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First Attempt at Astrophotography! Critique me :P

IsaacT

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Hey guys,

So after buying my new camera I had an itch to try my hand at astrophotography. So I got on dark sky finder and found a place 1hr and 45min from me that had next to no light pollution. So on my way I called up a buddy of mine who also does photography and he was just as ready as me.

Took us forever but we finally got out there. In Austin, I could not see a single star. In Llano, TX I saw more stars than I have ever before seen in my life. I COULD ACTUALLY SEE THE MILKY WAY! I was blown away.

The next hour and a half I spent taking as many photos as I could. I was very impressed by what I was able to capture with just my camera and a 50mm f/1.7 lens. And the low light performance of my K-5 II is awesome!

Anyway, I digress....or degrasse....but yeah. Pics anyone? Note: there are no zoomy shots. I just wanted to get some scenic shots. My telephoto is not capable of getting much decent.

MY FIRST PHOTO I TOOK OUT THERE!!! :D (and my first astrophoto ever)



AND LET THE REST FALL IN LINE!













AND SOME ALTERNATE WHITE BALANCES :p





AND FINALLY! LET ME TAKE A SELFIE :)



--------------------------------------------

This was some of the most fun I have had in a long time. And seeing the milky way with my own eyes was insane. I don't even have words. Let me know what you guys think :)

PS - Most of these shots were taken with ISO-1600 to ISO-3200 and shutter speeds of 10-25 seconds. I tried to stick to the rule of 500/f though so most of them were closer to 10s. The aperture was f/1.7 of course :)

Thanks for looking!
-Isaac
 

busman2

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Isaac, you are a Black Hole and you are going to collapse in on yourself!!!!

Seriously you did well on your first attemptl Just remember to keep this type of shot under 30 sec which looks like you have done and now to save for some type of guidance system or guided scope! Well done. Cannot give you any more rep yet!
 
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Other than the blurriness, great job! Wish I could get my camera focused on stars.
 

IsaacT

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Yeah I was shooting at f/1.7 so that last shot was doomed to have a blurry something. Thought about taking two and processing but that sounded hard lol.

And thanks guys for the kind words! :)
 

crazyspaz

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Holy crap those are beautiful. I wish I lived somewhere more open to where I could just see that, not to mention photograph it. Really makes you feel small, eh? Just incredible...hope to see more from you for sure :)
 

IsaacT

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Thanks man! Yeah, Indiana is smack dab in the middle of all the light in the middle of America haha. If you ever drive out to a dark area trust me it is worth it. I spent my week's food budget to drive out there last night. #ramenlyfe #noregrets
 
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The large pink nebula in the center is the lagoon nebula and the small one above and to the right is the Trifid

Edit also the cluster of stars just a smig above the Trifid is Messier 21
 
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BowtieGuy

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Lookin good Isaac, just don't show that last one to the kids at bedtime, they'll have nightmares forever! :)
 

IsaacT

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Lazerman thanks for ID'ing those for me! It is cool knowing what is in the picture :)
 

IsaacT

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If you have any tips on what I should try next time let me know. Also, I am planning to buy a Sigma 10-20mm f/4-5.6 lens soon. Hoping that will help me get more of the sky. If I can manage that then I plan to make a time lapse of these types of shots over the course of a night.
 
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Lazerman thanks for ID'ing those for me! It is cool knowing what is in the picture :)
Hope you don't mind I did you one better Using the 3 known objects in the image I overlayed your image in Google sky and aligned them to match. then turned on labels.
I then went into Photoshop and labeled the image.

 

Sigurthr

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Those are some beautiful photos! Are they false color or true color btw?

Can you describe your photography setup and the total cost involved? I want to know just what order of magnitude of nevergonnahappen it would be for me to do similar, lmao.
 

IsaacT

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With the exception of the pics I quoted as being changed or altered white balances, they are the true colors as sensed by my camera.

My setup:
Pentax K-5 II - msrp 1100 dollars, went on sale last week for 599! Brand new from Precision Camera.
Pentax-M 50mm f/1.7 - got for 20 bucks off a rich guy on Craigslist. Excellent optical qualities.
Platinum Plus 5858D Tripod - 30 bucks with my discount at Best Buy
Pentax Wireless Remote - 30 bucks at Precision Camera
Sandisk 32GB 80mB/s SDHC - 35 bucks on sale
----
Total: 715. Taxes paid 85. Grand total: 800 dollars!

All in all the price is MUCH lower than I ever would have thought. Mostly due to the insane sale on the K5II. It is a fantastic camera, too. On par with the D7100 from Nikon or the Canon 70D. DxOmark shows better results on the K5II than on Canon 7D or Nikon D300, both of which are full frame.

I kept ISO as low as I could, although a couple of the pics in OP were taken at 12800 ISO. Most taken between ISO 1600 & 3200 at shutter speeds of 10-20seconds. Aperture wide open at f/1.7.
 

Sigurthr

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Man, those really are fantastic photos for real color. It's too bad our eyes can't perceive color from the night sky.

$800 isn't a bad investment at all into photography for that level of results. I think I've spent about $600-700 on the quadcopter hobby now.
 

IsaacT

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I want to see if there is any business out there that makes polarizing filter contacts for our eyes. Or light pollution filters. If you can put them on cameras, why not contacts? Alternatively, glasses that filter it out.

Would be very cool. EDIT: very cool to put glasses on and see what the camera sees. Google glass could do something maybe. Or just really good optics?

And thanks for the kind words :) I had NO IDEA what I might be able to get out there. But when that first photo turned out like those in the OP I lost my shit for a minute. I think I jumped up and down for a minute haha. Also, since I will be using this camera for other things as well(I bought it for just life and lasers) the cost is well worth it. None of my setup is specifically for astrophotography.

And the new wallpapers for my computer are so worth the cost of gas to and from the dark site :p
 
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