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July 28 - August 3, 2011

First Light!
(c) Dennis Mammana/    All rights reserved.

With money saved from shoveling snow and cutting grass as a youngster, I bought my first camera: a used Kodak Vigilant  Junior Six-20  bellows camera and tripod so I could try my hand at shooting the nighttime sky.  And it wasn't long before I also built a complete basement darkroom in which to process and print the negatives.

This photo is perhaps my first effort―a few minutes exposure shot with the camera aimed toward Polaris, the North Star.  During the course of the night, all stars appear to wheel counterclockwise around the pole star and create star trails as their light registers on different portions of the film as the Earth and camera turn.  The Little Dipper extends from Polaris (on upper left center) down to the lower right; the brightest star just above the slanted rooftop is Kochab, the brightest of the Dipper's bowl.

On the lower left appears the roof of my childhood home, along with our TV antenna and power lines; on the right, the house of our neighbors, Mr. & Mrs. George Miller. Though we lived in a typical blue-collar East Coast Archie Bunker-style neighborhood about midway between Philadelphia and New York, the night sky at the time was fairly dark―at least dark enough to inspire my early interest in viewing and photographing the cosmos. 

   Date:   circa mid-1960s
   Photo details:   Kodak Vigilant  Junior Six-20  camera, Tri-X film
   Processing details:   Noise Ninja 2.3.2, Photoshop CS2
   Location:   Childhood backyard, Easton, Pennsylvania, USA


This image is
protected by copyright as defined in the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) Copyright Treaty (Geneva, December 2-20, 1996).  Its use or reproduction without advanced written permission by the photographer is strictly prohibited.  For permissions and fees, please contact Dennis Mammana.


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Sky Photo of the Week Archives

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(c) Dennis L. Mammana.  All rights reserved.