The Comet in Queenstown

See you in Petaluma on TWIT on Sunday

If you’re in the Petaluma area on Sunday, stop by and say hi! I’ll be on This Week in Tech with Leo at the TWIT studios. The show starts at 3 PM PT… hope to see you there!

Here’s a video from one of the previous times I was at the TWIT studios.

The Aurora

My NZ friends all assumed that I must have seen many auroras in the northern hemisphere, but I never have. I went out several times in Iceland and other places in the far north in the winter and never saw a thing. So I was very thrilled to have it happen just a few weeks after I arrived in NZ!

Daily Photo – The Comet in Queenstown

On the night of the Aurora Australis, I was about to pack up and head back to the car when I saw this amazing aurora right over the top of my head. It made this long triangle across the ceiling of the sky, so I had to do that thing where I get my camera in that strange position on the tripod of pointing up. There is always a tough yoga move you gotta perfect to get the camera situated at the right angle. Also, frankly, there’s a little bit of guesswork that comes into play too!

The Comet in Queenstown

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2018-01-05 15:50:44
  • Camera
  • Camera Make
  • Exposure Time
  • Aperturef/2.8
  • ISO1600
  • Focal Length15mm (15mm in 35mm)
  • Flashflash did not fire, compulsory flash mode
  • Exposure Programmanual
  • Exposure Bias

  • susan ratcliff

    Awesome shot Trey! Beautiful!

  • Dave Morgan

    Pretty amazing shot!!

  • louis van zyl

    Have not seen any myself but plenty of pictures of the Northern Hemisphere but not to put you on a pedestal, what you guys took that night is some of the best Auroras and the most colourful I have seen irrespective of noise or no noise. When these things happen you have to work fast or you miss out . Nature likes to do its own thing and some times it can come down to seconds when you are ready or not. Thats why there are so many Photographers, not all make the grade but like myself enjoy what others do and learn so that I may enjoy. Have had a look at some those blogs who were with on that special night and can only say well done to all. I know if I was there I would have been very exited and would have made many a boo-boo in trying to set the camera up.I think all even the Pros; will do things different next time as nature is always a learning process . Cool pic man.

  • Hehe, I remember spotting this one and pointing it out ๐Ÿ˜‰
    Trey’s 14mm lens certainly did the job here… He was able to get the Milky Way in the frame. The white balance and composition on my shot gives this particular formation an interesting flavour, its the second photo in my post:

    Those who missed my review of events are welcome to have a read through that post and comment. I wont be forgetting that evening in a hurry, lets do it again soon, mate!

  • Great shot! I have never seen the Aurora either, it definitely is on my wish list!

  • louis van zyl

    After watching your talk which I enjoyed you were not to far off on what you said about the future of cameras. The sigma DP2 Merrill has a fixed lens and 15MP but sharpness far from your wildest dreams. They say its sharper than sony NEX7, Leica m9. and outstanding when printed and comparing D800 and phase one.What is round the corner is anyones guess. The camera has no image stabiliser so a tripod is a must. Cost $1000 in the States

  • Outstanding starscape Trey!

  • Trey Ratcliff

    Thank you! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • jsteph45

    I had forgotten how beautiful the night sky is with all the stars. Urbanization and it’s attending light pollution have stolen this from the sky I remember as a part of my childhood. I appreciate the reminder that the stars are still there. Wonderful image.

  • t_linn


  • Chris Lehman

    Trey – I really really love this photo. I like a lot of your stuff, but this one is really great. Would you be willing to have a live hangout and show the processing for this one? I have tried and tried to crack the code on processing these types of shots, however I just cant seem to get it. Heck, I would even buy a one off training session for this one!

  • Wow, the sky looks completely unreal in that photo.

  • Trey Ratcliff

    hehe – I wish I recorded every time I post-processed a photo!

  • Wow, what an image!!

  • Keith Cuddeback

    Glad you’ll be in the Bay Area again! Is there a photo walk planned?

  • No, not this time I’m afraid, Keith.

  • Hi Keith,

    Trey’s US trip is pretty busy this time around, so there’s nothing specific planned … but keep your eye out here and at Trey’s G+/Facebook. It’s not likely, but you never know if something impromptu will pop up.

  • Chris – have you tried out Trey’s video tutorials? He goes through a TON of post processing, particularly in the HDR Tutorial.

  • Anonymous

    Trey I see you chose ISO 1600 with 30 seconds of exposure. In terms of resulting noise is that better than let’s say ISO 800 and 60+ seconds of exposure time? Or maybe there was some other reason you chose to limit the exposure time?

  • Chris Lehman

    60 seconds at 800 would have shown to much star trails as the earth is still moving. There is a formula that you can use to determine the the longest shutter speed versus focal length before seeing trails. If you look at the full size image you will see a small amount of star trails there but that helps being out the stars.

  • Chris Lehman

    Yes I have seen those are offered ๐Ÿ™‚

    My question was specifically around post processing stars and milky way etc not HDR ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • Chris Lehman

    Thank you for the reply ๐Ÿ™‚ I figured as much but it never hurts to ask. I did watch the hangout with you showing how you processed one of these types of shots but you were on someone else’s screen for the most part ๐Ÿ˜‰

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