The Only Way is Up

At the moment we’re all stuck at home so photographic opportunities are limited. But you can look at and even photograph things miles away if you (as is becoming a theme in these posts) look upwards. Here are some pictures taken on this last Wednesday evening…

First, two birds silhouetted in a tree about 100ft away just after sunset.

 Then a DHL A330 high above and looking like a space shuttle launch. Still sunny up at 12,000ft.

The ISS (International Space Station) flew over about 250 miles away. It’s very bright and very easy to see, but I was surprised that I was able to get a photo that showed it’s actual shape albeit very fuzzy. This was using a DSLR + lens + converter that worked out (in 35mm terms) as equivalent to 630mm. In fact all the pictures in this post were taken using this lens combination.

You should also be able to get a picture like this with a superzoom compact camera like the Lumix TZ series or some of the Canon PowerShot or Sony CyberShot cameras. Use it on the most zoomed-in optical zoom setting.

The important thing is that you need to find a manual mode on the camera as the auto-exposure will see just black and be unable to cope; the ISS is actually in very bright sunlight. Set your camera to a low ISO (e.g. 200), a high shutter speed (faster than 1/1000th sec) and a medium aperture (maybe f/8). If it struggles to focus then try to focus on a distant streetlamp and keep that setting. Basically it’s a fight against the camera’s automation! Take lots of pics and download them to your computer. Amongst the blurry ones there’s hopefully a sharp one.

And finally Venus, a mere 6.5 million miles away.

Not bad for being stuck at home!

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