Tag Archives: startrails

Sometimes, Magic Happens…

After touring Sicily for two weeks and having varying weather conditions down there (for night photography…), I found myself back home with best conditions for what I like doing most at nights – shooting stars. Heading out to my new favorite spot after sunset, I set up my gear for doing a startrail image, which I haven´t done since more than half a year now. The gibbous Moon was shining bright behind my back, so I got an hour or two before he would get into my set-up. Earlier, on the way to my spot, I had seen some deer, which are roaming this area frequently, and I “meet” them almost every time I´m out there. After finishing the startrail sequences (before the Moon gets into the image), I packed my stuff and walked uphill through the still leafless beech forest. And than it happened. When I got out of the woods, just before heading down the trail to the right, I spotted two deer, standing some 50 m uphill on a crest, grazing on the field. Wow. I had anticipated such a scene for so many times and now, out of nowhere, it happened! I was so excited that I wasn´t able to find a proper focus to get the shot I was thinking of for so long and for so many times: a deer standing on a crest, on a clear line with no distractions (bushes, trees…), with the stars in the background! Being actually very shy animal, they did let me be around for more than one hour, standing eye to eye,letting me follow them through their grazing around the field. I was so in awe, I got completely lost in time. Sometimes, magic happens….Enjoy!

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Startrails & Oak Tree @ Nautical Twilight…

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Roebuck, eye to eye, amidst the stars…

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Deer “posing” for the watcher;)…

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“Your imagination is your preview of life´s coming attractions.” (Albert Einstein)

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The Power Of Love

…is a song performed by  legendary “Franky goes to Hollywood” in the early 80´s. Knowing that song since then, it ignited something deep within me hearing it yesterday morning while driving to work. Going through the lyrics on youtube, this song really sums it up (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xkN1SlG1YUk). Love really is the most powerful force in the universe, something I had lost for a very long time, buried deep down within me, burning at the lowest level, almost distinguished. Sometimes you have to make decision that are very though to do, but after that, you will be like new-born. “Expose yourself to your deepest fear – after that…you are free.” (Jim Morrison). How true is that. I had cancelled my trip to Iceland last Friday and I´m happy with that – gotta figure out my life first, exposing/facing my fears first and not running away from them. Last Tuesday, I traveled to Lake Antholz, South Tyrol, where I had been last year for the first time. This time, the lake was frozen and the road was closed due to snow. So I packed my stuff, hiked to a place I knew and camped out there for the night. The ice of the lake was cracking the whole night, sometimes sounding like a gun shot, sometimes like a crashing fright train and sometimes like a singing whale. What an experience. Then next morning, I hiked up the (closed) snow-covered alpine road to the top at the Staller Sattel at 2052 m a.s.l., which marks the border of South Tyrol/Italy and Austria. While enjoying the view and the sun and being so deeply into nature, suddenly everything fell into place and I got all the answers I was looking for, for such a long time now. It felt like being one with everything, being happy for no reason, hugging the whole world for no reason. I felt such a gratitude that moment, I almost thought I´m going to explode. Now, being back home, I´m starting being able to bring back that feeling for no reason, like when doing the dishes, being at work – whatever – the power of love. “Love yourself first – then you can love others. You are your true love”! Enjoy!

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Camp @ the lake, pre-dawn with venus belt and earth-shade…

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Planet Jupiter above Riesenferner Ridge, Venus Belt are starting to show up…

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First light on the ridge…

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Five verts pano, Milky Way in the middle…

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Trails in comet-mode, starting after moon set, Jupiter in the center…

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View from Staller Sattel, 2052 a.s.l., the mountains in the center are 3200-3500 m a.s.l., at the bottom left, Lake Antholz…

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Antholz Valley, late afternoon…

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My Favorite Images Of January 2013

A bit late, but its time again for me to edit my favorite image from every month in order to be ready at the end of the year to participate at Jim Goldstein´s blog project “Best Photos of…” (http://www.jmg-galleries.com/blog/2013/01/09/photos-2012-jmggalleries-blog-readers/ # 70). For me, this blog project is about something to learn which images to choose and to edit and in my opinion that´s almost the hardest part of photography, besides selling your stuff. It’s a good learning lesson each month to flip through the images and have a look at them and deciding which ones you think would be cool and select them for a higher goal – to pick the best one from each month at the end of the year and making your personal “Best Of”, then you can  compare them to the ´Best Of` the year before and see what may have changed. My favorites from 2012: https://wernerpriller.wordpress.com/2012/12/29/2012-a-year-in-twelve-images/ . Enjoy!

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By the bark beetle devastated fir trees, Bavarian Forest NP, Germany…

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On top of Lusen Mt., 1373 m, Bavarian Forest NP, Germany…

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Indus Valley @ Leh, Ladakh, India, Himalaya…

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Shanti Stupa, Leh, 3650 m a.s.l., Ladakh, India…

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Prayer flags and stars, Leh, Ladakh, India…

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Stars and camp site @ Chadar Trek, 3250 m a.s.l., Zanskar River, Zanskar, India…

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Lunar Halo and yours truly @ the frozen Zanskar River, Zanskar, India…

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Rising full Moon illuminating the Zanskar Gorge, Zanskar, India…

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Standing on solid ice, watching the stars and hearing the water flowing, Zanskar River, Zanskar, India…

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Camp site above the Zanskar River, watching the stars and the rising full Moon, Zanskar, India…

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Our crew along the Chadar Trek, for ten days and ten nights…

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Elder Lama, Lingshed Monastery, 3950 a.s.l., Lingshed, Zanskar, India…

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Startrails, Lusen Mt., Bavarian Forest NP, Germany…

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Camp site, Arcturus and Saturn @ Lusen Mt., Bavarian Forest NP, Germany…

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Probably the first ever startrails image done on the frozen Zanskar River, Zanskar, India…

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Startrails, frozen and dead fir trees @ Lusen Mt., Bavarian Forest NP, Germany…

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The second startrails image from the frozen Zanskar River, Zanskar, India…

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“All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.” ( Walt Disney )
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The Chadar Trek, Zanskar, India, Day Two

The second day of the trek started with some light snow fall, which added some nice color onto the rocks and mountains, and of course, it wasn´t that cold anymore. Walking on so many different types of ice is quite experiencing, and sometimes we had to walk and climb beneath the frozen river due to the lack of support of the ice. Around midday, the weather cleared all up, it got sunny and cold again. After some 15-20 km and 5-6 hours of hiking, with about 17 kg of pack back on our shoulders, we reached our second camp site for the night, another nice hollow. I couldn´t resist to take startrail images that night, which I regretted physically very much the next morning. But looking at the images on the LCD screen that night, I almost freaked out because of the beauty of this place. Day two has been quite spectacular; so stay tuned for the next days – more images to come! Enjoy!

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View from the ´lodge` towards the Chadar…

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Overcast sky and light snow fall; notice the tiny looking trekkers…

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Weather is clearing up and walking on solid ice…

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The team, yours truly to the right…

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Walking along the riverbank due to to less support of the ice…

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Thomas hauling his orange sledge over the rocks…

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Walking on solid, frozen ice…

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The Zanskar River making its way through the ice; notice the tiny trekkers in front at the gorge…

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´Slippery as ice`, pun intended…

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Even getting water for cooking was an adventure on its own…

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Local porters doing the Chadar…

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Mountains without names, during sunset…

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The Boys getting tea ready…

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Orion, Hyades, Jupiter and Pleiades at the beginning of the night…

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Camp site of the second day and reflections on the ice…

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The rising full Moon is illuminating the gorge with light like at a sunrise…

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The fire of the camp site reflected on the Chadar, while the Moon is illuminating the gorge…

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Posing on solid ice, beneath the running water of the Zanskar River…

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Startrails over the Zanskar Mountains…

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Startrails, ice, running water, mountains, no light pollution, no aircrafts – what better?!

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“Freedom lies in being bold!” (Robert Frost, American Poet)

Passo Giau – The Dolomites, Italy

If you like driving, sightseeing, spectacular vistas and of course photography, Passo Giau would be one of your best bets while driving along the Dolomites. The pass is open year-around, but can be closed temporarily due to heavy snow fall. At this time of year, the conditions were perfect; some inches of snow at the top, the roads open and dry, New Moon phase, and some fantastic high-pressure-weather since the last couple of days, and best of all – almost no other people around. Who is stupid enough anyway to camp in the car/van at this time of the year?! From the parking area of the pass at 2236 m, I hauled all my gear up to a little ridge where I got a 360° view, with the photogenic mountain ridges of the Dolomites, the setting crescent Moon (which provided a little ambient light), and a great view towards the mundane city of Cortina d´Ampezzo, the famous italian winter ski place. After the sun set, the temperature dropped down to some minus 5°C, and with the upcoming wind from the west, which brought a weather change and some cirrus clouds, it felt like minus 10°C. I´ve been up there at 3:30 pm, got down in between to grab some food, went back and stayed up there till 12:30 am. After I had finished all the photographing I wanted to do, I packed my gear and was laying on my iso-mat, ready for the constellation of Leo to come up from the horizon and to watch the maximum of the Leonid meteor shower. Yes, I know, I´m some kind of different –  I felt to sleep while looking at the stars, and after one or two hours, can´t tell, I woke up and the whole firmament was covered with cirrus clouds. So I took my stuff, descended down to my Mercedes Sprinter, wrapped up the sleeping bag up to my nose and thanked God for another stellar night! Click to enlarge the images if you like! Enjoy!

Ra Gusela Mt., 2595 m (right), and Nuvolau Mt., 2574 m, with the Rifugio Nuvolau, 2575 m, to the left, at sunset…

Sun, snow and great vistas – what better….

The setting crescent Moon during twilight over the snow-covered Dolomites…

View from “my” ridge at the beginning of nautical twilight towards Ra Gusela Mt. and the pass road…

The Dolomites and the stars over Passo Giau; the Big Dipper is visible just left of Ra Gusela Mt….

5367 sec./90 min. single exposure star trails over Ra Gusela Mt….

After taking the photograph, processing can become a real pain in the digital darkroom – before….

…and after processing; composite image, 60 x 3 min…

The Milky Way to the left, Orion, Hyades, Pleiades to the right, and Jupiter in the middle…

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do, than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowline, sail away from the harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails and travel !”

(Mark Twain)

My Favorite Images Of September 2012

As you may have noticed, this blog tends to become more and more “nocturne-sided”. I cant help myself, but I´m somehow addicted to the stars and the universe itself. That´s the kind of stuff that fuels my soul, my inner motor, my vision. Since we are made out of that stuff, the so-called star-dust, I think it´s some kind of normal  being addicted to the cosmos. The digital area gives us so many new possibilities for capturing the stars in a way that wouldn´t have been possible some time ago. These days I even plan my journeys on the phases of the Moon, and the first images I process when I´m back home are the ones of the night sky. There is a saying that gear doesn´t matter, it’s the person behind the lens that matters. That´s right – except for one term – when you are shooting night-scenes. There is an interesting article by Michael Frye on his blog about gear – check it out: http://www.michaelfrye.com/landscape-photography-blog/2012/09/27/photographing-the-milky-way/ . 

I´m heading to Volgograd, Russia on Friday,12th Oct. – Friday, 19th Oct., to see the grave of one of my fallen uncles during WWII. I´d planed this trip on the phases of the Moon (New moon 15th Oct.), not knowing until later, that my uncle Martin was fallen 16th Oct. 1942; that makes it exactly 70 years, for one of the Priller-clan to visit his graveyard….This time I´m traveling by airplane; here are links when I had tried this by car in 2010: https://wernerpriller.wordpress.com/2010/11/11/dealing-with-russia-part-i/ , https://wernerpriller.wordpress.com/2010/11/24/dealing-with-russia-part-ii/ , https://wernerpriller.wordpress.com/2010/12/08/dealing-with-russia-part-iii/ , https://wernerpriller.wordpress.com/2011/03/28/dealing-with-russia-last-part/ 

Enjoy!

Dramatic clouds during nautical twilight…

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A so-called Fireball or Bolide hitting the MilkyWay…

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Backlit clouds over the Austrian Alps with the so-called Venus Belt (pinkish line) and Earth Shade (the grey line above the ridge)…

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The stars shine over the Austrian Alps; notice the light dot at the middle of the ridge-this is where the Großglockner-High-Alpine-Road leads to (2504 m)…

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Long-time exposure of the MilkyWay; though the foreground gets blurred, this single shot contains that much information…

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The MilkyWay above Gr0ßglockner Ridge, 3798 m, with the Pasterze-glacier to the right…

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20 min. single startrail shot; notice the light track (center) – mountaineers still descending from the summit of Großglockner Mt., 3798 m…

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Stars and Venus above, while the city of Auronzo lies beneath a cloud cover, the Dolomites, Italy…

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The Dolomites, the city of Misurina and the stars…

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The Dolomites, just before the stars become visible…

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3-image pano: Venus (left), Procyon (center) and Sirius (right); the city of Auronzo shines through the clouds/low stratus, Italy…

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Startrails above the ridge of the famous Tre Cime mountains, the Dolomites, Italy…

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“When god created the world, he took the Dolomites as example.” 

(Author ?)

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My Favorite Images Of August 2012

The month of August has been a very productive month for me – photographically speaking. We had surprisingly some nice weather in August ( in other words: starry nights), which were great for making star trails. The images from our 10 days family vacation in South Tyrol and Tuscany are still not processed so I´ll show them at another post (meanwhile I got tons of images from Austria and the Dolomites from last week…..). Enjoy!

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The ISS making its way through the spire of the radio tower and Polaris; former military training area, Landshut, Bavaria…

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The Moon, Jupiter, the Hyades and the Pleiades; Fish-eye shot…

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Detail of the waning crescent Moon; single shot, focal-projection with Baader 8-24 click-zoom…

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The “Watcher” (yours truly) and the “Recorder” (the camera)…

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Bale of straw during dusk, Lower Bavaria, Germany…

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Again, the “Watcher” and bale of straw…

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Bale of straw and the stars…

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The MilkyWay over Prunn Castle, Bavaria…

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Sinus Iridum, Montes Jura and a part of Mare Imbrium;  single shot – no crop…

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Startrails with the camera on a tripod, which is on the other hand recording startrails too….

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Startrails over Prunn Castle, an old knights castle from the Middle Ages…

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Startrails over bale of straw; yours truly watching the stars…. 

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Großglockner Star Trails

 

Here is a quick update from my recent trip to the Austrian and Italian Alps. Just developed this shot and thought I´d have to share it with you. Never have seen such a dark and clear sky like this one at the 15th Sept. 2012. From my viewpoint at around 2400 m/7870 ft, I had a pretty good view towards Großglockner Mt., Austria´s tallest mountain, reaching 3798 m/12460 ft. The light to the left is the Erzherzog-Johann-Hütte, the highest grounded alpine hut around the Eastern Alps at 3454 m/11230 ft, while the Glockner-Wand is towering to the right. Standing in front of the entrances of two small tunnels, which were built for the hikers for safety reasons, its been a bit scary sometimes, hearing the water dripping from the ceilings, but not seeing anything due to the pitch black night. I also tested my new toy, the Vixen Polarie, but those images will come later, as I have first to get PhotoShop and to figure out how to compose the sharp foreground with the sharp background – will see…

This is a 65 min. single shot, f 5.0, Iso 100, Pentax k-x, Pentax 18-55@30 mm, Lightroom 4 only…..more to follow! By clicking at the image, it will lead you to my gallery site to a similar shot (stacked of 7 single shots) with the MilkyWay. Enjoy!

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Großglockner Mt. Startrails 

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My Favorite Images Of July 2012

 

A bit late, but here are my favorite images from July 2012; a mix of telescope imaging and “normal” stuff….Enjoy!

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Mare Nectaris with its bordering craters Theophilus (top center) and Fracastorius (one-third from top, slightly off-center); the “line” between light and dark is called “Terminator”…

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Constellations addendum – the Moon covered by the telescope…

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The “fixed” stars marking the beginning of each trail…

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Looks like the almost full Moon is “squeezing” out of the old smoke stack…

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The Milky Way is most prominent during the summer month, especially in August…

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The waxing crescent Moon – setting during nautical twilight…

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Two telescope images of the gibbous Moon stitched to a mosaic, full size – no crop…

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“It suddenly struck me that that tiny pea, pretty and blue, was the Earth. I put up my thumb and shut one eye, and my thumb blotted out the planet Earth. I didn’t feel like a giant. I felt very, very small.”

(Neil Armstrong, American Astronaut, 1930-2012)
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My Favorite Images Of June 2012

This is some sort of self-assigment – by picking your favorite images of each month. That means you have to edit and sort through all of your images first. By doing so, you wont get to far behind of your stock/archive; it´s great taking pictures “out of the office”, but it´s also very rewarding seeing them “popping up” on the screen. Enjoy!

The silhouetted ridge of Wendelstein Mt., 1838 m, during sunset, Upper Bavaria, Germany…

Floating clouds during nautical twilight, 04:06 am,  while the stars remain “silent”…

Telescope image of the crescent Moon, focal length 3000 mm, no crop…

Altocumulus mamma clouds…

Stars, clouds and solitary larch trees, backlit by the setting moon…

Astronomical twilight recorded by the camera sensor, 11:15 pm…

The transit of Venus, 06/06/2012, telescope image…

The transit of Venus, 06/06/2012, composite of two different exposures…

Startrails and solitary larch trees, Lower Bavaria, Germany…

“There are always flowers for those who want to see them.”

(Henri Matisse)