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Mike Shaw
White Bear Lake, Minnesota, USA
04:30 am

Equipment Details:

Nikon D810A camera body
Nikkor 24-70, f/2.8 lens at 36 mm
Images: 13 images (vertical orientation) stitched together into a panorama
Each image: 1/8 sec, f/4.0, ISO 400

Post-processing Details:

Images stitched into a panorama using PTGui
Minor edits to color balance, exposure and contrast made through Adobe Lightroom
Labeling done with Adobe Illustrator

Image Details:

This rare alignment of the visible planets in their order from the sun has been in the news lately, including several articles by EarthSky. Friday, June 17 was one of the earlier days to try and catch them, particularly Mercury. I used the Planit Pro app to plan the entire project - particularly when Mercury would be visible, and the altitudes and azimuth range of all the planets. Here in Minnesota, we don't have clear skies very often, so when the forecast was for clear skies, I set my alarm!
Friday morning was wonderfully clear and still. Only a few dozen early season mosquitoes joined me, not many compared to what will come in a few weeks. I could hear geese honking and even a loon. A perfect dawn next to one of Minnesota's many lakes.
Once I knew Mercury was a few degrees above the horizon, I started shooting images for the panorama. I bracketed my exposure time (+/- 3EV, a total of three images per set) for insurance. I kept going until the end of nautical twilight, when the eastern horizon was getting very bright. Once I returned home, I hunted through the images until I found! I then assembled the corresponding images into the panorama that you see here.

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