NEOWISE needs no introduction, so I’ll just say that I never get tired of seeing these, and leave it at that! ~WaterGirl
I made two more trips out to see NEOWISE before it leaves the warmth of the Sun and heads out to the deep freeze and just becomes a icy mass.
The original plan was to head out to Joshua Tree on a Saturday, but the forecast both predicted clouds and wind so I settled on a more local venue, Lockwood Valley near Frazier Park north of LA. I’ve shot up there a number of times and it’s about a dark as Joshua Tree (the LA Astronomical Society has their dark site up there).
I was also planning to shoot some star trails. I shot star trails there a few years ago, but that shot was plagued by not having a fully charged battery and not getting a good foreground in the frame. I set up the NX-500 with my new timer I got for Father’s Day and let it take 1 minute star trail shots for a hour and a half, while I used my NX1 for the comet.
About a hour past sunset the comet became visible to the naked eye and was pretty bright in the northwestern sky. I brought my sky tracker with me for this trip and decided to take the same approach that I’ve used for deep space photos, tracking for a longer exposure and also stacking for noise reduction. I shot an initial wide angle shot and then two tighter shots to get the detail in the comet’s tails.
By Thursday the weather conditions had improved at Joshua Tree, so I fired up the Prius and headed there, meeting with a fellow photographer there. By the time the comet became visible in the sky, it was somewhat dimmer that it had been at Lockwood Valley. This may have been due to the Moon being present as well as some light pollution from Yucca Valley.
I shot a photo of the comet and the Moon as well as photos of just the comet in an area known as the Hall of Horrors. I moved to a familiar location that we’ve seen here at “On The Road”, a view that looks out between two large rocks. I’ve shot the setting sun there before and they framed the comet pretty well. We then headed out to Jumbo Rocks where I made one last capture of the comet before it set.
As twilight turns to night comet NEOWISE becomes visible in the northwestern sky.