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Isn't Astrophotography Fake?

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#151 esd726

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Posted 14 October 2021 - 08:49 AM

Interesting read.

I have been observing for over 35 years and have really never been interested in AP.  About as far as I go is maybe every now and then taking my phone (or back in the day, like my avatar, my point and shoot camera) out and seeing if I can get a quick picture.  I can only seem to get it to work with the moon, or years ago Saturn somewhat, and that is fine with me

. That couple minutes I spent trying to hold everything, focus, etc gets old fast and is time taken away from what I want to do the rare times I get to go out.

  I don’t think it’s fake, I’m just so much more interested in visual.  The people that would rather do AP are very good at it and sometimes I like looking at the photos.  After seeing pictures from Hubble, etc most of the amateur color ones don’t do much for ME. Now if someone could get a picture that shows what a DSO looks like through a typical “beginner” scope so people starting out could go by that...that would be pretty cool IMO.


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#152 brentknight

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Posted 14 October 2021 - 08:59 AM

I think the op's usage of the word "fake", might be ticking a few people off. But in any event, the real question is what is your goal in observing? If you're looking to experience pretty colors and patterns, then of course ap is no different than anything else. But I doubt that (speaking for myself at least, but likely countless others) find myself amazed at viewing a galaxy trillions of miles across, trillions of miles away, and just thinking "BIG"... and seeing a picture vs seeing it yourself is like witnessing a moment vs hearing about it second hand; tainted by someone else's perceptions. It's not purely my own experience any more; it's now how someone else interprets the universe. And I can't trust that. The difference between ao and using a telescope is that a telescope is an indiscriminate object that amplifies light in a consistent manner, regardless of the target. A telescope won't enhance the red channel to make a nebula stand out, and it won't mess with the histogram either. The same transformation is always applied; it is an instrument I can trust. When I experience something through that, I know that there isn't any prejudice in the experience, how I feel is based on my opinion only. So taking photos yourself, than that can fun, but looking at pictures other people made is no longer impressive.

Clippy,

 

I really like some of your ideas here and more so since I've been learning the AP stuff.

 

I realized last night that when I got some images that didn't look quite pretty enough for me (mostly the color balance and the star sizes) and I spent some time trying to process them that I stopped looking at the picture - I was looking at the pixels.  Even when I finished the processing I was still just looking at the pixels.  I then realized this wasn't the reason I was getting into this stuff.  I wanted to see more, not so much see pretty.

 

I am impressed with others images, but I learn from my images - warts and all.  And that kinda made me realize that we are doing science here as we are contributing to our own body of knowledge.



#153 mikemarotta

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Posted 14 October 2021 - 09:12 AM

I gave both comments a "Like" because they address the core issues, even though I have disagreements with the interpretations of facts cited by both. 

 

 

With all due respect, the statement “to see things the way nature intended” is incredibly naive and wrongheaded. ... As far as we can discern nature has no “intent.”  And what you “see” is a very slender and arbitrary slice of the electromagnetic spectrum detected as photons hitting receptors ... I think you wish to “see” that which you have determined to be “true” based on a whole load of preconceptions unrelated to the reality of nature.

 

I agree that nature has no intent and that we can use any valid transducer to reveal entities and processes that are not immediately evident to a "natural" or "unaugmented" human. So, your eyes do not "naturally" reveal the rings of Saturn, but the telescope extends your senses. The same applies to radio astronomy and at other extremes to electron microscopy or seismography. How is it different from eyeglasses or a hearing aid or for that matter an automobile that lets you outrun a cheetah? 

 

That said, though, my understanding of the original post is that the central argument is exactly what Brianm is questioning: enhancing the product to achieve a pre-determined result: the rosier Rose Nebula. My opinion is that amateur astrophotography fails at the point where the intent is not to reveal emissions or absorptions that otherwise are not evident such as bringing out the green in the Orion Nebula to reveal evidence of physical processes. The amateur astrophotographer stops with the pretty green and never follows through on the physics.

 

 

You're not Jordan Peterson incognito are you? This isn't a philosophical or psychological thread. At least it wasn't until your 'comment' - "Where to start?" Well .... “to see things the way nature intended” is metaphorical and in relation to the fact that Optical Telescopes allow one to 'see things closer' ... Unlike seeing things as a Bee or a Bat might do. So the remainder of your comment is simply argumentum ad hominem.

Wow... I had to google that "John Peterson philosophy" and found https://web.uri.edu/.../john-peterson/

Currently he is focused on theories of truth and in particular on the medieval notion that truth is the conformity of being or things to mind or intellect. Does not this imply that mind is the measure of things and not the other way around? If so, how is this notion compatible with alleged medieval realism as over against anti–realism?

 

Who knew? I mean, OK, Quine or Husserl maybe, or from the other side Paul Feuerabend, but who reads this stuff? Anyway... I agree that MidasJohn's use of "...as nature intended..." was metaphorical and would include instrumentation that augments the senses, as opposed to the interpretive presentations of amateur astrophotography, which are art rather than science.

 

I do say that this was indeed a philosophical and psychological question from the very first, assuming the null hypothesis - Is it not fake? And "fake" implies intent and denies procdural error and uncorrelated accident. And I accept that intention as long as it grants honest error to the process and its practitioners. I mean, AP aficianados are not trying to trick us out of our money. They are just gone astray, lost in the process and out of sight of the goal.

 

Again, on my blog, I do grant that amateur AP has a valid place when used to enter accurate visual data into a log. Also, on my blog, I have two posts about using the NASA-Harvard "My OWN" remote telescopes to image M51 and M13. 

("Observing with NASA: Platform for Citizen Science" here: https://necessaryfac...atform-for.html

and "(Not) Observing with NASA and Harvard" here https://necessaryfac...nd-harvard.html )

(Their website is here: https://mo-www.cfa.h.../OWN/index.html )

 


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#154 brentknight

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Posted 14 October 2021 - 09:17 AM

One could also argue that seeing the cosmos "as nature intended" would preclude the use of equipment. Therefore I could say that I observe the heavens "as nature intended" with the naked eye while also performing AP.

A two-fer.

To stick with the Carl Sagan theme, he once beautifully said that "We are a way for the Cosmos to know itself".  If you believe that, then any technical manipulations we might use to further know the Cosmos is as nature intended.


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#155 brentknight

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Posted 14 October 2021 - 09:39 AM

It was an honest question and not intended to excite anyone or become a philosophical debate, and definitely not a slanging match (British expression). I will see what I can do to edit the post and it's becoming a little silly now. I alone know what I meant to say. So abstract opinions of the meaning of what I have said is simply daft (forgive another British expression tongue2.gif ). What I should have asked is, "Astrophotography - More Photography and Less Astronomy?", as there seems more interest in the Photos and the Equipment than the astronomical targets.

 

In any case everyone can enjoy any aspects of their own persuasion and this Forum after all is about 'Cloudy Nights' which affect EVERYONE here lol.gif

Honestly...I don't think you would have gotten nearly the amount of interesting comments as this topic has already gotten if you had named it that.  Mostly because I think everyone knows that's the truth for an awful lot of AP'ers.

 

I went through a pretty horrible thread here on CN yesterday where a newbie was asking (on the beginner AP forum) about what to get to take pictures of galaxies.  The discussion was almost totally dominated by experienced practitioners telling the newbie (so that he wouldn't be discouraged) that the bottom line was that if you weren't willing to drop 20K or more on all the equipment, that you would only be able to image M31 and M33.

 

I'm a rank beginner here, and I image 16m galaxies with my 3K rig.  They look bigger and brighter than I've ever seen through my 14" Dobsonian.  They won't win any awards for being pretty though.


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#156 John Fitzgerald

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Posted 14 October 2021 - 09:51 AM

I've always wondered how the mods and admins can tell if someone actually took the image themselves, or got it off the internet.   After all, most images of, for example, M20, pretty much look the same.  A little extra processing and cropping could make a borrowed image look unique.  Unless I know the poster personally, or they are well known in the astronomy community, I really don't know what to believe.


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#157 jgmoxness

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Posted 14 October 2021 - 10:45 AM

Interesting discussion. I think much of it is attempting to make distinctions in the (ab)use of the meaning of words. Some related thoughts ...

  • The OP suggested an alternate title removing the pejorative word "fake", but that's what got the hackles up for the thread. Having said that, I think the statement is emphatically false without making a number of prejudicial assumptions about the intentions of every individual who practices the hobby (not good).  
  • While I understand that Hubble (HST) is a "science" instrument, I think the idea that its public appreciation as an AP tool in the Hubble palette (SHO) being deemed "fake" is a bit harsh, no? BTW - there is a nice video of a guy who worked the post-processing of the the Eagle "Pillars of Creation" https://www.youtube....h?v=0LvY1nQibyo
  • I don't mind the personal opinions for or against AP vs visual vs doing science vs post-processing for accuracy or aesthetic beauty, but don't appreciate some of the accompanying condescension for those "on the other side" of what is being appreciated in these endeavors. 

Is mathematics fake because it may not be physically real? Is a visualization of math as art "fake"? see an image I created in an article in Scientific American:

E8 Petrie Projection

 

Is it art, science, both, neither? Is it real or fake or something else? 

I honestly don't care - but the conversation is great.


Edited by jgmoxness, 14 October 2021 - 11:19 AM.

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#158 David-LR

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Posted 14 October 2021 - 11:02 AM

I always wowed at the Nebula Photos and the Solar Prominences until I got into the many YouTube Instruction Videos on making them. Then I found myself reaching the conclusion that basically it's fake. Regular People believe things "look like that" like pictures of the Orion nebular but they are all just over exposures or swap-n-chops ... If you moved closer to those objects in space they would never ever appear that way in reality. There also seems to be an obsession with all the kit. Not for me at all. Visual Observation or snaps of what I can see for me. I'll leave the Observatories and their Professional Astronomers to work in 'unreal wavelengths'.

Does anyone else feel this way about Astrophotography and Imaging?
I suspect I'm in some kind of extremist minority who wish to see things the way nature intended, through the eye piece

The human eye is essentially blind to what is out in the Universe.

 

"The entire rainbow of radiation observable to the human eye only makes up a tiny portion of the electromagnetic spectrum – about 0.0035 percent. This range of wavelengths is known as visible light."

 

From https://www.energy.g...g-research-nnsa

 

 

FWIW,


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#159 viewer

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Posted 14 October 2021 - 12:25 PM

Honestly...I don't think you would have gotten nearly the amount of interesting comments as this topic has already gotten if you had named it that.  Mostly because I think everyone knows that's the truth for an awful lot of AP'ers.

 

I went through a pretty horrible thread here on CN yesterday where a newbie was asking (on the beginner AP forum) about what to get to take pictures of galaxies.  The discussion was almost totally dominated by experienced practitioners telling the newbie (so that he wouldn't be discouraged) that the bottom line was that if you weren't willing to drop 20K or more on all the equipment, that you would only be able to image M31 and M33.

 

I'm a rank beginner here, and I image 16m galaxies with my 3K rig.  They look bigger and brighter than I've ever seen through my 14" Dobsonian.  They won't win any awards for being pretty though.

Oops, 20K? 

 

lol



#160 brentknight

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Posted 14 October 2021 - 01:06 PM

Oops, 20K? 

 

lol

Price out some 14" to 16" SCT type telescopes and the mounts to carry them, and 20K get's pretty easy to hit.



#161 Brianm14

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Posted 14 October 2021 - 04:56 PM

Hat-in-hand, I apologize to the OP, the moderator, and the Cloudy Nights community for my injudicious and rash use of the words “naive” and “wrongheaded.”  These were not meant as a personal attack, but I do now see how this could be construed as such and how it undermined my quite sincere “with all due respect.”  I never want to hurt or demean anyone or his or her ideas.   But I have been correctly called out on this.

 

Mea culpa


Edited by Brianm14, 14 October 2021 - 05:02 PM.

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#162 freestar8n

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Posted 14 October 2021 - 06:09 PM

This topic comes up often in various ways and I have my own take on it.  I don't think it is necessary to place imaging approaches in various labeled bins and it's more productive just to describe what is going on.

 

The imaging I do, and that interests me, is a general form of imaging the natural world.  It could be imaging a bug or a flower or a canyon - or a nebula.  When I look at it I want to have a sense I am seeing the object itself and I can interpret what I'm looking at.  There is no need to resort to words like "true" in this case - it's a simple matter of knowing what I am looking at and how to interpret the scene presented.

 

One way to do this is to allow the imager to do anything at all to the image to make it more compelling.  There are no constraints at all - and there is particular skill, both technical and artistic, in pulling this off so people like the result.  I think this is by far the main way images are presented in CN - and that is perfectly fine.  But I personally don't like it - not because it is 'fake' - but because it is more about what can be done with given imaging data, vs. revealing the scene itself with minimal modifications.

 

So what I strive to do is the very minimum manipulation of the image needed to make the object visible.  This greatly simplifies the post-processing - but it means you need to have good data.

 

As for "doing science" - rather than label things science vs. art, you can ask if the processing done is consistent with allowed processing for a top scientific journal.  That puts constraints on the image that serve a valuable purpose both for science and for general nature photography: it limits the ability to introduce artifact and maintains a sense of directly presenting raw data.

 

And what is allowed by these top journals?  In general just global operations on the pixels - as individual measurements - including a global nonlinear stretch.  And rejection of satellites in a  stack or cosmic rays isn't just allowed - it's required if you are claiming to capture data from a distant object.  Those other things aren't manually removed - they are rejected as outlier bad data that would introduce artifact.  The result is "cleaner" - but done in a data-driven way  based on a noise model.

 

If you have a jungle scene and a tiger is in a shadow area - it is fine to do a global stretch so the tiger is visible.  But you can't highlight just the tiger in a selective manner.  In this way, the dodge/burn techniques of Ansel Adams would not be allowed, but a global stretch in Photoshop would be ok.

 

So I can codify the various minimal stages of processing for deep sky:  First you need to calibrate, align and stack many frames - and you end up with a linear image true to the data.  It is probably not very visible so you need to set a white and black point - and you now have a linear image.  Does it look good?  Here is an example:

 

get.jpg?insecure

 

That is directly captured and the only processing done was to set white and black point.  No cropping, no nonlinear stretch and no sharpening, etc.

 

Here is a similar example, but with a global nonlinear stretch to make more of the scene visible:

 

get.jpg?insecure

 

Here is a similar narrowband semi-false-color view of the famous "pillars" in M16:

 

get.jpg?insecure

 

When I do narrowband I map each color channel to the way the eye would respond to that color - and I sum them up for all channels involved.  If one is very faint then I boost it with a stated factor - all in a linear manner.  The pillars image is completely linear in each channel and uncropped - only black and white point were set for the final color image, and the Oiii channel was boosted by 1.5 so it is more visible.

 

I want to emphasize that I'm not saying this is better or worse - but it does depart from the somewhat extreme labels and assumptions made in this thread.  Most astro imaging is done with no constraints at all - but that isn't what I'm doing or want to see.  I want to see objects in a compelling way with the very minimum, and stated, manipulation done to the data so I know what I'm looking at.  And it is largely for the same reasons such restraints are imposed by top scientific journals.

 

Frank


Edited by freestar8n, 14 October 2021 - 06:14 PM.

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#163 galacticinsomnia

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Posted 14 October 2021 - 07:09 PM

Interesting discussion. I think much of it is attempting to make distinctions in the (ab)use of the meaning of words. Some related thoughts ...

  • The OP suggested an alternate title removing the pejorative word "fake", but that's what got the hackles up for the thread. Having said that, I think the statement is emphatically false without making a number of prejudicial assumptions about the intentions of every individual who practices the hobby (not good).  
  • While I understand that Hubble (HST) is a "science" instrument, I think the idea that its public appreciation as an AP tool in the Hubble palette (SHO) being deemed "fake" is a bit harsh, no? BTW - there is a nice video of a guy who worked the post-processing of the the Eagle "Pillars of Creation" https://www.youtube....h?v=0LvY1nQibyo
  • I don't mind the personal opinions for or against AP vs visual vs doing science vs post-processing for accuracy or aesthetic beauty, but don't appreciate some of the accompanying condescension for those "on the other side" of what is being appreciated in these endeavors. 

Is mathematics fake because it may not be physically real? Is a visualization of math as art "fake"? see an image I created in an article in Scientific American:

 

 

Is it art, science, both, neither? Is it real or fake or something else? 

I honestly don't care - but the conversation is great.

There was a time when I was a math wiz, but not so much anymore.
However, I still dabble when it suits me.

I agree with your post... This is a graphic representation of math in the form of a galaxy..  Fractals.
galaxy-019sm.jpg

Math represented in this dragons egg, via fractals.

dragon-egg-Rainbow-003.jpg

I'm a technical artist.  While I make a huge distinction between a photograph, and graphic art that uses photography, that distinction to me, is applicable to astrophotography.
It is just another form or medium in which to study, creatively share, or inform, whatever the individual chooses to pursue, as illustrated previously, it is not a good thing to be presumptious.

Clear Skies !!


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#164 midasjohn

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Posted 15 October 2021 - 03:02 AM

Hat-in-hand, I apologize to the OP, the moderator, and the Cloudy Nights community for my injudicious and rash use of the words “naive” and “wrongheaded.” These were not meant as a personal attack, but I do now see how this could be construed as such and how it undermined my quite sincere “with all due respect.” I never want to hurt or demean anyone or his or her ideas. But I have been correctly called out on this.

Mea culpa


Deeply appreciated. I typed out that newbie post with absolutely no idea it would be generating the debate it has done. I even since asked a Mod to close the thread, because it was not intended.

Did a newbie to Cloudy Nights ever have such a lesson? It's been amazing and I have learned so much about where I personally want to go in Amateur Astronomy. I had a long absence and have recently returned after a decade and it's amazing how much things have evolved and diversified.

Thanks @Brianm14 and Everyone!
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#165 AstroVPK

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Posted 15 October 2021 - 08:59 AM

I always wowed at the Nebula Photos and the Solar Prominences until I got into the many YouTube Instruction Videos on making them. Then I found myself reaching the conclusion that basically it's fake. Regular People believe things "look like that" like pictures of the Orion nebular but they are all just over exposures or swap-n-chops ... If you moved closer to those objects in space they would never ever appear that way in reality. There also seems to be an obsession with all the kit. Not for me at all. Visual Observation or snaps of what I can see for me. I'll leave the Observatories and their Professional Astronomers to work in 'unreal wavelengths'.

Does anyone else feel this way about Astrophotography and Imaging?
I suspect I'm in some kind of extremist minority who wish to see things the way nature intended, through the eye piece

 

I think you have a strong human-centric bias. The Mantis Shrimp - https://en.wikipedia...i/Mantis_shrimp - has the most complex eyes in the animal kingdom & almost certainly sees the Orion nebula very differently from the way that you perceive it.

As a former professional astronomer, I see astrophotography as an art form rather than as being something with any notion of truth associated with it. In professional astronomy, we care about making measurements, i.e. flux, polarization, wavelength, etc...., presenting & storing the data un-altered. Hence you'll find that 'professional' images look rather drab, unattractive, & un-appealing - see http://skyserver.sds...chart/navi.aspx for an example. Professional data simply have not had the strong post-processing applied to them that art astrophotography applies - in fact, you'd never want to do that. So art astrophotography can be whatever it wants to be with aesthetic appeal being the primary driver. I don't have a problem with that!


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#166 555aaa

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Posted 15 October 2021 - 09:57 AM

My understanding when most people are using the Hubble pallete in 3 colors they are making a direct map onto R,G, and B. It's possible to make a mixed map in which each channel has a different weighting into R,G, and B (that is easily accomplished in the Photshop channel mixer or in a pixel math function in one of the tools that supports this e.g. IRIS). If you have say four or five filters you have to do mixing, but I don't know any amateurs working with more than three narrowband filters. One of the things that I find is very confusing with the Hubble pallete is that you get a lot of brown in the image but in many of the targets there is a lot of dust and/or molecular clouds that are really brown and so I have no idea what I am looking at in that sense. What is that brown stuff? M42 has a lot of brown stuff in it. It really is brown, with some pink and green or greenish/blue.

 

http://www.astronomy...ble_palette.htm


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#167 Brianm14

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Posted 15 October 2021 - 01:48 PM

Deeply appreciated. I typed out that newbie post with absolutely no idea it would be generating the debate it has done. I even since asked a Mod to close the thread, because it was not intended.

Did a newbie to Cloudy Nights ever have such a lesson? It's been amazing and I have learned so much about where I personally want to go in Amateur Astronomy. I had a long absence and have recently returned after a decade and it's amazing how much things have evolved and diversified.

Thanks @Brianm14 and Everyone!

      Welcome aboard!  It's quite a ride.



#168 PlanetNamek

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Posted 15 October 2021 - 02:07 PM

I always wowed at the Nebula Photos and the Solar Prominences until I got into the many YouTube Instruction Videos on making them. Then I found myself reaching the conclusion that basically it's fake. Regular People believe things "look like that" like pictures of the Orion nebular but they are all just over exposures or swap-n-chops ... If you moved closer to those objects in space they would never ever appear that way in reality. There also seems to be an obsession with all the kit. Not for me at all. Visual Observation or snaps of what I can see for me. I'll leave the Observatories and their Professional Astronomers to work in 'unreal wavelengths'.

Does anyone else feel this way about Astrophotography and Imaging?
I suspect I'm in some kind of extremist minority who wish to see things the way nature intended, through the eye piece

I fully agree with most of your thoughts. To me it is also "fake" because if you had a starship and went to to the Orion Nebula you wouldn't be able to see what pictures show. They look amazing but I think in real life you wouldn't see even half of that.


Edited by PlanetNamek, 15 October 2021 - 02:08 PM.

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#169 John Fitzgerald

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Posted 15 October 2021 - 03:32 PM

I think you have a strong human-centric bias. The Mantis Shrimp - https://en.wikipedia...i/Mantis_shrimp - has the most complex eyes in the animal kingdom & almost certainly sees the Orion nebula very differently from the way that you perceive it.

As a former professional astronomer, I see astrophotography as an art form rather than as being something with any notion of truth associated with it. In professional astronomy, we care about making measurements, i.e. flux, polarization, wavelength, etc...., presenting & storing the data un-altered. Hence you'll find that 'professional' images look rather drab, unattractive, & un-appealing - see http://skyserver.sds...chart/navi.aspx for an example. Professional data simply have not had the strong post-processing applied to them that art astrophotography applies - in fact, you'd never want to do that. So art astrophotography can be whatever it wants to be with aesthetic appeal being the primary driver. I don't have a problem with that!

I agree.  I think post processed photos are art.



#170 viewer

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Posted 15 October 2021 - 09:36 PM

I agree.  I think post processed photos are art.

It's also about the kind of and the level of post processing. Are your intention mainly to make the innate beauty clearer or to smash, not letting reality be the foremost guideline? 



#171 555aaa

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Posted 16 October 2021 - 08:41 AM

I fully agree with most of your thoughts. To me it is also "fake" because if you had a starship and went to to the Orion Nebula you wouldn't be able to see what pictures show. They look amazing but I think in real life you wouldn't see even half of that.

The Orion Nebula is pretty bright and the stars that power it are very bright. The brightest star in the Trapezium is 250,000 times brighter than the sun. When you go outside and you see an aurora, that’s just some ionized gas out in front of you, and that is powered by a much weaker source and process. I think it would be pretty spectacular.

Edited by 555aaa, 16 October 2021 - 08:47 AM.


#172 555aaa

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Posted 16 October 2021 - 08:53 AM

This website Clarkvision from Roger Clark has the best discussion I know of in accurate color rendition in astrophotography. This is his note on true colors in M42

https://clarkvision....ium.true.color/
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#173 midasjohn

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Posted 16 October 2021 - 09:39 AM

This website Clarkvision from Roger Clark has the best discussion I know of in accurate color rendition in astrophotography. This is his note on true colors in M42

https://clarkvision....ium.true.color/

Excellent resource, thanks!



#174 weis14

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Posted 16 October 2021 - 10:12 PM

I've followed this thread with interest since it was posted, but wasn't sure I had much to offer.  I am almost exclusively a visual observer, but I've dabbled in EAA in the past.  However, the reason that I don't do astrophotography has nothing to do with whether or not it has value, but is because I consider most of what it takes to do astrophotography as work, especially the post processing.  I don't get joy from it.  I appreciate high end equipment, but I don't especially like fighting with the equipment issues and sitting in front of a computer learning post-processing programs sounds a lot more like work than a hobby I'd enjoy.

 

As a result, while I can appreciate the ever increasing number of astrophotos shared here an elsewhere, it is not an area of this hobby that I'm really engaged in.

 

The only reason I'm posting, is because I recently saw an image of the Horsehead that was done in a different color pallet than almost all of the others I've seen.  It was a striking and beautiful image (I wish I had a link or could find it on Astrobin) and had more orange in it than red.  If it were my image, I'd probably have it framed on the wall.  

 

That brings me to my point.  I view astrophotography as a work of art and there is nothing wrong with that.  I'd hang a beautiful image of some DSO on the wall, just as I would hand a picture of a beautiful bird or other striking photography subject.  I'd also hang a really good sketch of a striking lunar feature.  Creating really good art is a gift and it can move people in many ways.  For me, this particular image stood out from the thousands I've seen of this subject, which is a major accomplishment in itself.

 

I like astronomy for a lot of reasons.  For a lot of different reasons, I am not a fan of photography.  I've tried it and I'm not good at it nor do I have the desire to put in the work to get better.  For me, astrophotography is much more photography than it is astronomy.  That is not where the my passion in this hobby lies.  That's okay.  This hobby is a big enough tent to hold many different types of participants (visual, AP, both, ATM makers who rarely observe, naked eye observers, aurora chasers, eclipse chasers, - I'm sure I'm leaving some out.).  


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