Smiley sky

Smiley-face conjunction

This is my picture of the Moon/Venus/Jupiter "smiley face" conjunction that just happened. There are many like it, but this one is mine.

(The 500-pixel-high version doesn't look like much. The full-size one is better. There was a little cloud, though.)

I wasn't planning to take this picture, but I went for a walk to Echo Point and found a person there hopelessly trying to photograph the conjunction with a full-auto compact camera. Which actually did have a "Starry Sky" mode (among many others, including one called "Food"...) - but said mode was, of course, useless.

So I promised to take a proper picture and e-mail it to her. And when I got back to Echo Point with my DSLR and tripod there was a family there trying to take the same picture, and failing for the same reason. So I harvested an e-mail address from them too.

A few times, I've gone to Echo Point and it's been cloudy or foggy or otherwise not the ideal time to take a picture of the Three Sisters. On those occasions, I've offered to send disappointed photographers a picture I took on another date, because I've got some excellent ones.

Three Sisters long exposure

My favourite is this one, which I took at 2:37 in the morning, by moonlight, with a thirty-second exposure.

Everyone I've made this offer to so far has declined, though. And fair enough, I suppose; the Three Sisters I photographed last year is not the same Three Sisters you would have photographed had you been able to see it through the bleeding fog. But the Smiley Conjunction I photographed is, within a fairly small time window, the same one that the people I sent it to saw.

12 Responses to “Smiley sky”

  1. cmlpreston Says:

    Awesome, Dan. That's exactly how I pictured it in my head when I was trying my DSLR. Unfortunately, my images turned out less than stellar (hah).

    What were your camera settings for the smiley face pic? I see you don't expose (hah hah) them on flickr.

  2. loseweightslow Says:

    I'm supprised that your photo doesn't show the moons of Jupiter at all.

  3. hubris Says:

    OK - so you're saying that up there in the Blue Mountains, where folks 'r' special 'n' all (not necessarily all feral, crystal-gazing hillbillies- more towards the subverting-the-dominant-paradigm kind of special), you approached some tourists, asked them for their email address and possibly mentioned that you'd post some photos for them on your blog - what's it called again? That's right - How to Spot a Psychopath. Knowing full well that "blog" was probably mountain-slang for bloody log still slick with the blood of your previous victims, you're surprised that they hopped straight back into their SUV and roared down the M4 back to Mosman, triple checking the doors and windows that night?

    [I didn't feel the need to mention the blog - I just sent them the Flickr link. And I kept all of the knives in my pockets. Not making that darn mistake again, I can tell you - all running along the Cliff Walk in the dark, with the mud puddles and the tripping tree roots and getting a headache from all the darn screaming and begging and "no, no, please, I have children..." Then when you're done with what should only have taken ten seconds in the first place, you have to drag the body up a bunch of stairs. That does tenderise it a bit, though. -Dan]

    P.S. Love the mountains - make an annual pilgrimage with the rug rats up to the Thomas the Tank Engine sessions at the Zig-zag Railway and stay overnight somewhere. Jokes aside, though, how does a died-in-the-wool skeptic fit in amongst the very herbal mountain folk?

  4. Rave Says:

    I don't see any moons round Jupiter? I can spot them with a pair of 10x25s, so I'm a bit disappointed that a Digital SLR can't pick them up, especially as I just splashed out on an EOS 450D:(.

  5. Erik T Says:

    Are you being sarcastic? 10x25s capture a fair bit more light than a DSLR, and I doubt any commercially-available camera sensor can approach the sensitivity of the dark-adjusted human eye.

  6. loseweightslow Says:

    Erik T, I can assure you that a DSLR can trivially photograph the moons of Jupiter.

  7. Daniel Rutter Says:

    Yes, you definitely can see Jovian moons with a DSLR, but you need a longer, higher-quality lens than the one I used (just your basic Canon 100-300mm; a telescope adapter can of course do the job), and it won't hurt to to take several images and stack them, either.

    Here's one:

    Jupiter and moons

    Taken through a telescope with the same not-so-new Canon EOS-20D that I have. Apparently "about five" stacked exposures.

  8. phrantic Says:

    I've stood, I think, precisely where you tripod is sitting in that Three Sister's photograph. My best photograph from my Qld-to-Vic roadtrip of the Sisters could almost be overlaid on that one.

  9. Chazzozz Says:

    It's funny how deceptively large they looked in real life. I doubt that the celestial bodies in SE Qld are physically any large than Eastern NSW, but the planets look very small by comparison in your photograph.

    phrantic - I suspect my own photos of the Three Sisters could almost be superimposed over Dan's, too. I took quite a few from the viewing platform at Echo Point in various spots, so I'm sure that one was close.

    Hey Dan, does that painted fellow still play his didgeridoo for all the tourists? I got quite a chuckle out of seeing all the foreigners 'oohing' and 'aahhing' over the sight.

  10. Ziggyinc Says:

    Heh, I looked at that picture for 5 minutes trying to figure out how your moon ended up on the bottom, then I remembered I'm north of the equator. It looked very different in Hawaii.

  11. Daniel Rutter Says:

    The conjunction was actually tilted a bit to the right from my point of view; the camera wasn't level when I took that shot. But yes, it was that way up.

    After I ran this moon photo...

    Moon shot my old EOS-D60 review (I took it with the same 100-300mm), someone e-mailed me to tell me that I'd run it upside-down by mistake. Then he sent me another message, after he'd remembered where I was :-).

  12. Steven Den Beste Says:

    Interesting how the same names come up. Here in Oregon we also have something called "The Three Sisters". But ours are a bit bigger:

    South Sister is the tallest, at 3159 meters.

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