Phil's blog

I hope you enjoy this video 'The Moon in Motion', with footage of the 'Great American Eclipse', captured from locations in Idaho and looking over the Tetons on 21st August 2017. Music by my talented friend, cellist and composer Kristin Rule: http://www.kristinrule.com/

Best viewed with the lights down and the music up on the biggest screen you have. 

It has taken me all of the nearly two years since this international expedition to develop and apply the specialised eclipse image processing and video editing techniques required to create this. The video features footage from 7 out of 12 cameras I had running on the day. Read on to find out more..

The view from Table Mountain of the Great American Eclipse; 21st August 2017, looking towards the Grand Teton and the Teton Range. Three days prior to the eclipse I hiked up to the summit of Table Mountain (3,387m/11,100ft) and planted an automated camera. A day after the eclipse I hiked up to the summit again to retrieve my camera, only to find out that the whole exercise had so nearly been in vain.

10
Jan

Geminid Meteor 'Shower' - December 2020

Geminid Meteor Shower - Composite Image - Monday 14th and Tuesday 15th December 2020

Despite living in the southern hemisphere, with no moon and a clear night or two forecast, I decided to have a crack at capturing Geminid meteors in December 2020. But I was a bit rusty.

In late 2019, I took an opportunity to upgrade the SkyWatcher EQ8 equatorial mount in my dome (see full disclosure below). In my case, I chose the EQ8-Rh option with high-resolution optical encoders on the R.A. axis, rather than the new 'vanilla' EQ8-R.

Despite my astrophotography experience, I'm not an expert in the construction, mechanics or operation of equatorial mounts. But let me start with my take on the changes in the the base version EQ8-R compared to the first generation of this mount before discussing the remarkable encoders in the Rh version.

21
Jun

Southern Cross and 'The Pointers'

Although I already have an automated observatory for deep sky imaging, with some time and inspiration in isolation in early 2020, I setup my smaller equatorial mount in my 'darky sky' backyard for some widefield imaging with a QHY367C CMOS camera and a Canon 85mm lens, to capture this stunninng view of this region of sky, inspired as I have been for the last 25+ years by Akira Fujii's own famous image of this iconic constellation. In total, I captured 20 hours of exposure across three panes of the mosaic, including additional frames to capture the red nebula through a hydrogen-alpha filter and multiple layers of blurred stars through soft effect filters.

Southern Cross and 'The Pointers', captured by Phil Hart in April/May 2020
QHY367C camera and Canon 85mm lens at f5.6, 20 hours total exposure

Canon Australia loaned me their new EOS Ra camera during our summer and between the smoke of the summer bushfires (how long ago does that seem now?) I was able to capture one deep sky image from my observatory, a timelapse sequence from the Gippsland Lakes and several panoramas close to home.

Eclipsed! is my first significant solo exhibition, which features images from five of my local eclipse chasing efforts and large format prints of the stunning results I captured at the Great American Eclipse in August 2017.

18
Aug

Tawonga Huts Ski Tour

After a break last year for the solar eclipse, Tim, Eric and I headed away for another week of back-country ski touring this time around the Bogong High Plains in Victoria. More photos in the SmugMug album.

28
Jul

Waubra Lunar Eclipse

I'd prefer to pace my eclipses out evenly. I still haven't processed solar eclipse footage from Idaho 2017, then there was the Total Lunar Eclipse in January this year. The next one could have been nicely timed say next year rather than this one just six months later and then a gap of three years till 2021 (for Australian viewers). So despite the list of other priorities, an eclipse shoot was required.

01
Feb

Mount Greenoch Lunar Eclipse

The tonne of astrophotography equipment that I hauled to Idaho and back for the total solar eclipse in August had remained in the shed until the week before this lunar eclipse, and most of it till eclipse day itself. With summer at Camp Cooinda and a job that doesn't shut down over the holiday period either it was time to dust things off, put them back together and hastily remember how to use them. A sensible approach would be to focus on just one or two cameras, but as usual I couldn't resist putting all my cameras into service and aiming for one of everything.. widefield, timelapse, composite, tele-photo and telescopic images of the eclipse.

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