Butte, long exposure, Milky Way, Mt. Sneffels, Ohio Pass, Telluride, West Elk Mountains Tagged , , , , , , , , , , |

12 Best Landscapes 2013 – Part 2

This is part 2 of 12 Best Landscapes 2013 and I continue on today with 2 more of my favorite landscapes. We stay in the Grand Teton National Park area. My first image today was however not in the National Park, but on the west side of mountain range on the Idaho Side of the Teton mountain range. This image was taken from Driggs, Idaho and a view that was a first for me this year. It challenges for one of the best views of Grand Teton Mountain I’ve ever seen. The west side of the mountain range is surrounded by farmland the mountain is magnified as it standup among the rolling grassland on the Idaho Side of the Tetons.

Idaho Grand Teton Sunset

Idaho Grand Teton Sunset | Click to Enlarge

Image number 4 takes us back into Grand Teton National Park, but this time at night along Oxbow Bend. Oxbow Bend is a quiet bend in the Snake River with amazing views of Mt. Moran and is known for some amazing sunrises with spectacular reflections on the Snake River. The river at that bend is slow-moving and makes for glass like water to give off that amazing reflection. Ryan Wright and I went there at night this time to capture some stars and the Milky Way. Here is the Milky Way and the stars reflecting off of the glass-like water at Oxbow Bend.

Milky Way at Oxbow Bend by Rick Louie Photography

Milky Way at Oxbow Bend | Click to see it Large


Also posted in Canon 5D Mk II, Grand Teton National Park, Idaho, Milky Way, mountain, sunset, Wyoming Tagged , , , , , , , |

Moonrise over Arches

One of the things a full moon is not good for is capturing stars.  The full moon is like the sun and blows out the sky around it. I was in Arches National Park last year with the SWSX Photographers tour group back in April and it was a few days prior to a full moon.  We only had a few hours of night-time sky to capture the stars before the big moon came out.

Once the moon came out the stars began to dissipate, but I decided to shoot directly into the moon rise just over the arches and capture it like similar to a sunrise just as it peaked over a opening in the formations. The stars were still somewhat visible but it the bright moon created a silhouette affect for the formations and haloed over the rock formations like a sunrise.

This image kind of reminds me of the Christmas Star over the baby’s manger.  I hope you are all having a wonderful Holiday season! I’m rather enjoying some time off and spending time with my family and I hope you get to do the same.  Have a great week everyone!

Moonrise over Arches

Moonrise over Arches National Park, Moab, Utah

Capture Notes:

Also posted in Arches National Park, Canon 5D Mk II, Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM, moon, Utah Tagged , , , , |

Milky Way from Signal Mountain

I’m taking you back to Grand Teton National Park again today, but this time for a night-time image from Signal Mountain.  During the day up on Signal Mountain in the early summer months, the side of Signal Mountain is covered with wild flowers. The top of the mountain gives you a great view over the Teton Valley and a view of the Grand Teton Mountain Range. At Night, it’s a great place to get a large view of the sky over the Teton Valley.  This evening started out with some cloud cover but then some brief winds took the storm clouds away leaving the night sky filled with the Milky Way.

The lights in the bottom of the image come from the Jackson Lake Lodge area and also captured the International Space Station streaking across the sky. This is a 9-image stitch. The exposures were a little long for the 14mm lens so you can see some star movement in the images. I’m looking forward to the warm summer months again. Standing out in the dark of the night sure is more pleasant in the summer than in the winter.

Milky Way from Signal Mountain, Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming

Milky Way from Signal Mountain – Click to Enlarge/Purchase

Capture Notes:

Also posted in Canon 5D Mk II, Canon EF 14mm f/2.8L II USM, Grand Teton National Park, long exposure, Milky Way, Signal Mountain Tagged , , , , , |