October 7, 2008 #047 - Vacation Odyssey Episode 2

We reached Denver, CO and the odometer read 1100 miles. That's a lot of small towns and some great scenery. All but the first night had been clear. The desert sky was dark, the stars were sharp and magnitude levels fell as we traveled west. We didn't have any physical problems with being a mile high. The only problem was the moon, it continued to take an ever larger bite from the night sky.

I have a Fuji E900 camera which takes great digital pics but the lens is not suited to photographing the night sky. I have always used a Cannon F1, 35 mm. This was a top of the line film camera in it's day but is now decidedly long in the tooth. My son had just purchased a new Nikon D40, just before we got there. I can never resist a new gadget. We began to experiment with it in the evening and after a while we were able to capture some serviceable lunar pics using the manual settings and a 300 mm lens.

It is amazing how sensitive these cameras are in low light conditions. Colors are captured even though the eye sees only shades of gray. The lights of Denver prevented any long exposures but here are four of our early tests. The fifth is a fast hand held snap of the moon with the E900 through the eyepiece of my 127mm maksutov.

Clear Sky - Rich

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