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Astrophotography - 101: How to get started.

dave.gt

Well-known member
Lost some sleep this morning shooting between 2 and 4 a.m. however happy with the results.

Shot the Milky Way in an empty corral that also has a tall windmill and water tank. Fuji GFX 60s, GF45mm f/2.8 ISO 4000 and a total of 12-images files ( total of 60-seconds) and 1-dark frame.

Opened in C1-Pro, stacked in Sequator before final processing in PSCC.

Enjoy!
Dang!

I absolutely love that image!!!:thumbs:
 

Don Libby

Well-known member
Been loosing sleep the past week photographing the milky way both her in Tucson as well as in the Salton Sea.

I've been waiting for a second weight to arrive so I can properly mount and balance by GFX 50s and GF250. We still have dark skies and will make my first attempt tonight at deep space.


20190606_072642.jpgIMG_20190606_073826_512.jpg
 

dave.gt

Well-known member
Been loosing sleep the past week photographing the milky way both her in Tucson as well as in the Salton Sea.

I've been waiting for a second weight to arrive so I can properly mount and balance by GFX 50s and GF250. We still have dark skies and will make my first attempt tonight at deep space.


View attachment 142143View attachment 142144
Don,

You guys continue to inspire me to try LA (Landscape Photography) and I appreciate your beautiful work. I have not given up although light pollution, poor location, rare opportunities, logistics and stress have all conspired against my best efforts.

Yesterday, I crashed but awoke to see the clouds clearing ever so slightly. I thought it might be fun to try something different.

I left my own Optron in my Leica Cave... and opted for... 0-15 second exposures with my tiny Leica X1 on my huge Gitzo tripod. :ROTFL: I simply wanted to see if the tiny lens opening, wide-open, would gather enough light to see the Milky Way, especially in my backyard with all the light pollution.

As darkness set in around 9:30pm, I started playing with the X1 grabbing shots when I could. Too many clouds! But I kept shooting for over two hours and I did manage to capture a glimpse of Jupiter and the Milky Way but I had to stop because of heavy clouds moving in.

The results were encouraging, and I was surprised to actually get an image that showed potential with an APS-C sensor.

Embarrassingly not up to a quality image yet, but it was fun!:)

Jupiter and the Milky Way 2 July 21, 2019 FINAL Leica X1.jpeg

PS: It was liberating to use a tiny camera with a footprint the size of my little iPhone5.

Now if I can only find a fast wide lens for the H5....
 
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jng

Well-known member
My first attempt at astrophotography. The best view of the Milky Way was behind me but alas Crater Lake was in front of me. Focusing was a bit dicey but not bad considering how much wine I had over dinner!

Starry night, Crater Lake, Oregon
H08_30_2019_0082_86 stitch-FrameShop.jpg
X1D | XCD45 | f/3.5 | 16 sec | ISO6400 | two-image stitch

John
 

Greg Haag

Well-known member
2020 Christmas Star tonight! First time in 800 years.:)

Is anyone planning on shooting this event?
I am not, not quite sure how to, but I am so glad you refreshed this thread Dave! One of my photography goals for 2020 is to learn more about this topic.
 

glennedens

Active member
This will be a challenging event to photograph:
  1. Jupiter is brighter than Saturn so exposure will be tricky - most of the best images so far have been composites with separate exposures for Jupiter and Saturn - it can definitely be shot in one image though.
  2. Immediately after sunset they will be low in the Southwest, I am at 35.5 degrees latitude and at sunset Jupiter and Saturn will be about 21 degrees above the horizon at a bearing of about 221 degrees (southwest) - the sky will be bright still and visually you likely will not yet see any moons - although a photograph will likely capture a few moons.
  3. At nautical dusk (5:55pm MST here) they will be about 13 degrees altitude - that will likely be the best window for a photograph although you will be shooting through a lot of atmosphere - depending on your local conditions you might see the planets drop in and out of clarity - a good technique is to take lots of images, sort through them and 'stack' the sharpest images by hand or by using specialized software.
  4. Exposure is hard to suggest since it varies depending on your optical train (telescope or lens, flattener, barlow, etc.) - I'll be using a 4" refractor, a Tele Vue NP101 telescope (not the best choice since its designed for wide-field views) which is natively 540mm at F/5.4, adding a Tele Vue Powermate 2x (essentially a barlow) which will result in roughly 1080mm at F/11 - using an Fuji XT-3 I'll start with ISO 1600 and 1/2 sec and work up - you want the shortest exposure time.
  5. Eyepiece projection would be a better approach, however I don't have all the right tubes and extenders.
I am at about 6,300 ft altitude and the seeing is expected to be okay - so I expect "the wiggles", especially at those low altitudes, typically I don't bother to shoot below 10-15 degrees unless the sky is cooperating.

I use Skysafari for charts and planning, although there are a lot of good planetarium programs including the free Stellarium. I've use Lynkeos for planetary image stacking (since I'm Mac OS X) although I also use Pixinsight if I am gong for the best quality (not for the feint of heart).

Keeping my fingers crossed that the H2O nebula dissipates.

Kind regards, Glenn
 

Ai_Print

Active member
2020 Christmas Star tonight! First time in 800 years.:)

Is anyone planning on shooting this event?
I might try it if I can get an interesting foreground / earthbound subject with it otherwise probably not. I find astrophotography of just objects in the sky alone somewhat of an empty pursuit since there is so much of it out there and it all looks the same.

I do have a few scopes I can use to view it though, including a 16" F5 reflector so that might be the ticket but then again not likely due only ok seeing in the forecast.
 
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Craig Stocks

Well-known member
My take on the Jupiter / Saturn conjunction. I normally use my IQ4150 with a telescope but in this case I used a Sony a7r2. In this case the camera sensor size doesn't really matter because the telescope is 1900mm focal length no matter what camera is attached, and this is a center crop from the frame.

ILCE-7RM2-20201221-DSC09743-3.jpg
 
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