A Cool Night at Brasstown Bald Mountain

Brasstown Bald Mountain, located in northeast Georgia, is the highest mountain in Georgia. Not only is it beautiful during the daytime, but the night skies there are very good because of the lack of light pollution. The nearest towns are Blairsville, Young Harris, and Hiawasee, but they don’t generate enough light to cause much a problem when shooting up at the mountain. There is a large parking lot where you can set up you telescopes and/or cameras, and it is one of my favorite places to shoot.

Last Friday night (November 29th) I saw that we would have clear skies in the area so I decided to pack up my scope and cameras and head up there for some night shooting. I got there just before sunset, and I managed to get a few really nice shots of that. This is my favorite of them:

Once it got dark, I decided to set up my Canon 60D on a regular tripod with a wide-angle lens and get some wide-field shots of the Milky Way. Here are my two favorites of that group:

I also set up my 80mm Orion APO refractor telescope and did some observing to get a feel of how good the seeing was. I then connected my Canon 60Da directly to the telescope and did some shooting of a few deep sky objects. The 60Da has a specially modified sensor that is designed for astrophotography. Here are the best shots I got with that camera connected to the telescope.

Dumbbell Nebula

Pleiades Cluster

I had intended to shoot a few more objects such as the Andromeda Galaxy and the Double Cluster in Perseus, but it started getting a bit windy. It was already very cold up there, and wind makes for bad shooting as it’s almost impossible to keep your equipment steady. I would up staying maybe four hours, and I got some really nice shots. If you are ever in that part of Georgia, I highly recommend a daytime or nighttime visit to Brasstown Bald.

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Kennesaw Mountain as seen with the 50mm f/1.4

This is the 3rd installment of my project in which I take only one lens with me as I hike up Kennesaw Mountain. I have already done this with the 24-105 f/4 and 200mm f/2.8. I am really enjoying this 50mm lens, and here are a few photos from the shoot. This was the first time I have been up there since the leaves began showing some real color. I do wish it had been a sunny day, but I think the lens did quite well. The camera is a Canon 6D.

And here is a link to the entire set. – http://www.flickr.com/photos/srahn/sets/72157637167748814/

A New Project for Different Lenses

I’m doing a new photo project, which will also help with getting some really good exercise. I’m going to hike up and down Kennesaw Mountain several more times over the next few weeks, and I’ll be taking my Canon 6D with a different lens with me each time and only shooting with that lens. This past Monday I shot with my 24-105mm zoom lens, which allows for wide angle and medium telephoto shots. Here are a few photos from that shoot.

On Thursday, I took my 200mm prime lens, which offers more magnification but no wide angle options. It’s interesting to see how being forced to use a different lens makes you think differently about the shots you take. Here are some shots from Thursday.

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Shooting the Milky Way

This is one of my favorite things to photograph. The trick is finding skies that are dark enough so that you can actually see the Milky Way. Luckily we have the Deerlick Astronomy Village here in Georgia, and I am proud to be a member. It’s about 100 miles east of Atlanta, and it has some of the darkest skies in Georgia and nice low horizons in all directions.

So what will this blog be about?

I’ve had several blogs in the past, and I’ve always tried to have a variety of topics.

This blog will be very similar.

It will probably have a lot of photography, as that has become a real passion for me.

I will also make many posts about education and educational technology.

And you can also expect quite a few posts about sports.

I might even surprise myself by finding other topics to blog about.

Basically, you never know what you’ll get here.

Sound good?

I’m excited.

So here is a recent photo I took of the moon that I really like.