Beyond The Campfire was created to encourage readers to explore the great outdoors and to observe it close up. Get out and take a hike, go fishing or canoeing, or simply stretch out on a blanket under a summer sky...and take your camera along. We'll talk about combining outdoor activities with photography. We'll look at everything from improving your understanding of the basics of photography to more advanced techniques including things like how to see photographically and capturing the light. We'll explore the night sky, location shoots, using off camera speedlights along with nature and landscape. Grab your camera...strap on your hiking boots...and join me. I think you will enjoy the adventure.

Prairie Sunrise

Prairie Sunrise
Prairie Sunrise

Monday, March 20, 2017

Pleiades - Viewing the Seven Sisters Cluster

There they were, a bright little cluster of stars hovering high in the night sky; Alcyone, Asterope, Celeano, Electra, Maia, Merope, and Taygeta. Names from mythology of seven sisters, the seven daughters of Atlas and Pleione, floating and seemingly spinning across a cosmic ballroom with their lightly veiled gowns slowly whisping as they turn. We know them as The Pleiades Star Cluster, one of the brightest and easiest clusters to see in the night sky.

The cluster actually consists of hundreds of stars and is easily descerned with a pair of binoculars and just as easily photographed. They are one of the highlights of the late winter and early spring sky events. They float just out of reach, taunting and teasing Orion, The Hunter Constellation now brilliantly hovering in the southwestern sky. They are beautiful stars, bright with a crystal glow against an ebony sky their names forever etched into mythological stories and legends.

With my camera firmly attachd to the sky tracker, I made a few final tracker adjustments and test captures to verify the alignment, then I rotated the camera and pointed toward the Seven Sisters. With its characteristic buzzing, the little 1 RPM motor began its slow rotation to offset the relative movement of the stars caused by the spin of the earth. After a few seconds to allow the tracker to settle any vibrations, I pressed the remote shutter release and simply counted; 30 seconds, then 45, then finally 60 before releasing and closing the shutter. In an instant the image popped across the view screen and the Pleiades Seven Sisters Star Cluster offered a pleasant refresh of the day. My enchantment of their beauty continues.

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