Category Archives: Announcement

Now With Added Zip

Life for Life We couldn’t take the sluggishness of our old hosting provider (SlowDaddy) so we’ve moved. We’re now on HostGator and we notice it’s a LOT zippier around here.  But we wouldn’t be at all surprised if there are bugs or problems.

Indeed, if you do notice a problem on a page or an odditity – let us know.  We just might find a way to repay you for helping us out!

While you’re looking, don’t forget we have lots of webinars going on every month.

Next up is the “Complete Workflow” where we answer the question: “Steven, how DO you manage those images”.  After that, we reprise “Creating Star Trails” and then we throw in our almost-every-month Freebinar on getting started in Night Photography. As you might guess, it’s FREE.  If you find it offered at a lower price let us know.  😉

Astronomy Photographer of the Year: 2012 Edition

The Royal Observatory, Greenwich has just announced the winners, runner ups and highly commended entries for this year’s contest.

You can watch two of the judges discuss this years winners and runners up.

The entire list can be seen on the Royal Museum’s winners page here and in person at an exhibit. Below are those that I really liked – displayed with permission, of course.

Simeis 147 Supernova Remnant

Simeis 147 Supernova Remnant

by Rogelio Bernal Andreo (
Like me, Rogelio is a San Francisco Bay Area resident. Obviously Mr. Andreo has mad skills and dedication to astrophotography. See his portfolio for more work.

Lost in Yosemite [C_033706] Runner Up - Astronomy Photographer of the Year, 2012

Lost in Yosemite
by Steven Christenson

It would seem that Rogelio and I are linked somehow. We both won in our categories in 2010, and we both were runner’s up in 2012. Above is my runner-up shot. Click the picture and read the story about the lost hikers we met on our night hike up Half Dome.

You can view a slides show of all the photos submitted to the contest here. Warning: There are a LOT of them – 688 in the over teen category (I’d call it adult, but that word seems to have a different connotation).

Lost Camera

Ok, a little diversion for a moment here, a little bit a background then the real story, then a story I hope you will help me write. If you were looking for something on Night Photography, Sorry not this time.  I am hijacking Steven’s blog at the moment. Thanks Steven,  Eric 🙂

Last Sunday I was scouting locations south of Yosemite National Park along 140 and the Merced River.  If you know anything about the type of person I am I love back-roads, the places other casual photographers don’t go.  I spotted some interesting places to return to along opposite side the Merced River and conveniently enough I found a State Park Ranger, a back-road and a trail map.  I was set.  Off we go to explore driving along the Merced River was a treat.  With a recess from both the typical winter and the mega rain we had last year I was itching to get down to the river.  After a few miles of gravel there was a long parking area, and easy access to the shore.  Ambling down the to riverside you could see the river was low, rocks that were normal not exposed were.  Fishing line, bottles, cans and other detritus was stuck in the bushes and round river rocks.  However one thing caught my eye, IT was a camera!!  I kinda did a double take but yes, yes it was a camera.  What, a mess! It was caked with muck and clods of dirt hung to it.  There was water between the screen and the casing, the lens was fogged with dirt. No matter the dirt and slime this was a waterproof camera, a Canon PowerShot D10.  But how?? Why??  I quickly realized that this was a major river rafting spot and this might have gotten lost on one of those boating trips.  Scraping away the dirt from the doors, I cracked open the battery compartment and it was pristine!  I was excited.  The battery was dead, but clean, the SD card was clean and dry.  7 hours later, a trip to the hospital, and 5 stitches, a black eye and a CT scan later (My Girlfriend slipped on a rock and ended up in a waterfall, yes in, but that is another story), I questioned whether I should download the photos.  Well the owner will never get there camera back if I don’t, and the memories they might have stored on this would be worth it.  So after combing through the  >1000 photos and videos, I could not identify any information that would give me a solid lead on the owner.  I have bits and clips of them I have figured out who I believe is the owner, and their family but no solid names.  I believe they are from CA but not sure.  They love the water almost all the shots from the camera are in or around the water.  That is it I don’t have else much to go on. So now I am turning to the internet community and asking for help, do you know these people can you help me find them.

Please, help me write the rest of this story.   As a photographer I know how much it would mean to me to lose my camera but to lose the memories it contained is harder.  The following is some of the photos that I believe will be the most helpful.  I have spared you the ~200 underwater self portraits (I published the fun underwater portraits) and others that are uninformative (like the sky).   I have tried to preserve all of the meta data but there was not much there anyway.   If you recognize anything please leave a comment, if you know people in the photos please send them the link, please share this with your photographer friends.   And Please don’t bother “All Outdoors”, the rafting company too much.

Other Data:

Photo dates 5/8 to 7/22/2011  Merced River CA to

Photo locations are from Merced, Malibu, to Palm Springs.

Map of where I found the camera,-119.976454&spn=0.04495,0.093641

What is Special about the December 10th Lunar Eclipse?

The moon is in penumbra as it sets over the US Capitol Building, December 10, 2011

December 10th will bring us a total lunar eclipse visible from much of the United States. It will be the last such total lunar eclipse for the next 3 years.  The Eastern United states will get just a glimpse of the first umbral contact as the moon sets and the sun rises, but the Western continental US will see the moon totally eclipsed as it sets.  Get up at least an hour before sunrise to see it, and look low in the west.

What’s not clear is how visible the moon will be since twilight will begin to drown out the fully eclipsed moon for western observers. However if you’re a “Moon hunter” like I am, this eclipse provides a rare opportunity to catch the eclipsed moon together with features near the horizon – landmarks, mountains, etc and THAT is quite unusual.  The ideal place to be would be about one time zone west of the Pacific time zone… so perhaps those in the far western Canadian Provinces and those in Eastern Alaska and Hawaii will have ideal conditions. For them, there will be plenty of time to track the eclipse.

Many of those in the San Francisco Bay area are in for a big treat as the eclipsed moon will slip behind the South Tower of the Golden Gate Bridge – IF you can find the right spot to be.  Here is an approximation of what those with clear weather and good timing likely to see (except, of course it will be early twilight):


I wrote about this event previously.  If you’re interested in calculating these things for yourself, I have scheduled the next “Night Photography 111: Catching the Moon Webinar” for January 4, 2012 (webinar cost $25.11). What have the students said about this webinar?

  • Steven did an excellent job with the training. – Judy, San Jose, CA
  • Top notch, even for a novice such as myself. Wish it was longer, so much to learn – Jack, Los Angeles, CA
  •  Great presentation! Steven offers a perfect balance between inspirational shots, moon facts and figures, and calculations to make our own moon compositions.  – Phil, San Francisco, CA
  • Wow did I ever learn a lot. I have been trying to shoot the full moon every month this past year. Some pics were okay and some not. After this class, I feel like I have some new tools to plan my shots and get a lot closer to my vision of the shot or maybe realize it won’t work after all and revise accordingly. I am already planning for my next full moon.  – Marsha, San Francisco, CA
  • SteveC is a Great Teacher – Roger, San Francisco, CA

If you’re thinking that Astrophotography might be worth trying, my next Astrophotography 101: Getting Started Without Getting Soaked is December 20th (cost $36).

  • Excellent presentation – MUCH better than I expected. Steven really knows the material, and has it well prepared. – Burt
  • A lot of very good information presented in a way that a beginner can understand. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that astrophotography can be attempted for less than the price of a new lens.  – Phil
  • Excellent introduction to astrophotography. – Alan