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Night sky photography

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17 replies to this topic

#1 Chardo

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Posted 25 August 2019 - 12:49 PM

Going back to our favorite dark sky site and my wife is looking for information on shooting the night sky with her camera. She s an accomplished photographer and is looking for some basic techniques to get started. We have an assortment of lenses and tripods. No tracking. Where do we start?



#2 sg6

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Posted 25 August 2019 - 01:19 PM

Where do we start?

Buy a mount that tracks and can be polar aligned.

Sorry, but a driven Eq mount is a requirement for AP.

 

If the landscape is to be incorporated in the sky image then set the tracking to 1/2. That apparently is the purpose of 1/2 rate. If just sky then leave at default of 1 (Sidereal).

 

Will need an Intervalometer for the DSLR. Set to get say (Guess) 30 exposures each of 30 seconds with a wait between each of 30 seconds to allow for sensor cooling. In effect the "image" will be 30 minutes long, just chopped into bits. Target will therefore have moved 7.5 degrees across the sky - you have to follow it accurately. Everything will need to be manual - ISO setting, Focus, Exposure length set to "B". Sure there are 4 bits to set.


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#3 Jim Waters

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Posted 25 August 2019 - 01:23 PM

Get a tracking mount.

https://www.youtube....star adventurer

https://www.skywatch...star-adventurer

 

First image with my Star Adventurer

https://www.flickr.c...7775@N06/6j4D12



#4 chrysalis

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Posted 25 August 2019 - 01:48 PM

With a 50mm FL lens unguided you can expose a maximum of 30 seconds for minimal star trails.

 

Use the lowest f/ratio for the most light whether film or electronic camera.

 

Of course, if you have electronic camera, you will be able to enhance quite a bit. You can also shoot slightly shorter exposures and stack them.

 

Modern camera equipment can do pretty w=marvelous things with just 30 seconds of exposure!

 

Here are a few I took with various electronic cameras (30 secs unless otherwise noted):

 

Comet Holmes near Melotte 111

1-1a-close-DSC03609.JPG

 

Head of Taurus and Pleiades:

1-aT&PDSC03613.JPG

 

Milky Way and Scorpius from Angel Fire NM (60secs and same pic re-stacked several times - I forget how):

1P1020196a.JPG

 

"Conjunction" of Mars-Saturn-Moon with Spica: 

8-21-12 Moon-Mars-Saturn-Spica aDSC00800-crop.JPG

 

 


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#5 S.Boerner

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Posted 25 August 2019 - 01:50 PM

Check out "The World At Night":  http://twanight.org/newTWAN/index.asp



#6 Chardo

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Posted 25 August 2019 - 01:58 PM

Thanks Mark this is the kind of favor we're looking for. A tracking mount is way out of the budget for now, hence the " night sky photography "topic.

no astro photography for now.

I do have an adapter for my iPhone but that's another subject. 

Thanks



#7 Chardo

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Posted 25 August 2019 - 02:30 PM

Check out "The World At Night":  http://twanight.org/newTWAN/index.asp

Will do.

Thanks



#8 Chardo

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Posted 25 August 2019 - 02:32 PM

The camera is a Cannon 6D full frame dslr.


Edited by Chardo, 25 August 2019 - 04:08 PM.


#9 17.5Dob

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Posted 25 August 2019 - 02:40 PM

Tripod and wide angle lens, Much more forgiving in exposure duration,

I took this on a scouting trip looking for dark sites  Single 30" shot.

 

47878522181_4a0112242f_b.jpg


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#10 Chardo

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Posted 25 August 2019 - 02:55 PM

I didn't realize there was a  group just for this. Please move if necessary. 



#11 kathyastro

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Posted 25 August 2019 - 03:00 PM

Using the equipment you have, keep the exposure times below 400 divided by the focal length of the lens.  That will minimize star trails.

 

Set the aperture to the widest or second-widest f/ stop.  The second-widest typically gives a clearer image than the widest.  Set the ISO as high as it needs to be to get a decent image within those limitations.  1600 - 3200 is a good starting range.

 

Use a remote or a timer to trigger the shutter, so you aren't touching the camera.



#12 S.Boerner

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Posted 25 August 2019 - 03:10 PM

Also this: https://www.darkskyt...ls.com/magazine

Past issues of the Dark Sky Travels magazine



#13 Garyth64

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Posted 25 August 2019 - 03:38 PM

 . . . and don't forget, our club has an Astrophotography group that meets monthly at the Plymouth Library.  Their next meeting is Tuesday, September 3  6pm to 8pm.  Check the FAAC calendar for more details.


Edited by Garyth64, 25 August 2019 - 03:39 PM.

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#14 Chardo

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Posted 25 August 2019 - 08:13 PM

Thanks Gary good idea.

 . . . and don't forget, our club has an Astrophotography group that meets monthly at the Plymouth Library.  Their next meeting is Tuesday, September 3  6pm to 8pm.  Check the FAAC calendar for more details.



#15 richorn

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Posted 25 August 2019 - 08:24 PM

Using the tripod and a wide lens you should be ok at iso 1600 and 15 second exposures. Take a bunch and you can stack them later. Also, take a longer exposure for the ground/foreground also to be composited later. You can also do some light painting on the foreground for further effect.

 

this is an example with only a single shot. If I knew then what I know now ...  lol

 

 


Edited by richorn, 25 August 2019 - 08:26 PM.


#16 S.Boerner

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Posted 25 August 2019 - 08:40 PM

Well another cheap way to go is to add tracking with a "Barn Door Tracker."  Google it and/or go to YouTube and you'll see lots of examples.  You'll probably see lots with various electronics, but it can be made in such a way as to have manual control by rotating the bolt at fraction of a turn every fraction of a minute (1/4 turn every 15 seconds, 1/2 turn every 30 seconds, etc) base on the focal length of your lens.

 

They are really cheap (2 boards, a hinge, and some screws) and easy to make but it does require a tripod and rough polar alignment with hinge pointing towards the NCP.



#17 lakeorion

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Posted 27 August 2019 - 08:06 PM

2018-05-18 Double Arch a small.jpg
 
Shot the arch in twilight (several times - stack to reduce noise).  Wait for darkness (or at least until the other guy stops 'light painting') and shoot star trails.  I think this was 80 x 1 minute.  ISO 800, stack star trails pics using maximum instead of average.  Composite the arch and sky together in Photoshop.
 
All done with a fixed tripod and (APS-C) DSLR, 35mm prime at f3.5 if I remember right.  I used PixInsight for the stacking but I think Deep Sky Stacker would have done the same job, and it's free.

 



#18 Alex McConahay

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Posted 28 August 2019 - 07:54 AM

The "night sky" is a broad topic......Do you want to take pictures of the sky only. and at what magnification and depth? Enough to see galaxies and individual nebula? That is "Deep Space" photography.

 

Or do you want to mix terrestrial with celestial. Big Milky Way shots over trees and mountains? That is what I call Nightscape. 

 

If you want Deep Space, there is a lot to learn. If you want Nightscape, here is one source:

 

 https://youtu.be/EiYXk0hl6T4

 

It is a program on The Astro Imaging Channel from a few years back. I just gave this program at Sequoia National Park's Dark Sky Festival, and it was fairly well received.

 

Alex




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