First Attempt at Photographing a Comet (Hyakutake).
Comet Hyakutake (1996B2), March 24th, 1996 at about 0300 EST (0800 UT). My first attempt at comet photography. To the left is part of the constellation Ursa Major (The Big Dipper); and on the right is part of Ursa Minor (The Little Dipper). Draco is near the center of the photo. This image was taken from the side of the road at Paines Prairie just south of Gainesville, Fla. Exposures of more than about two minutes weren't possible due to the fact that cars were passing by at about that interval. [At 3 AM?!!! Don't people ever sleep around here?!!! 8-)]
Next to the original photo are a lighter scan and a negative in an effort to try to bring out the tail of the comet a little better.
This was a two-minute exposure using KODAK GOLD 200 color film at f3.5. Camera used was an old Argus C-3 (circa 1940) that used to belong to my late grandfather. Note the arrow shapes of the stars the further you go from the center of the image. This is due to a severe defect in the lens, unfortunately. If this is not enough bad luck, consider that I could not use a tripod to point and steady the camera because years ago when I first tried using the camera, I used a very cheap tripod and the bolt that I screwed into the base of the camera to hold the camera steady BROKE OFF! I have since not been able to remove the broken bolt; and it has served as an incessant reminder of my stupidity that one fateful day long ago. To steady the camera for this image, I placed the camera within a simple 1-foot long wooden saw guide and used tiny wood blocks to help aim the camera in altitude. I then placed the whole assembly atop my car's roof and turned the whole kit and kaboodle (no, not the whole CAR, silly!) to the approximate azimuth of the object I intended to shoot (and hoped a heck of a lot, I'll admit). But let it not be said that you have to have the most expensive of things in order to get the shot. In counterpoint however, let it not be said that the cheapest tripod is necessarily a GOOD tripod, either. 8-(
Comet Hyakutake - March 27, 1996 @ 04:19am EST.
Comet Hyakutake photographed from just north of the city of Alachua, Fla. Taken using FUJIColor SG-800 color film at f/3.5 for 1 min. 50 secs. Antiquated Argus C-3 camera with 50mm lens. Glare is from an approaching truck at the last minute (wouldn't you know it).
Comet Hyakutake - March 27, 1996 @ 04:40am EST.
Comet Hyakutake photographed from just north of the city of Alachua, Fla. This is a 60 second exposure at f/3.5 using FUJIColor SG-800 color film. Argus C-3 camera with 50mm lens. Again, glare from guess what.
Comet Hyakutake - April 3, 1996 @ 07:58pm EST.
Comet Hyakutake photgraphed from the sports field at Santa Fe Community College using FUJIColor SG-800 color film at f/3.5 for 1 minute. Argus C-3 camera and 50mm lens. Glare courtesy of Santa Fe Community College.
Venus & Pleiades and Comet Hyakutake April 3, 1996 @ 08:19pm EST.
Photographed using FUJIColor SG-800 color film for 30 seconds at f/5.6. Argus C-3 camera and 50mm lens. Venus & the Pleiades are to the far left. Comet Hyakutake is in the middle right hand portion of the photo. Note that all of the constellation Perseus can be seen lying sideways in this photo.
Comet Hyakutake - April 4, 1996 @ 07:53pm EST.
Comet Hyakutake photographed from my own backyard in the Northwood subdivision of Gainesville. A 30 second exposure at f/3.5 using FUJIColor SG-800 color film. Argus C-3 camera and 50mm lens.
This is an interesting accident. I didn't expect this one to work at all (but, of course, I tried it anyway, right?). You see, there's a street light on the street in front of the house next door to our right. Also, our backyard neighbor happens to have one handy in his own backyard, too. This gave the trees some interesting side and back-lighting which unintentionally complimented the image of the comet and stars between the trees. Who'd have known!
Comet Hale-Bopp - March 09, 1997 @ 5:33am EST.
Photographed from front yard of our mobile home lot, with bright streetlight across street nearby, out of field of view, to left. Mamiya MSX-1000 35mm SLR camera, 1m20s exposure, f/2.8, 50mm lens, 2X tele-extender (for 100mm). Kodak Royal Gold 200 color print film.
Comet Hale-Bopp - March 09, 1997 @ 5:35am EST.
Photographed from front yard of our mobile home lot, with bright streetlight across street nearby, out of field of view, to left. Mamiya MSX-1000 35mm SLR camera, 1m20s exposure, f/1.8, 50mm lens. Kodak Royal Gold 200 color print film.
Comet Hale-Bopp - March 09, 1997 @ 5:40am EST.
Photographed from back yard of our mobile home lot, in shadow of our mobile home now - protected from nearby glare of streetlight. Mamiya MSX-1000 35mm SLR camera, 1m20s exposure, f/1.8, 50mm lens. Kodak Royal Gold 200 color print film. So far, this is the best of the Hale-Bopp photos I've tried to take. In the photo itself, you can just see the electric blue ion tail above the bright, main, white dust tail. The only photo I've been able to obtain so far of the ion tail. To get the ion tail, you need a dark sky in the area of the comet -- that means no light pollution from city lights in the distance -- and no interference from moonlight. To prove it, I took this using 200 ASA film, and even using 400 ASA film, I've so-far not been able to get the ion tail because of interference either from city lights, streetlights, and/or moonlight. Still, in the original photo, you can notice a bit of sky glow from citylights. Had it not been there, I wonder how bright and/or deep blue the ion tail might have appeared. Also in the original color photo, the surrounding trees are bathed in an orange light from the streetlight. Eerie. Looks almost like a double-exposure shot; though it is not.
Comet Hale-Bopp - March 22, 1997 @ 7:42pm EST.
Photographed from near front entrance to Whitney Mobile Home Park, where I now live. Sign in lower left (`Whitney Park') was lit by two floodlights and so came out way overexposed in this time exposure of 30 seconds, and a reflection of it, in reverse, can be seen in the opposite sector of the photograph. As well, a bright streetlight was just out of view to the left. To top it off, a car drove by during the exposure. (Sigh!) Mamiya MSX-1000 35mm SLR camera, 30-second exposure, f/1.8, 50mm lens. Kodak Royal Gold 400 color print film. I wonder if I should have titled this `A lesson in light pollution'.
Comet Hale-Bopp - March 22, 1997 @ 7:47pm EST.
A zoom of the comet above the tree in the above photo. Mamiya MSX-1000 35mm SLR camera, 15-second exposure, 200mm lens at f/3.5, and using a 2x tele-extender (for effective 400mm). Kodak Royal Gold 400 color print film. Of course, had the same lighting problems as in the above photo and, more cars drove by during this exposure. (Can't win.)
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