This is a Great Time to Shoot Venus!
- By: Luis Argerich
Venus is the third brightest natural object in the sky behind the Sun and the Moon. It can be hundreads of times brighter than the other planets and the brightest star. May 2012 is a great time to observe and photograph Venus as it’s high in the west after sunset and will look really bright even in wide angle photographs. Shooting a planet has never been easier!
From May 2012 onwards Venus will be lower in the sky day after day and its shape will get bigger and thinner until it crosses the disk of the Sun on June 5/6 2012, an event that won’t happen again for 105 years. While waiting for the transit you can shoot Venus with almost any equipment.
With a wide angle lens shoot Venus in the context of some landscape, it’s bright at twilight so you will have beautiful light in the sky and the landscape.
A star filter can be used to create diffraction spikes, Venus is so bright that the effect will really look interesting. Cheap star filters are enough. See more in my article about using filters for night-time photography.
With a tripod you can shoot a small sequence or timelapse of Venus setting, a shot every 15 or 30 seconds will work as Venus really goes down fast at dusk.
If you have a telephoto lens you can certainly try to resolve the crescent shape of Venus, the trick is not avoid overexposing the planet. Lowering the exposure and focusing carefully you will be able to see a small crescent shape, it will get a little bigger and a little thinner day after day. Any telephoto from 200mm and up is fine to do this.
If you have a telescope you can use an adapter and shoot Venus at prime focus. Being so bright you don’t need a long exposure so there’s no need for a tracking mount or special equipment, just focus and shoot. The crescent shape will be clear.
On May 22 Venus will be close to the crescent moon. Let’s see if you can get them both in a crescent shape in the same photo!