Comet McNaught (Comet of Doom)


1 - In the last two days, I've scaled Mt. Victoria's 200 or so vertical meters in an ill-fated attempt to capture the comet. This was all I managed to see two nights ago - three layers of cloud, a howling tempest, and a side-order of rain...


2 - things looked a little more promising last night. Clear air, no wind, and a good view to the South.


3 - the sun went down and the city lights came on (1280px desktop wallpaper version)


4


5 - and, at last, there it is!

I took that shot with my Nikkor 105mm f2.8 VR. After this shot, I figured a wider angle was called for, and when I took the lens off the camera, I dropped it. CRACK! I picked up the pieces, decided I felt ill, and trudged home. Closer inspection revealed no cosmetic damage, (the lens landed on the rear cap) but something was seriously awry in the autofocus mechanism. The Nikon agents in Auckland will be sending it on to Japan for repair.

On the bright side, the lens didn't roll down the mountain into the dark depths of suburbia. Plus, my photographic adventures are only slightly inconvenienced because I still have my magic little 90mm Tamron as backup. And my stuff is insured. On the not-so-bright side the repairs are going to take weeks, and I'd rather not break stuff if I can avoid it. Still, just over 2 years of photography, 75,000 photos, and I was bound to drop something.

There seems to be a bit of this going around, because I see the Hubble telescope has lost a camera. I'm in good company.

There are some vastly superior shots of Comet McNaught on Spaceweather.com, including this spectacular 5 minute exposure by a photographer in Queenstown. Locally, Karim Sahai has some shots from Wellington and Sydney (under index/new). Also Matt Mueller has a great shot of the whole comet tail.