Category Archives: Special Projects

A focus-stacked image of a complete Hornet

This Hornet was found dead in front of the living room window one morning.  Glad it didn’t lose its temper while we were sitting down watching the box!  The wings on this one are 25mm (1-inch) long to give you an idea of scale – these are BIG beasties.  Far too big to go under the microscope even at the lowest magnification, this subject needed a different technique.  So out came the Canon 100mm macro lens and I manually focussed from the top to the bottom of the subject taking frames as I moved down in focus.  Altogether 18-frames were taken and I stacked them together using the truly remarkable Helicon Focus software.  Pretty acceptable result though I could take a little more care over the illumination 🙂

Enormous cloud panorama

The original of this image was created using 23 overlapping frames (Canon 5D MkII and 50mm prime lens) giving a 13739 x 7896 pixel image 🙂  Photoshop struggled with the 1Gb file.

Apparently this image was shown on last night’s (26/05/2011) Meridian weather – but I missed it 🙁

The International Space Station 10:39 p.m. on Sunday 24th April 2011

I had watched the earlier 9:04 p.m. crossing of the ISS and this lasted nearly 5-minutes at almost the same elevation as the 10:39 p.m. crossing.  So why was the 9:04 p.m. crossing 5-minutes long and the 10:39 p.m. crossing only 3-minutes long?  The accompanying image tells the story.  At 10:39 p.m. the Sun has set further, so the ISS is illuminated for less of its course across the sky.  As you can see in the image – it barely makes Ursa Major before its lights out – fascinating!

Progress 41P and the International Space Station

Passing almost directly overhead (83 degees) on 22nd April 2011 were the automated Russian cargo vehicle Progress 41P and the International Space Station.  Progress 41P first appeared in the West at 9:48 p.m. followed just one minute later by the International Space Station (ISS).  Both disappeared from view in the ENE at an elevation of 25 degrees.  In this image both tracks are overlaid as they were both in the same orbit.  It was a fantastic sight with just a layer of thin high cloud preventing perfection (and preventing me from imaging).