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The Orion Nebula Darkroom Print

astrophotography
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#1 cdfischels

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Posted 25 April 2020 - 08:46 PM

Good evening Cloudy Nights! For my first post here I'd like to share my first experience using film in astrophotography. I've been taking digital astrophotos for a couple years now so I've worked out most of the bugs in my equipment and achieved reliable autoguiding. I took a series of exposures of different durations to be sure I'd have at least one with good contrast and no guiding errors. The exposure times were based off of some cursory research and examples from other people with similar equipment and film. Even with all of my preparation and double checking it was a huge relief to pull that roll out of the developing tank and see beautiful sharp and well exposed negatives! As soon as the film was dry I dove straight into making prints. At the end of my first day in the darkroom I still wasn't completely happy with the results, the core of the nebula was extremely blown out. I could see the Trapezium on the negative so I knew I just had to keep experimenting with contrast filters and the different exposures. By the end of the second day in the darkroom (a full 8 hours) I finally felt like I had the best print I had the knowledge to make. I could just see the Trapezium in the core and the faintest edges of the nebula on a deep black background. I absolutely love the hands-on nature of film photography and especially photographic printing. Being able to go through that same process with a piece of astrophotography after exclusively using digital techniques was extremely satisfying and just plain fun! I have a healthy respect for the past and present astronomers that didn't have the modern tools that assisted me in achieving good focus and guiding. I'm excited to take more pictures like this as well as try color slide film.

Acquisition:

Target: Orion Nebula
Date: 2019/12/4
Telescope: Orion 8" f/3.9
Camera: Canon T2
Mount: iOptron CEM60
Film: HP5+ ISO 400
Exposure: 10min
Guide Scope: Orion CT80
Guide Camera: Lodestar x2
Accessories: Baader MPCC III

 

Processing:
Film Developer: Ilfosol 3
Multigrade filter #2
Photographic paper: Ilford Multigrade RC
Paper Developer: Ilford Multigrade
Scanned with an Epson V600
Photoshop: Set black point and removed some dust and hairs

 

Software Used:
Astro Photography Tool
PHD 2 Guiding
Photoshop

ZkP67sP.jpg


Edited by cdfischels, 25 April 2020 - 08:54 PM.

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#2 Todd N

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Posted 26 April 2020 - 01:19 PM

Real nice. I wish my skies would enable me to do longer focal length imaging like this. My C8 is basically a guidescope these days. I really like Ilford HP5 and I play around with it  a lot. Some techniques to deal with the bright core:

 

- Unsharp Masking:

A blurred low contrast positive copy aligned with the negative for a final pint. too difficult with 35mm but enlargements on larger sheet film... a bit of a more involved process. It reduces dynamic range and gives a stark look. See David Malin on USM or Wallis & Provin "A Manual For Advanced Celestial Photogropahy"

 

- Pull the film.

Double the exposure and develop to half box speed this will attenuate the brights.

 

- Stand Development.

Low developer dilution with very long development, upwards of an hour with few, one or two agitation cycles. The brights are attenuated while the low end is lifted higher. Increase grain with lesser quality from my experience. Something to play around with if interested.

 

Or you could dodge the core but I kinda think of that as cheating. ;-) Nevertheless, it's real nice as it is.

 

Regards,

 

Todd

 

 

 

 

 

 



#3 cdfischels

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Posted 27 April 2020 - 09:42 AM

Thank you Todd! I appreciate your suggestions for developing and printing. I'm still relatively inexperienced in the darkroom and I'm always looking to improve and try new techniques. I'm glad I resisted the urge to dodge the core for all those hours lest I cheat! It looks like the book you recommended covers several other topics that I'm interested in, and it's readily available as well.

Thanks again!



#4 sunnyday

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Posted 27 April 2020 - 09:58 AM

very nice shot 

love the b&w. thanks 



#5 Nightfly

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Posted 27 April 2020 - 04:37 PM

This is a fine example of film based telescopic work.  Thank you for providing the technical and work flow narration.   I certainly hope to see more work like this posted here on the forum.

 

Classic work, and well done!



#6 SMigol

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Posted 27 April 2020 - 06:37 PM

I really like the halation halo and the diffraction spikes.

Classic look!



#7 cdfischels

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Posted 27 April 2020 - 07:27 PM

Thank you all for the positive responses! I was never sure if those halos were due to halation or developer exhaustion near the brightest stars. I think it's a pretty effect, and a welcome one for this image.


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#8 TxStars

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Posted 28 April 2020 - 01:14 AM

I think that you were able to get a very nice image..

Keep up the good work..



#9 Uwe Pilz

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Posted 03 May 2020 - 12:13 AM

Darroom technique requires experience. But I think your result is very good! I wish a had such a high quality print in my archive- Thank you for sharing.



#10 cdfischels

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Posted 04 May 2020 - 07:29 PM

Thank you all again for the complements and encouragement! I'm excited to try new and more advanced techniques in the darkroom. I hope to have some more prints and scans to share soon.



#11 apollo16uvc

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Posted 06 May 2020 - 10:34 AM

Very atmospheric print, I like it.




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