Comet C/2014 Q2 Lovejoy

I love it when we have a comet. This comet has been highly visible and has passed near some of the best targets in the winter sky. Here are my best shots of it.







A few test shots with the new modified T3i

These are all single exposures. I’ll shoot calibration frames and do stacked images the next time I go out. I didn’t have much time for this shoot so I wanted to get a few different targets to get an idea of what this camera can do. You can really see how the reds show up. That’s what the modified sensor is supposed to capture.

You can click each photo for a larger version.

north america nebula

North America Nebula

trifid nebula

M20 – Trifid Nebula

lagoon nebula

M8 – Lagoon Nebula

omega nebula

M17 – The Omega Nebula

My Astrophotography Equipment

Because several has asked, here is my current equipment.

Camera Bodies

I currently own a Canon 6D and a modified Canon T3i. The 6D is my main camera for most things I shoot. It is full-frame and is the most affordable full-frame DSLR that I am aware of. For astrophotography I mostly use it for wide-field shots. Here is an example with the 6D.


Milky Way over North Georgia

The T3i for shooting deep-sky objects as it has a modified sensor that makes it more sensitive to hydrogen-alpha light. Objects like the Orion Nebula really pop with this camera. It also does a really good job with daytime shots, but it is a crop-sensor camera. I primarily use this camera with some kind of tracking when I want to shoot long exposures of nebulae, galaxies, and star clusters. Here is an example taken with the T3i.


North American Nebula


  • Bower 14mm f/2.8 manual focus lens
  • Rokinon 8mm f/3.5 fisheye manual focus lens
  • Canon 24-105mm f/4
  • Canon 40mm f/2.8 pancake lens
  • Canon 50mm f/1.4
  • Canon 135mm f/2
  • Tamron 150-600mm


  • Williams Optics 102mm APO Refractor
  • Celestron 9.25″ Schmidt-Cassegrain
  • Orion Short Tube 80mm Refractor
  • Celestron 90mm spotting scope


  • Orion Sirius EQ
  • Vixen Polarie

A Nice Surprise

One of my photos has gone viral. Sort of.

I took this photo back in June where there was a nice conjunction of the crescent Moon, Venus, and Mercury. I posted it on my Flickr site and it got about a hundred views.

But a couple of days ago a Reddit user named tombh photo-shopped the Andromeda Galaxy into the photo in such a way that showed the galaxy if it were brighter. Here is that version.

There was an interesting discussion on Reddit about it here.

I thought the interest in the photo had died down, but I was very pleased to see that Phillip Plait had seen the photo and even wrote a nice article on his blog and credited me.

I can only say that I am glad my photo was used for this very interesting discussion. I used Creative Commons licensing on my images, and this is one of the reasons I believe in Creative Commons. The photo now has over 3,000 views and I am grateful for the credit that was given both on Reddit and by Dr. Plait.