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Thread: More Astrophotography

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    Default More Astrophotography

    Was clear last night so I figured I'd use my new star tracker to see what I could get. Still not dialed in perfectly (focus wise especially, i've always had trouble focusing infinity even doing it the right way of not going exactly by the mark on the lens) but I'm impressed with my first attempts. I've decided I need a longer lens as well.

    Here is just my first attempt to get anything, you can see the stars look still while the trees are blurry. In a normal picture it would be opposite as the heavens are moving but since I am tracking a single point in the sky everything else in the frame is moving. Airplane flying past. I missed the one meteor I saw last night sadly.


    Here is the Hyades, directly below that is Comet Lovejoy! Yes its really that green! You can see the comet's tail extending directly above it faintly.


    Here is a cropped shot so you can see it a little better. Just a giant ball of glowing green ice flying through the sky.


    I was overly excited about those after I looked at them on the LCD screen, thrilled really. Was not expecting such great results. I could of been perfectly happy going inside out of the cold with those....but I didn't. A thought popped in my head, could I capture this other thing now that I had a tracker? Could I do it with my 105mm lens?? Well, might as well try. Try I did and I got probably the coolest thing I've ever captured since the Milky Way at the beach.


    Do you see it? That's the lower half of Orion. But wait whats that....Got it! Orion Nebula or M42!! When I saw this I was just blown away, can't believe I got it with my 105mm. The colors are that real, even more actually If I had a better lens to pick them up. This just gave me a whole other love for astrophotography last night.



    So all in all a great night. I look forward to getting more nebula's and galaxies next time. There is another Nebula directly above the lower belt of Orion that I ALMOST got but it was really really faint. Its amazing what you'll see if you turn out the lights and go outside.
    Last edited by Discus-n00b; 01-19-2015 at 05:12 PM.

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    Moderator Team and Platinum Member RogueDiscus's Avatar
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    Default Re: More Astrophotography

    Very cool, Matt!

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    Administrator and MVP Dec.2015 Second Hand Pat's Avatar
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    Default Re: More Astrophotography

    That is just way cool Matt.
    Your discus are talking to you....are you listening

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    Default Re: More Astrophotography

    Jumped on my phone to see the pics Matt. They look great. I love that last one. Would you have gotten a better shot with a 200mm lens you think? or having the longer FL, do you think it would have hindered the shot?

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    Default Re: More Astrophotography

    Thanks! I think I would of gotten a better shot to be honest with a longer focal length. With the tracker I had so much room to play settings wise that I don't think a longer FL would make much difference in that regard. I was taking shots anywhere from 30 seconds up to 5 minutes and having them come out just fine. Iso anywhere from 100 to 3200. So I had plenty of wiggle room. I just feel like I need to get closer to it, have it take up more of the frame, maybe get more of the color out of it, etc.

    200mm+ would be killer, and what you are seeing is a single exposure. Now that I know I can capture it now, next time I will stack it with multiple images taken over a long period of time. You should see some of the images guys produce with 20+ exposures stacked. Some have even done stacks over 5 hours and its incredible. I just need the focal length to highlight the subject better.

    That and of course really dialing in my polar alignment on the tracker.

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    Moderator Team and MVP Apr. 2016 rickztahone's Avatar
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    Default Re: More Astrophotography

    Very nice Matt. This is one area of photography I never got in to. Not for the lack of interest, but knowing my GAS (gear acquiring syndrome) would get a hold of me if I ventured in to yet another aspect of photography.

    how did the tripod hold up?

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    Default Re: More Astrophotography

    Tripod worked beautifully! Held 2 ball heads, 5d Mk II with grip and L bracket, a 24-105mm lens, and the sky tracker without issue! Total load weight came in about 10.2lbs, tripod is rated for 40 haha. Had all sections extended too. That is a lot of nobs on top though to adjust everything, turn the wrong one and it could be a bad night.

    The good thing is most lenses tripods and such that is used for this area of photography can double for landscapes which I'm also getting into, and timelapse. Timelapse is my next venture and the dolly/slider will be my next purchase. So even with gear doubling for other areas you still find ways to spend money haha.

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    Default Re: More Astrophotography

    Quote Originally Posted by Discus-n00b View Post
    Tripod worked beautifully! Held 2 ball heads, 5d Mk II with grip and L bracket, a 24-105mm lens, and the sky tracker without issue! Total load weight came in about 10.2lbs, tripod is rated for 40 haha. Had all sections extended too. That is a lot of nobs on top though to adjust everything, turn the wrong one and it could be a bad night.

    The good thing is most lenses tripods and such that is used for this area of photography can double for landscapes which I'm also getting into, and timelapse. Timelapse is my next venture and the dolly/slider will be my next purchase. So even with gear doubling for other areas you still find ways to spend money haha.
    truer words were never uttered.

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    Registered Member limige's Avatar
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    Default Re: More Astrophotography

    I have a Nikon rebel, the 10 megapixel one, I have a cannon 100-300mm usm is lense for it. I've tried to take night pictures of things like the sky or lowlight and it doesn't come out right using the auto settings.

    can you give me any pointers on how to setup the camera to take low light pics?

    yours look fantastic btw, very cool how that turned out

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    Default Re: More Astrophotography

    Those are great! Once you start you will not stop. I do some astrophotography and it is thriling to see the results. Since you are doing camera with lens a good site to look at (lots of techniques told in great detail) is "astronomers do it in the dark." That fellow is awesome with camera and lens. One of my neighbors is an accomplished astrophotographer. By day he is a pediatrician and at night he pulls his telescope out of the garage onto the driveway and makes images that rival the Hubble. In fact, the Hubble's cameras are simple Finger Lakes Instruments cameras that you can buy for reasonable prices. When FLI advertises that the Hubble uses their cameras, they show images made by my neughbor Rob Gendler rather than Hubble shots. In fact, the Hubble team sometimes hire Gendler to help them out. The recent 1.5 BILLION pixel Hubble shot that was recently released was processed by Gendler. His website is robgendlerastropics.com

    Ron

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    Default Re: More Astrophotography

    Thanks I'll check it out Ron. I'm just getting into it (maybe a year or so in).

    Quote Originally Posted by limige View Post
    I have a Nikon rebel, the 10 megapixel one, I have a cannon 100-300mm usm is lense for it. I've tried to take night pictures of things like the sky or lowlight and it doesn't come out right using the auto settings.

    can you give me any pointers on how to setup the camera to take low light pics?

    yours look fantastic btw, very cool how that turned out
    I think my suggestion would be to first have a very sturdy tripod can't really get good star shots without one. You also must use manual mode or bulb mode, there's really no other way. You basically want as much light as you can get in the camera to see the stars. So learning Manual mode on your camera is important in this case! Set a low/slow shutter speed, for example these above my shutter stayed open for about 120 seconds however without a star tracker you will want to keep it probably under 30 seconds max or you start getting star trails. I had my F stop as low as I could get it, in this case it was f/4. My ISO was low because my camera and gear helped me out, but If I were starting out I'd crank up the ISO much higher and then get some shots and dial it back as I see fit to cut down on the graininess. Its really about finding a sweet spot and balance of all 3 values in your area as light pollution from nearby cities can affect your image different than it would somewhere else in the country. The lens you have is not ideal for star field shots IMO because its not wide enough. I always recommend going wide first for stars (I find it easier to get good pictures of the night sky with a wide angle) and then if you get really curious about whats up there like the nebulas and galaxies get a longer focal length lens like you have, which is what I need now. But it can work with some stuff don't be to discouraged. You should also be able to get some pretty darn good shots of the moon with that lens.

    Btw shooting the moon is a whole different story than shooting stars settings wise!

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    Moderator Team and MVP Apr. 2016 rickztahone's Avatar
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    Default Re: More Astrophotography

    Matt, have you ever done astrophotography with a fast lens? Say 1.4?

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    Default Re: More Astrophotography

    Never Ricardo, dying to though. Thought about renting one even just to see what I get.

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    Moderator Team and MVP Apr. 2016 rickztahone's Avatar
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    Default Re: More Astrophotography

    You should. I have used borrowlenses.com in the past with no problems. I ask because a co-worker, which I may have already mentioned to you, also does astrophotography and he has been yearning to get a new(?) 24 1.4 I believe it is? He says it will be a great lens for his type of shooting and I can see the allure of that. I have a 58 1.2 but I would never in a million years would have thought that it may pass off as an astrophotography lens.

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    Moderator Team Discus-n00b's Avatar
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    Default Re: More Astrophotography

    Yeah 24 1.4 is the top on my wish list right now, has been since I started Astrophotography haha. Funny thing, what got me into this corner of the hobby was pictures of the milky way shot with the 24 1.4, insane detail. Been waiting to grab one off of Canon's refurb site for cheap. Might rent it from Borrowlenses first just to make sure as I do want a 200 or 300mm and a nice landscape lens like the 17-40 or 16-35, but atm the 24 1.4 will most likely be my next big lens purchase.

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