NEOWISE, Take 3 — Third Time’s the Charm

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California / Nature / Photo Log / Photography


July 21, 2020 — Lake Hennessey, California

Fog all over the Bay Area. Not a star in sight. No hope at all for a comet. We went in search of clear skies further inland and eventually wound up on the shore of Lake Hennessey, which we’d never heard of. A pleasant 62 degrees, clear skies, late-night fishermen, and a hilly horizon. Here’s our catch: Two meteors, the Big Dipper, a whole bunch of stars, a satellite track — and oh yes, the comet with a tiny bit of ion tail visible. All in this one shot.

(Nikon D850, Tamron SP 24–70mm f/2.8 Di VC USD G2. RAW processing in DxO PhotoLab 3.3; Editing in Adobe Photoshop.)

The Author

California based fine-art photographer featuring abstract, impressionist, and minimalist seascapes — near and distant — and floral-based images. Fine-art photography can be seen at All original images on this blog are copyright 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021 Michael Scandling. All rights reserved. No images on this site may be copied, duplicated, reused, published, or re-purposed in any way without express permission from the copyright owner, Michael Scandling.


      • Ah, my eyes are getting old–I initially took it to be part of the comet. A double bonus for you, Michael, and thanks for helping me to see the second meteor.


      • There’s also a sort of horizontal satellite track below and to the right of the comet. Some of my shots had so many satellite tracks in them that they were unusable. It’s a busy sky up there.


    • That’s very strange. All I can say is try again. I did take it down and put up a slightly different edit only about 10 minutes after I posted it. And I doubt you were awake then.


  1. And somewhere between those stars there’s a little green face…!!!!!!!!
    What a capture, my friend! Third Time’s the Charm indeed!!!!
    I finally saw it with binoculars. It looked like a pastel smudge in the sky! 😉
    I did try to photograph it and ended up with lots and lots of stars, but no comet! But that’s okay, I’m happy I saw it!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. More rain and clouds here but we need the precipitation so guess I won’t complain. This is a nice capture with all that interest to complement the comet. I would have been happy with either of the previous but this is cool.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you very much. The one thing I didn’t get rid of lots of detail in the tail. For that you really need to have longer exposures, tracked so that the stars don’t streak and then stack them to reduce noise and bring out detail. I don’t have means of tracking.


  3. Pingback: Austin’s diurnal answer to Comet Neowise | Portraits of Wildflowers

  4. Fantastic, Michael – it took me a minute to find the Big Dipper, with all that “noise” in the background. I’m glad your perigrinations were rewarding. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you very much, Lynn. All that “noise“ is a fine example of what the camera can see on a relatively dark night. I wish I had had the time to travel to a truly dark area. Still, I’m fairly satisfied.

      Liked by 1 person

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