Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Venus, Jupiter, Mercury Conjunction (1080p, 30fps)



The planets Jupiter, Venus and Mercury are close together in the evening sky this week, so every night I've been trying to capture them together on the horizon in the twilight hours before they set. The first night the clouds were too thick. The second night I was shooting sunset in high winds at Mono Lake with the Sierra Nevada as a high western horizon, so I caught a few pictures of the planets, but they set too quickly to capture a time-lapse video. The third night was just right, relatively clear to the west, I was in a high shooting position with an apparent horizon lower than my position (less than 0 degrees elevation), and fortunately that was Sunday May 16, the night when they'd be closest together, forming a tight triangle.

There was still wind to deal with so I changed position a few times to minimize it. I could only use one camera because I had loaned my daughter one of my quick release plates the day before and it was still on her camera back home. There wasn't a lot of light and I was shooting with a 2X teleconverter on my 70-200mm lens at close to 310mm, so my aperture was limited to f/8, forcing me to bump up the ISO to minimize shutter speed in that wind. Fortunately I worked out all the trade-offs in time to capture about four hundred frames, enough to create this time-lapse video. 


Here's how my four days of effort to capture this event turned out:


Pursuing the Venus, Jupiter, Mercury conjunction on May 24, 2013.
May 24 from Lake Tahoe


Pursuing the Venus, Jupiter, Mercury conjunction on May 26, 2013. Too high of a horizon at Mono Lake!
May 25 from Mono Lake

Pursuing the Venus, Jupiter, Mercury conjunction on May 26, 2013, just right with a low horizon.
May 26 from Monitor Pass













Pursuing the Venus, Jupiter, Mercury conjunction on May 27, 2013. Too cloudy over Lake Tahoe!
May 27 from Lake Tahoe