Flickr Photo of the Month: Texas Skies! [April 2011]

George Observatory at Brazos Bend State Park
George Observatory at Brazos Bend State Park by Andrew Fritz.
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Posted here with permission.

There are some amazing photographers that wander the halls of HMNS – and our satellites southwest of Houston. When we’re lucky, they share what they capture in our HMNS Flickr pool. Each month, we share one of these photos here on the blog.

As the weather gets warmer, you may be starting to think about how to get outdoors to enjoy this brief period before our infamous Houston summer gets well and truly unbearable. Our George Observatory is a little-known but not-to-be-missed experience – nestled in Brazos Bend State Park, far enough from the city lights that you can still see the wonders of the cosmos with your own two eyes. And beyond that – you can get a closer view of planets like Saturn (remarkably radiant right now) through the Observatory’s Gueymard Telescope – one of the largest in the country that is available for public viewing.

I loved this photo of the George Observatory by Andrew Fritz, who generously shared it in our Flickr pool and also agreed to let us share it with you. Here are his thoughts on the image:

I live in Richmond (far SW Houston Area) and so Brazos Bend State Park (including the George Observatory) is in my back yard and is my local photographic stomping ground. It is one of the hidden gems of the Houston area and I frequently visit it around sunset when the bird life and light are amazing.

On the night I captured this image I had recently received some new camera gear and this was my first chance to try star photography with it. I hung around in the COLD waiting for the sun to finish setting. Once it had, I spent several hours (yes, hours) taking a few shots around the observatory. An observatory in front of stars is a classic shot. When you are new at something, try what you know works first.

Technical Details:
*Camera: Nikon D700
*Lens: Nikon 28-70mm f2.8 @ 28mm and f2.8
*ISO Speed: 1600
*Shutter: 10s
*The shot was captured on a tripod.
*The dome of the observatory was lit with a small LED light.
*The glow in the sky is Houston.
*The image was shot in RAW and processed using UFRaw.

Visit our George Observatory any Saturday night! When the weather is clear, there’s no better view of the universe.

You can see more of Andrew’s photography on his blog.

Inspired? Most of the Museum’s permanent galleries are open for photography, and we’d love for you to share your shots with us on Flickr, Facebook or Twitter. Check out the HMNS photo policy for guidelines.

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