In January 2015 I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to photograph comet Lovejoy (C/2014 Q2). I say lucky because it is not often that comet becomes bright enough to be visible.
I first attempted to photograph a comet, Comet McNaught, in January 2007. The comet was in the sky in the daytime and was only visible for a short time very low in the western sky right after sunset.
My second attempt to photograph a comet, this time Comet Holmes, was in November that same year. This time the comet was visible high up in the night sky but I didn’t really know what I was doing and I didn’t have the right equipment to do it justice. In the end however, I got something I was happy with (at least happy with at the time).
This time around, I lucked out with near perfect conditions – a clear sky and no moon. I drove about 30 minutes out of town and pointed my camera to the sky. The comet was barely visible with binoculars or the naked eye for that matter but with the help of a sky chart I was able to easily locate the comet. The resulting image above is a combination of 10 two minute exposures. Putting the image together in the computer was another big challenge for me. Although the head of the comet was nice and bright, I had a hard time trying to bring out the tail but after trying several methods I finally got a result I’m happy with.