Member Monday Featuring Bob Henderson
Bob Henderson has a passion for exploring the starscape. So much so that he traveled all the way across the United States to capture the beautiful Milky Way—from San Francisco, California to Lubec, Maine.
Learn about astrophotographer Bob Henderson in today’s featured profile!
About the Photographer
- Hometown: Mountain View, CA
- Years in Photography: Off and on for 40. I started with processing my own B&W film and printing in a bathroom darkroom. But as an amateur, I have really only devoted a lot of time since I retired 6 years ago from the software business.
- Years as a KO Member: Four?
About the Photo:
- Title: Milky Way over Hamilton Cove
- Location: Landscape Astrophotography (or “Nightscapes”) has fascinated me for a couple of years since I started seeing images posted on Facebook. Living in the San Francisco Bay area, there isn’t any dark sky. So to learn how and have the opportunity, last September I went to a workshop run by Adam Woodworth in Lubec, Maine— the easternmost town in the US.
- Gear/Software Used: Nikon Z6 with Nikon F 14-24mm f2.8 lens; Shots processed in Lightroom Classic, Starry Landscape Stacker, and blended in Photoshop.
Any additional description of the photograph: The image “Milky Way over Hamilton Cove” was taken on the third night of the workshop. There was a group of 8 of us in the workshop and after dinner, on the third night, we headed out to the location at Hamilton Cove south of Lubec.
It was so dark, you could not “see your hand in front of your face”, much less your neighbor. This required working the camera totally by feel. Believe me, this takes practice! The only light came from the stars and the LCD screens on the back of the camera.
The capture of the stars was a sequence of 10 to 20 images each at 10 seconds (or less for some) at f2.8 ISO 1600, at 14mm. Then came the long shot for the landscape. The level of darkness, no moon just the stars and the planet Jupiter, required a 10-minute exposure at f2.8 and ISO 3200. With Long Exposure Noise Reduction on in the camera, this meant standing around in the cold for 20 minutes. Frequent calls of “Anyone shooting?” from fellow photographers would go out wanting to know if they could turn on their headlamp. Once everyone finished a sequence we would relocate to another spot on the beach, wait for all the headlamps to go off and start all over again This went until around midnight when we had all decided that we were cold and damp enough for one night.
Arriving back in California after the trip, I began the processing of the images. One of each star sequence was edited in Lightroom to boost the brightness without blowing out the stars completely. Those adjustments were then copied to the rest of the shots in the sequence. The sequence was then exported to “Starry Landscape Stacker” to align the stars and compile into one image which eliminated noise and the occasional passing airplane lights. These images were blended in Photoshop with the foreground image being careful not to mask out any of the stars in the sky.
What is one thing you wish you would have known before starting photography?
Learn to take time to compose the shot before just firing off many images that are a waste.
Who are some of your role models/mentors?
First and foremost the members of the two camera clubs to which I belong: Palo Alto Photography Club and the Sunnyvale Camera Club. And especially for the Milky Way shots, Adam Woodworth who led the workshop.
What is your most treasured piece of photography equipment?
My current Nikon Z6, mirrorless is the future.
What’s your favorite class on KelbyOne and why?
Lightroom Classic Killer Tips – lots of bits of information in a fast presentation that you can go back over several times.
Connect with Bob
Thank you for joining us for another Member Monday! If you haven’t yet, be sure to submit your photos for a chance to receive a Member Monday feature of your own.