It’s That Time Again

Here in the South, the milky way starts showing up in the early part of June until late October. So I naturally, on moonless nights break out the old camera and try to capture pictures of it.
Now I’m not great, and I am sure if I practiced with Photoshop and or Lightroom I could make these pictures better but the truth is, why would I want to post pictures that have been edited.
These pictures are what I see when I photograph the night sky here in Shelby Alabama.

Light Outdoors

The first picture is a higher iso about 6400 with a shutter speed of 20 seconds the neighbors stupid streetlight washes out alot of the image but you can faintly see the milky way.

Light Outdoors

The above picture is 1600 iso and 20 second shutter speed the brownish color on the trees is the result of the neighbors street light, the blue and green colors are a result of my fountain in the front yard.

Light Outdoors

Same setting as before. The camera I am using is a NIkon D3300 with the 18-55 kit lens attached.

Light Outdoors

My goal is to eventually purchase a 12mm 1.8 or less lens and find a good dark sky spot.
Unfortunately here in Alabama dark skies are getting harder and harder to find.

Light Outdoors

So for now I will settle for sitting in my driveway and taking pictures like this.
One thing about it looking at one of the tendrils of our galaxy makes me realize that we are just one tiny speck in a group of trillions of stars and light years of dust clouds.
When you think of how many galaxies there are in our universe, one can’t help but think there is no possible way we are alone.
In our galaxy (even though there is no way to accurately measure it) there is an estimated 4 trillion stars. In all these stars there is an estimated 398 billion solar systems.  So the odds are that there are at least 398 billion planets in the habitual zone of their stars (suns).
Odd are very likely there is other life forms out there and the simple fact they don’t try to communicate with us proves they are probably intelligent.

If you have any thoughts on this I would love to read them in the comment section.




Freakin Jury Duty.

Well crap salad on a Sunday, I have been selected for freaking jury duty. Me, jury duty? What the everloving blue eyed hell?
I feel sorry for anybody that is brought to trial while I am on jury duty. Boom! They’re guilty. Period. Now give me my sammich and let me go home.
Unless it is some big shot that is willing to pay me millions of dollars, then they’re innocent.
Yes sir. I can’t be had but I can be bought.
I have several questions before I can be on stinking jury duty.
Will they serve beer?
Can I record the trial for my blog?
Can I pick the method of execution in a death penalty case?
Do I have to stay awake?
Do I have to wear pants or is it acceptable to wear just my boxers?
Will they have sammiches?
Oh well time to perform my civic freaking duty and try to fry some crook.

Reflector Telescopes

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BARSKA 525 Power 70076 Starwatcher Reflector Telescope

$196.50 $70.04
The universe is studded with stars, galaxies and planets, creating many breathtaking images. Starwatcher telescopes from BARSKA can bring us closer to them, giving us some fascination insights of those faint fuzzies. The Starwatcher series offers a v [more info..]
Orion 9959 254mm f/4.7 Reflector Telescope Optical Tube Assembly

$556.91 $549.99
Responding to your requests, we are pleased to offer this reflector optical tube assembly (OTA) for folks who already have an equatorial mount. This optical tube assembly includes Pyrex parabolic mirror optics, upgraded 2″ Crayford-style focuser, eye [more info..]
Celestron 31042 AstroMaster 114 EQ Reflector Telescope

$249.95 $159.95
If you’re looking for a dual-purpose telescope appropriate for both terrestrial and celestial viewing, then the AstroMaster Series is for you. Each AstroMaster model is capable of giving correct views of land and sky. The AstroMaster Series produce b [more info..]
Celestron 31035 AstroMaster 76 EQ Reflector Telescope

$169.95 $139.95
If you’re looking for a dual-purpose telescope appropriate for both terrestrial and celestial viewing, then the AstroMaster Series is for you. Each AstroMaster model is capable of giving correct views of land and sky. The AstroMaster Series produce b [more info..]
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Reflector telescopes work by way of a concave mirror that reflects the image to a smaller mirror that you view with your eyepiece.
Reflector telescopes are usually cheaper but bulkier than refractor telescopes.
However they are very popular due to the fact that you can get a much larger scope for the same amount of money usually the only lens that will be associated with the reflector scope is the eyepiece.

Refractor Telescopes

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Celestron Erect Image Prism for Refractor and Schmidt Cassegrain

$39.95 $34.95
Did you know that most telescopes work well for daytime viewing as well as for astronomy??? If you have a refractor or a catadioptric telescope (the S [more info..]
Educational Insights Geosafari Omega Refractor Telescope

Explore the universe???even deep-sky phenomena???with this powerful 700 mm refractor telescope. Ideal for explorers of any age. Includes telescope wit [more info..]
BARSKA 60050 Starwatcher Refractor Telescope

$103.65 $38.80
Max power: 450x, Focal Length (mm) 600, Finder scope: 5×24, Draw Tube (inch): 0.965, Eyepiece#1:SR4, Eyepiece #2: H20, Diagonal:90??, .
BARSKA Starwatcher 525x700mm Refractor Telescope

$146.50 $69.79
The universe is studded with stars, galaxies and planets, creating many breathtaking images. Starwatcher telescopes from BARSKA can bring us closer to [more info..]
900114, 675 Power, Starwatcher Telescope

$328.65 $126.75
The journey to stars and planets begins with BARSKA’s Starwatcher telescopes, which are ideal entry-level telescopes for the aspiring amateur astronom [more info..]
Celestron 21062 AstroMaster 70 EQ Refractor Telescope

$169.95 $113.29
The astromaster 70eq telescope uses all coated glass optics and Newtonian reflectors to produce bright, clear images of the Moon and planets. It is qu [more info..]
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When most people think of a telescope a refractor is what they think of. Two or sometimes 3 pieces of glass in a tube where you look through on end and out the other.

State of the Union.

What is this country coming to?
A couple of years ago a dumb ass racist took pictures of himself burning the American flag and others of himself holding a Confederate Battle Flag of Virginia, then goes into a black church and begins killing members.
Results. Everyone comes out to ban the Confederate Battle Flag of Virginia.
Because in their noodle brained assessments it couldn’t be that this kid was a dumb ass and full of evil. It was because this flag made him do it. So the flag must be banned. All Confederate memorials must be banned. The city council of Memphis even tried to dig up the bones of a dead Confederate soldier and his wife (for good measure I guess) to move them to another cemetery. Probably because people that visit the grave of Nathan Forrest would all go out and commit violent race based crimes.

This year we have muslims running around carrying out their own versions of jihads against American citizens and our government continues to say  it’s not islam that is the problem it’s guns.
According to our government and liberal pinheads there would be no crime what so ever if we just banned firearms. Of course these are the same people who say that Republicans have a war on women, when the very causes they support have done more harm to women than any imagined Republican slight.
Islam teaches women to be slaves to their husbands, brothers, fathers and sons. Women are objects that can be traded or sold and if a woman is raped she must have at least four men to testify that she was in order for it to be heard in court. Otherwise she is subject to being stoned to death.

European countries are now living with the results of their stupidity by allowing muslims free access like they have. Rapes, honor killings, murder in general, beatings and other violent crimes have increased exponentially.

A police officer was shot while on patrol in Philadelphia by a muslim man who insists he shot the officer for islam.  Yet the mayor of Philadelphia uses every lie at his disposal to try to separate the jihadist from islam.

My questions are;

When are our elected public servants going to start serving the public?
If we can ban a flag because it supposedly incites racism, why can we not ban a religion that incites murder?
Are liberals ever going to figure out that bad people commit crimes?
Anything can be used as a weapon, whether it be a gun, knife, hammer or potato fork.

People in this country have lost every bit of their common sense.

While I am standing on my soap box here, I am going to take this time to piss off a few others.

The use of the word hero. This has been way over played kind of like the word racist to the point it means almost nothing anymore.

No one seems to understand what that word truly means. A hero is someone who saves lives, who sacrifices for others, someone worthy of being looked up to, some one who does the right thing even when they know they could die for it.
The police officers and fire fighters who went into the World Trade Centers on September 11, 2001 (after it was attacked by islamist) knowing the building could collapse on them at any moment are heroes.

The young men and women who volunteer their lives to our military so a bunch of corrupt politicians don’t have to instill a draft and force our kids into servitude for their political gain are heroes.

Not some egomaniacal publicity hound like Bruce Jenner who may be brave in your eyes for changing his appearance.  He can legally have his name changed to Kaitlin all he wants but until he grows an extra rib, a set of ovaries and swaps a couple of chromosomes, he is still a he.

Yet here we are supposedly civilized and more intelligent than the generations before us and we can’t seem to see the big ugly truth staring us right in the face.

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Sam is probably the most mischievous dog I have ever had the privilege of being around.Sam (Custom)
Sam is a half pit bull, quarter lab, quarter boxer, hundred pound mess.
He is a very good dog, with the exception of playing pranks on people, by people I mean mostly me.

I was cleaning up the backyard one day, this consisted of cutting weeds, raking up leaves and other stuff, loading it into a wheelbarrow and taking it over to a pile to burn.
When I would come back from dumping the wheelbarrow, my rake would be gone.
I would be looking all over the yard for the rake while Sam calmly sat there watching, I noticed he would occasionally look in another direction and then back at me. I looked to see what he was looking at and saw that it was my rake.

So I would retrieve the rake and say aloud “How did this rake get over here?” I swear the dog rolled his eyes, shrugged and grinned as if to say “Beats me.”
This went on for the entire time I was cleaning up back there. Haul a load of trash over, come back hunt the rake.  Haul another load, hunt the rake.

Sam 2 (Custom)

When I finished cleaning up the yard. I broke out the trusty old tiller and began tilling some dirt, it was hot that day so I removed my shirt and sat it on a log and went back to work. Sam began circling me dragging something in the dirt. It was my shirt.

I retrieved my shirt, now covered in dirt and slobber (his not mine) and put it up higher on a fence post. I go back to work thinking “Ha you can’t reach it now you dumb dog.”
Sam starts circling me once again dragging my shirt. What the heck I thought to myself as I go and get my shirt back again. That’s when I noticed the wheelbarrow was turned over right beside the post. I don’t remember leaving it there like that, but anyway I moved the wheelbarrow and placed my shirt once again on the post.

I start tilling again and again Sam starts circling me. dragging  not only my shirt but the stinking fence post as well. So once again I get my shirt away from the dog and this time I place it atop a shelf to where not only can he not reach it, he can’t pull the shelf up to get it.

Thinking my shirt was safe I went back to the task at hand, when this time I felt something bump my leg, turning around I saw Sam had the rake and was trying to lean it up against the shelf in what I assume was an attempt at getting my shirt once again.
As soon as he figured out I was watching him, he dropped the rake, looked at me and I swear he grinned then turned and walked away.

I went back to work, watching to see if he made anymore attempts on my shirt, when he appeared from the side of the shed dragging a little ladder.
Knowing he was not going to give up and figuring since it was an old shirt and would take six trips through the washing machine to get it clean, I gave it to him.
I took the shirt off the shelf and pitched it over to him and said “Fine you can have the damned shirt.”
Sam looked at the shirt laying on the ground, turned up his nose and walked away.DSC_0166 (Custom) (2)

Night Sky

Here at Light Outdoors we try many outdoor activities whether it’s hunting, fishing, camping, archery, and now astronomy and photography.
Folks I’m going to tell you I thought shooting firearms was expensive.
One scope I’m saving up to by is 2000 dollars. Holy Crap! That is a used car!
The camera I would like to get a full frame Nikon is about 3000 and the lenses for it are 400 to 1000 dollars apiece. Crap! What did I get myself into?
Although I will say this, it is a lot of fun or it was until I learned that the Andromeda Galaxy and the Milky Way are on a collision course in space. What the heck? A great old big universe and they got to try to take up the same parking spot.
When this happens life on Earth will most likely cease to exist or life as we know it anyhow.
Of course this is going to happen in roughly 250 to 400 million years from now. But still I am taking no chances. I’ve cancelled my 401k and cashed in my savings. Aint going to catch me with no galaxy colliding catastrophe. No sir.

So anyway….

Still practicing taking night sky photos. I think they are getting slightly better although I could be wrong. Milky Way 2 8-9-2015 (Custom)


The above photo was taken with a Nikon d3300 using the kit lens set at 18mm 20 seconds at 1600 ISO.

Been working with Lightroom from Adobe trying to adjust the colors. My neighbors street light washes out everything and makes the sky a nice pukey shade of brown.

Milky Way 3 8-9-2015 (Custom)

This is another 20 seconds at 1600

Milky Way 8-9-2015 (Custom)

I think I made this one turn out waaaaaaay to purple. Unless you’re a Barney fan then it can never be too purple. Of course I am not a Barney fan.

milkyway4 (Custom)


The above one came out far better than I though with all of the lp that was around. The neighbors (on both sides of the street) had their houses lit up like they were planning on landing planes.

Orion Pleiades (Custom)


This one was taken because the Orion Constellation is finally coming back into view in my area. Of course it was taken at about four a.m. As you can see Orion is at the bottom in the center of the tree. The Pleiades or Seven Sisters are at the top left of center. With an open cluster about midway down.

Tried to get a picture through a telescope of the Orion Nebula this morning but was unable to because of the street light next door. I will find a dark spot and get one though sooner or later.
If anyone has any tips or tricks that you might want to share please comment.
Thanks for visiting


Walkabout Shelby

My son and I along with my 82 year old mother went walkabout, through the old iron works of Shelby Alabama.  Not a lot to see but a lot of history there. It was interesting listening to my mom talk about the things that happened during her life growing up in Shelby and each thing we saw led to another recollection from her.

DSC_4538 (Custom)This was the starting point of this particular little jaunt. The Shelby Iron Works park, located on County Road 42 in Shelby Alabama.

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Right across the dirt road from the iron works park is the old hotel. It was the first building in Shelby county to have both running water and electricity.
The big wigs with the iron works would come in by train (the depot was about 50 yards away) stay at the hotel, take care of their business and then hop on the next train heading back to where they belonged. The hotel had a large dining hall about 26 rooms and a kitchen that did not close when it was fully staffed. The original was burned down  during the war of Northern aggression and this one was built in 1900.

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Just behind the old hotel sat the old post office. When the mail came in on the train it went straight to here.
The post office was not just a place to get mail, you got news, found out about jobs and took care of a lot of business transactions (buying or selling moonshine whiskey).


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There is a ditch that runs right in front of the post office and alongside the old hotel that handles the over flow from the well house.

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The well house, covered an artesian well that produced water for the hotel as well as the surrounding area and a lot of people from Shelby would walk down and carry jugs of water back home. The water used to be very pure, clean and cold but it has not been tested lately.

We wondered from here across county road 42 to the old chemical plant. This was where they made coke (charged carbon) for the iron works in order to make steel.

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It is a concrete skeleton now and was the home for several pine cone, acorn and bottle rocket battles from my childhood. There are some old tunnels that I have no idea what they were used for that runs from the plant into the woods toward the other ruins.

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A tunnel that has been mostly filled in over the years. We used to crawl through these things checking them out and seeing where they went. That was before my friend Donnie came up missing in one and has not been seen from since. Just kidding, he found bats in one and we didn’t feel like crawling through a foot of bat crap. Knowing what I know now, thank the good Lord we didn’t.

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I’m not sure what the structure above is or was used for, I think its just cool as heck.



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More of the old brickwork and foundations from the area around the chemical plant.

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Some scraps stuff from the iron works. A partial brick, the porous rock above is slag from the iron and the green and black rocks are some type of glass slag. Pretty much man made obsidian. I do know one thing about those green and black rocks, they are hard to do anything with and the shards off them will cut you like a razor.

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Further out into the woods there is another skeleton of a building which was also used by us kids for bottlerocket fights.

Clear Pond (Custom)

Further along you will find clear pond, which is one of several large ponds created during the mining of iron ore. There are some very large fish in this pond. It’s called clear pond simply because the water is very clear you used to be able to see several feet down when you were out in a boat. Did I mention there are some very large fish.

Maybe one day we can walk back out there and see more things but for now this concludes my Shelby Iron Works walkabout.

Thanks for visiting Light Outdoors.


So I wandered over to the dark side of the house

So last night I decided to go around to the other side of the house where we have the dog pen to try to get away from the neighbors annoying street light and this is what I saw. This was taken  somewhere between 10 and 11 pm on 7-24-15.
Usually we stay out of the dog pen for photography and using the telescopes for several reasons. The power lines hook up on that side of the house. You have to open and close a gate to get around there or else the dogs will get out. The dogs always want to look at Pluto and sniff around Uranus. Also we have two almost solid black dogs and even after your eyes adjust, you cannot see them and will literally trip over them walking around.
We have had storms all week actually for the last three weeks we have had very little time without cloudy skies. Last night was the first night in  a while that we could actually see the moon and stars.DSC_4419 (Custom)There was a lot of lp from the moon but we were still able to get a few decent shots of the milky way.
All of these pics are unedited and straight from the camera. I am still learning about the camera settings so bear with me.
One thing I did notice in these is that away from the street light the sky does not have the brown tint to it.

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When I figure out what I am doing and get the hang of photo editing I might be able to have some of the really nice looking touched up shots.

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Just the simple fact that here we are sitting on a little speck in the middle of all those little specks amazes me.

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These are bands of our own galaxy that we can see on clear nights.

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If you notice the orange tint on the trees that is what a street light at the house next door can do for your night-time photos.

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I was experimenting with the iso and time seconds on some of these.




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ISO a little higher on these two.

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The above pic is the North end of the milky way.

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One thing I did notice last night is that it was the first night in a while that I did not notice a single shooting star in any of the pictures .

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Although we here at Light Outdoors love our hunting, fishing, and outdoor things I am thinking of uploading night photos like this more often. It actually cost less than hunting and fishing.