Well, that month of cloudy skies and incessant rain finally lifted and I've been making strides at imaging again!
About 11 months into the hobby and I'm converging on a style that I'm proud of. Potentially this is my best work and certainly in a similar ballpark to my recent M42 and Rosette.
Such a shame that the nebula season is almost at a close, but quite honestly I'm exhausted by astronomy and could do with a little mental break for a while. I'm sure we can all identify with that burnout feeling where you eat, sleep, live, breathe this insane hobby for months at a time.
Eventually it starts to encroach upon your dreams, and then it's probably time to get it a rest.
Here I've captured 25hours on another of this season's must-haves; the California Nebula!
About 8hours each on the the Antlia 3nm Pro filters, using a mix of 5-10 minute subs on the 1600MM Pro at -20'C.
Stacking and gradient removal in APP, then finished and balanced in Photoshop.
Two personal developments on this project that have upped my game:
1. Using HaSHO instead of SHO significantly improved my image quality.
One thing I've developed recently as part of my 'personal style' is using almost exclusively Ha as luminance, then SHO as RGB.
Previously when using pure SHO, you would find that the image was terribly noisy; even with 10-20 hours of integration. By offloading the luminance into the strong hydrogen layer, I can significantly clean up the image. I find therefore that HaSHO is much better looking than SHO.
2. A novel (?) method of ultra-clean star reduction.
Another technique I'm working on is how to improve star reduction. I think a lot of tutorials have it wrong, in my opinion. Most people will tell you to select the stars then make them smaller with a 'minimum' (or similar) filter; but this leaves terrible artefacts.
My approach has been to generate a pair of Starfull / Starless versions of the Ha image; then create a star-mask from the unstretched Oxygen layer; before using that to mask the 'starfull' Ha image back in.
So instead of messily selecting stars in an image and making them smaller with bad artefacts - I just take an image with no stars at all; and then use the low-nebulosity oxygen layer as a mask to add a very clean and precise mask of them back to the starless image.
This 'inside out' method is muuuuuuuuuuch cleaner than any other method I've seen described, and I couldn't find anyone else doing it this way.
Maybe I can make a quick tutorial of my own in case anyone's interested?
Thanks for looking!
- More of my images on www.instagram.com/baz_astra
Spectral Palette: HaSHO (Ha luminance + SHO)
102 x 300s Hydrogen (8.5hrs)
52 x 600s Oxygen (8.7hrs)
100 X 300s Sulphur (8.3hrs)
= TOTAL 25.6hrs
Camera: ASI 1600MM Pro @ -20'c
Mount: Skywatcher HEQ5 Pro
Telescope: William Optics Redcat 51
Filters: Antlia 3nm SHO Pro narrowband
Guiding: ZWO ASIAIR
Software: APP + Photoshop
Sky type: Bortle 4
Location: Norfolk, England
Edited by oneredpanther, 18 January 2022 - 09:55 AM.