Last night my Fiance and I decided to drive down to the beach just after sunset to see if we could catch a glimpse of the Neowise Comet that is currently only visible from earth for the next few days.
Our plan was to go try and look from the cliffs just North of Torrey Pines State Park. As we drove up and got near the beach it was clear the sky was not going to be very clear for us and the marine layer from the ocean was creeping in fast and strong. It looked like a band of clouds was right in the prime location of where the Neowise Comet would be once the sun went down.
At this point, we almost turned around and went home but at the last second decided might as well check out the last minute or two of the sunset since we were already there.
As the sun was setting I had a great view south, towards Torrey Pines State Park which was the opposite direction the Neowise Comet was going to show up.
Here is where I was shooting from and my view angle towards Torrey Pines as I patiently waited for the Neowise Comet:
The red dot is where I was shooting from the and the yellow line above is where I was looking with my camera. I shot a couple pictures looking towards Torrey Pines as the sunset and someone happened to launch one single firework that I happened to catch!
As the sun disappeared to the west I swung my camera around to the northwest and we both patiently watched the marine layer grow while we tried to spot the Big Dipper.
NASA published this great image showing the that the Neowise Comet would show up just below the Big Dipper:
You can read the NASA article here where I found the above image and read everything you need to know about spotting the Neowise Comet.
I started off using my wide-angle lens just trying to see if I could spot the Neowise Comet before I could with my naked eye and then switch to a 75mm lens once I located generally where the comet was. Rachel my fiance spotted Neowise first, but I did get one ok picture with my wide-angle:
This first picture with the wide-angle isn't the best of the Neowise Comet but it gives you a great idea of what kind of conditions we were dealing with here. You can see its streak peaking in a nice opening in the marine layer which was quickly changing.
After using my wide-angle lens I quickly switched to my Tamron 28-75mm f2.8 and zoomed to its max 75mm and took another picture, and missed the comet behind that small cloud!
At this point, I was wondering to myself, "is it over already, damn clouds!"
The clouds were moving quick enough and I was afforded another glimpse of Neowise through the clouds and was able to take this shot which is my favorite of the night:
My settings for the above picture was 75mm f15 25s at 2500 ISO. Looking back at the photo now I wish I went with a slightly shorter shutter speed as I can see a couple of stars starting to begin trailing.
I got one other decent photo of Neowise before it was buried in the marine layer for the rest of the night:
Overall it was a great night and I am glad we stayed and tried even though the marine layer was a discouraging site as we drove up. We definitely got lucky to have the Neowise Comet poke through some small breaks in the clouds but the clouds ended up making the picture more interesting than just the plain night sky!