Best of 2020

Mike Lewis

Staff Member
Staff member
2020 was a down year for me for scenic photography, but that was compensated by my best year for astrophotography ever. While I hope to improve upon the results in the one discipline while I can hopefully match the results from the other discipline, here are my 10(ish) favorites from the year 2020:

The year started with the deployment of my astroimaging gear down to a friend's house in Green Valley, AZ, where an experiment to control my gear remotely from CO began in March. The first 'session' lasted From March through April, and produced some fun results:

Imaging using narrowband filters and able for the first time to put in some longer 'time on target' yielded these

I ended up putting in 25 hours on this target, still by far the most time ever, mostly because it was positioned in the sky to set up to image each night and then go to sleep. When I started post processing this I was still a newbie at processing narrowband astro images, when I staggered out the other side I had a cool image and the beginnings of an actual narrowband processing workflow I would continue to refine as the year went on.

1) The Elephant Trunk Nebula:

LRCC_sRGB_FW_ElephantTrunk_LRGB_PSCC.jpg


2) The image of the Eagle Nebula was a fun journey as I started out expecting the image in the middle and was surprised and excited by all the extra detail I revealed around the outskirts of the frame.

LRCC_sRGB_FW_small_LRCC_sRGB_M16_NB_LRGB_PSCC_Full_Topaz_Healed_DSE_SNR.jpg


3) I also shot some galaxies in this first session, with this 'deep field' or Markarian's Chain being one of my very favorites:

LRCC_sRGB_FW_Markarians_LRGB_ACDNR_CT3_LHE_MT_32_irf_PSCC.jpg


4) I also took the classic pairing of M82 and M81, often framed up and imaged together:

LRCC_sRGB_FW_M81_M82_HaLRGB_BN_CC1_SCNR_MT_ABE.jpg


June saw one of the only trips we managed for 2020m - a quick dash over to the Western Slope of CO to see the Colorado National Monument for the first time:

5) I got great light on a dawn drive to Ute Canyon, an area I scouted the day before:

LRCC_UteCanyonSunrise_VC2_sRGB_FW_TAP45709_10_11_12_13_PSCC.jpg


6) Driving back the same morning still had some great views:

LRCC_MonumentCanyonMorning_sRGB_FW_sRGB_TAP45773_4_5_Enhancer.jpg



7) Early-Mid October brought a second chance to astroimage using my gear set up remotely in AZ, and I had the most productive week+ of imaging ever. Here is my favorite NB image from that session, IC 1795, the Fishhead Nebula:

LRCC_sRGB_FW_ReEdit_IC1795_SHO-AIP_SCNR_PSCC_SelC-denoise-clear_HPS_wStars2.jpg


8) I also finally was able to check of an object I had wanted to capture forever - The Helix Nebula:

LRCC_sRGB_FW_Helix_SLumNB_mix1_invertSCNR_PSCC_SelC_HS_MinusHT-denoise_25-15-12_wStars.jpg


9) And my last image I collected and processed, that I did not have high hopes for, turned out to be one of my favorites from the session as well, the Lion Nebula (sh2-132)

LRCC_sRGB_FW_crop_VC2_Sh2-132_NB_Mix3_PSCC_color2_wStars.jpg



10) Later in October the fall colors came in, with fun walks along the path behind our house:

LRCC_GoldenTreeFence_sRGB_FW_TAP46829.jpg


11) And scary walks on the path behind our house as well, as the wildfires made their presence felt a little too close to home:

LRCC_CalWoodFire_sRGB_FW_TAP46906.jpg


12)
LRCC_CalWoodFire_sRGB_FW_TAP46947.jpg


ML
 
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AlanLichty

Moderator
Quite the mix of imagery between the terrestrial subjects and the deep space shots. I really like the palette for the space shots in #2 and #7. Beautiful space scenes. The Ute canyon shots are a pleasure to view as well. Great shots of the wildfire but I would hate to be trying to breathe under that cloud of smoke.
 

JimFox

Moderator
Staff member
Hey Mike, this was a great way for you to chronical your year in photography. You have some awesome photos here, and despite the pandemic you came out okay with your photos.
 

Mike Lewis

Staff Member
Staff member
As usual some incredible astro images, must be very satisfying after all that work to get these. #2 stands out for me - like looking through a cosmic tunnel.

Jim,

Very well said - I always say astro imaging is a journey and not just a destination, and getting there is fun, but also a fair amount of frustration and work along the way. It has been very gratifying to finally get to the point where I can make these without always thinking - ' not bad, but I'll have to come back to that one some day and try to improve it' :)

I do like the Eagle nebula shot too. That was really my first ah-hah moment where I felt like I had made a jump in results. It is hanging on the wall upstairs right now with a few others. More to come if the wall space holds out :) In retrospect using the matte treatment for the metal prints would have been best, but otherwise I love how these turn out.

LRCC_sRGB_TAP_3636_FW.jpg



Thanks for the kind comments!

ML
 
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