Sunday, February 26, 2023

Conjunction of Venus & Jupiter + Early Woodcock?


Back on Feb 19th, I was out on my back porch looking at the sky at about 6:30-6:45 and I heard my first-of-year peent of an american woodcock! Even today (feb 26th), others have seen some in Windsor along with Eastern Phoebes. Spring is on its way.

On Wed March 1st, there will be a conjunction of the two brightest "stars" (planets) in the sky (after the moon of course)- Venus and Jupiter!  The weather in Windsor predicts clouds for Wednesday  :-( ....  I had captured the conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn a year or two ago - that can be found here: .These two planets (Venus and Jupiter) will be close all week though ---- easily seen above the western horizon after dusk.

Good birding and astronomizing!


Monday, February 20, 2023

Bird Watching with a Cell-phone? Samsung S23 Ultra is like having a telephoto lens in your pocket. + FOY Am. Woodcock

Bird Watching with a Cell-phone? Samsung S23 Ultra is like having a telephoto lens in your pocket. + FOY Am. Woodcock

This weekend, I had picked up a new phone - its a Samsung S23 Ultra. Its a Samsung "flagship" phone - which I have never really owned --- I had the mid-range Samsung A series phones.  The reason I chose this phone is because I heard the cameras that its sports are pretty amazing.   Of course, an SLR camera can be lugged around, and if you have several thousand dollars, you can buy a wide angle lens, regular zoom and telephoto lenses. 

It is capable of wide-angle shots to capture a nice landscape scene, a regular zoom with an ultra fast F1.8 aperture to have nice bokeh behind the subjects you are photographing, and a periscope style 30x optical zoom with up to a 100x "superzoom" for still photos.  In video, I think you are limited to 20 or 30x zooming. 

So after Church on Sunday morning , I pointed my cell phone up at the top of the bridge to see how good the zoom was,,, and I noticed a peregrine falcon sitting up there. I was about 400m from the bridge, plus the height of the towers might be 100m up --- so this raptor might have been 0.5km from me! 

This video shows the wide angle to 30x zoom.  It does not go higher than 30x for video.

See another demo here ... (cant embed!)

This cell phone also has some pretty amazing technology --- which includes astrophotography. Incredibly, it can do long exposure sky scenes without the use of a mechanical skytracker. It uses software to to counter act the star trailing effect from the rotation of the earth. So, you could take a 10 minute exposure of the milky way, with out any blur effect ... I can't wait to try this out!

So, can a cell phone replace a heavy DSLR camera with 20lbs worth of lenses?  Time will tell but I must say that its impressed me and my son so far just for its quality of photography and videography.

One last closing thought - I had an American Woodcock Peenting and Timberdoodling in South Cameron Woodlot --- My first of year on Feb 19th 2023 at about 6:45pm. This might be the earliest that I have seen one!

Good Birding

Thursday, February 2, 2023

Photographing Comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF) Feb 1st 2023

Every year or so, I hear about comets blasting through our solar system, and in the last few years, I've made a few attempts to go find these icy meteor snowballs as they blast by.  The last two nights have been somewhat clear --- which is amazing as Windsor has had almost over a month without much sun... lots of cloud cover. 

This comet was pretty dim, and would only be seen with a scope, binoculars or a telephoto lens. I use an app or website called  which is pretty amazing (and free). Without this app --- I would have no idea where to look for these astronomical highlights. 

These photos don't seem like much ---- but --- I have to drive 20 minutes of of Windsor (light pollution) and then setting up a tripod, camera in the dark, temps of -10C then finding a tiny fuzz-ball of light, then taking many photos at different ISO/shutter combinations... its not easy!

This is now the third comet I've attempted to photograph on this blog:

Comet Leonard:

Comet Neowise:

Good Astronomizing!



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