Conjunction of the Moon, Venus and Mars Over Shankill

February 22, 2015  •  Leave a Comment

Herself arrived home with the shopping last Friday evening and said I should get out and look at the sky. She was right, the Moon, Venus and Mars (the "star" above Venus) were putting on a great show in the evening earthshine. The technical term is a conjunction but not, nor, or even the grammatical term for a little word  linking up this increasingly incoherent sentence!

Moon-Venus-Mars-John Coveney (1 of 2)Moon-Venus-Mars-John Coveney (1 of 2) I also came across several astrological links when I was googling for this post. Apparently, the next few weeks are looking promising for Arians - no not aliens! - such as me. One horoscope says:-
“love is spontaneous and direct. The chase is very exciting to us under this fiery influence”
Sadly though, there was no mention of the lotto numbers!

Moon-Venus-Mars-John Coveney (2 of 2)Moon-Venus-Mars-John Coveney (2 of 2) Anyway, Here is the techie bit for these two versions, one using a tree in my estate for some foreground interest. I used the 100-400mm f4-5.6 lens on the tripod for 2 to 2.5 seconds at 180mm, f5 and ISO800. To keep everything reasonably sharp, I applied the 500 rule as described by US landscape photographer David Kingham on photography blogging site PetaPixel. The idea is to divide this number by the focal length, in this case , 180mm to get 2.7 seconds. When using a crop sensor camera such as my Canon 7D, you are also supposed to divide by the crop factor of 1.6 which gives 1.7 seconds - so I was at the limits! Given the restriction on the length of the exposure, I had to open the aperture to the widest available setting of f5 at 180mm and push the ISO up 800 to get enough light. In Lightroom, I cropped quite a bit and changed to a square format. I adjusted the brightness with the exposure, shadows, highlights and whites sliders. I pushed the white balance strongly towards the blue end to pick up the last of the twilight even though this makes the Moon look at little blue – but I much prefer this to a black sky. Finally, I applied noise reductions.

Check back in a few weeks and I might update on the lurve  predictions!


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