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Some New Astrophotography Stuff

IsaacT

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I went out tonight with more people and a new piece of gear and got the following. I think these are better overall than the prior ones. The first is Andromeda, the second is the Triangulum Galaxy, and then the rest are of an abandoned chapel we happened upon that had a great angle for the Milky Way. The last picture is what the sky looks like when you look up in a truly dark site.















NEW PICTURE! This new one is of Andromeda and is my first time attempting to capture it! It was a phenomenal experience to be able to see something like this coming off the camera! First is the finished picture, and below that is one of the 481 photos that went into it.





As of late, I have definitely not been nearly as active on the forum. I have been heavy into photography and am in my second year of learning Russian, so I find myself with little spare time or money haha.

Here is some stuff I did on Sunday night though. I know some of you like Astronomy and Photography so I figured I would get some opinions.

All photos were taken with my Pentax K5II DSLR and either a 70-200mm f/2.8 Tamron Lens or a 16mm f/2.0 Rokinon Lens. The exposure times will be listed.

Lagoon Nebula and Trifid Nebula
Exposure: 50 Stacked Photos @ 3 seconds exposure each. ISO 4000, Aperture f/2.8, Focal Length 200mm.




Milky Way
Exposures: Between 20-30 seconds each, ISO 3200, Aperture f/2, Focal Length 16mm.







Thanks for looking guys. Anyone who can give me advice on this stuff I would love to hear it. I have been sort of teaching myself with trial, error, and youtube lol. Would love to buy a tracking mount, but it isn't in the budget.

Cheers,
Isaac
 
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Gadget

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Wow....just WOW! Freakin awesome Isaac!

I love the last one...long exposures to get the Milky Way, then the flash frame for the foreground. Epic, man!
<nitpick>
The foreground is a little too bright .
</nitpick>

Keep 'em comin', whether you think they're good or not!

-G
 
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Great shots of the Milky Way. Hey you didn't get any shots of the lyrid meteor shower did you? That would be hard to capture but with a long enough exposure you would get some streaks right?
 
D

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Nice Not sure if you have the equipment but you should try the sombrero galaxy (M104 or NGC 4594) that's an easy one to find and its it the sky now :). its about the apparent size of Saturn.
 

Sigurthr

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Beautiful results! Does your camera have a built in dark-frame-subtraction or are you having to work from super noisy SOOC images? Have you tried any thin AoV stuff or is 200mm your longest FL?
 

IsaacT

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Wow....just WOW! Freakin awesome Isaac!

I love the last one...long exposures to get the Milky Way, then the flash frame for the foreground. Epic, man!
<nitpick>
The foreground is a little too bright .
</nitpick>

Keep 'em comin', whether you think they're good or not!

-G
Upon review, your nitpick is correct. I have gone back through the pictures and re-edited it. The difficulty was with my means of brightening it. I was using a Crelant flashlight to scan the area in the photo for a short duration during my 25 second exposure. Here is the new one:


Great shots of the Milky Way. Hey you didn't get any shots of the lyrid meteor shower did you? That would be hard to capture but with a long enough exposure you would get some streaks right?
Unfortunately, weather during the peak of the Lyrids down here was horrendous. While I was out taking these shots I did see a few Lyrids but it wasn't at the peak yet and I didn't get any in the photographs.

Man those are incredible! I was hoping to see more pics from you :)
If you are feeling up to it, you couldmake your own tracking mount:
Make a Scotch Mount: From Star Ware 1st edition
Building a barn door mount, part 1: arduino stepper motor control | f/138
I am glad you like them! Yeah I actually have a lot of the parts in my car(for the past 6 months) but I haven't gotten around to it because they don't help much when you are super zoomed in.

I have to say great images i'm seriously jealous :)
Thanks man, this is the first time I have been 90% satisfied in my Astro images.

Thanks! :)

Nice Not sure if you have the equipment but you should try the sombrero galaxy (M104 or NGC 4594) that's an easy one to find and its it the sky now :). its about the apparent size of Saturn.
I will try for that one! I am kind of bad at finding some of these objects. The reason I knew where to find the Lagoon Nebula is because I have seen it in my Milky Way photographs before. But I suck at constellations. I will try the Sombrero Galaxy and the Swan galaxy next time I go out. Just gotta learn how to use the star chart I have.

Beautiful results! Does your camera have a built in dark-frame-subtraction or are you having to work from super noisy SOOC images? Have you tried any thin AoV stuff or is 200mm your longest FL?
My caameraa may have some built in Dark Frame Subtraction, but I prefer to just take my Dark Frames and subtract them later. For my Lagoon/Trifid Nebula images, I took about 50 Lights, 22 Darks, and 22 Bias frames to work with. Some of the Light Frames ended up not being completely workable due to clouds, so I picked out the best and used 22 of them. So 22/22/22 on those images. Since you have shown interest in the shots I used before stacking I have below an unedited 3 second exposure and the same picture with exposure turned up.





So by stacking I get rid of a lot of problems! The color noise and the regular noise. Below, I have the original stacked image directly out of Dark Sky Stacker:



For simplicity, here is the final version again for reference.



I needed to coax out the nebulosity without blowing out the picture and since the bottom part of the image is part of the milky way, it really gets very distracting so I used the polygonal lasso tool to isolate the nebula and the area around it and only edit that. I then inversed the selection to only work on the rest of the picture. Once everything was blended well and it looked satisfactory, I brought it from photoshop into lightroom and played with adjustment brushes to increase clarity slightly and make the dust lanes in the nebula more obvious.

This is the first time I have had a good looking image of a Nebula as my previous lens was way too soft, had too much chromatic aberrations, and had a really slow aperture(f/6).

Regarding longer focal lengths, I have a 300mm but it is trash :p

Cheers,
Isaac
 
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Sigurthr

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Interesting! I love seeing the contrast between the unstacked and stacked shots. I brought up the in-camera dark frame subtraction because it works on the basis that whatever hot pixels were there at time of shoot, it automatically negates. Taking a dark frame later works too, but you'll likely have different pixels being noisy than at time of shot. It is a bit of a pain when using really long exposures, because you're sitting there waiting on the dark frame before you can start your next shot, but I've found it to be an irreplaceable tool for my UV photography, where incoming light level is indeed quite low.

It's amazing the difference a lens can make, isn't it! Unfortunately they're expensive as hell. I've been wanting a nice 12-150mm since I got my camera, but it's way too pricy. I found an old film f4-22 80-200mm for sale for $10, and took the plunge. It'l probably be crap, but for $20 total with the adapter for my camera, it was worth the gamble. At least I'll be able to narrow my AoV a bit, haha. Currently my max FL is 42mm =S . A nice really fast lens is on my must have list, but it, like the good 12-150mm, is going to have to wait a long time. Wouldn't it be nice if there was a f/1.2 10-300mm lens under $1k? Hey, I can dream.
 

IsaacT

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As long as we are dreaming lets make sure that it doesn't compromise at all and is perfectly sharp across the frame with no coma in the corners and lets make it go from 5mm to 1000mm. Haha!

And yeah, I know. My original 75-300mm Tamron lens was 50 bucks on craigslist and I wonder if I might have overpaid haha. The difference glass can make indeed. Although my fast 200mm lens I took these with ran me about 800 dollars(now yall know where atleast a couple of my laser sales went).

what kind of camera do you have?

EDIT: In regards to Dark Frames, I know it would be helpful to do dark frames in between each light frame, but it makes it difficult to stay on the Nebula due to Earth turning. So I take the Darks immediately after the last Light Frame is done and then the Bias frames after that.
 
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Sigurthr

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what kind of camera do you have?
Olympus E-PM1 professionally modified to have the ICF Hot Mirror replaced with a high transmission optical glass sheet of identical index of refraction. 300-1500nm total sensor range (moderate fall off below 340nm and above 1400nm because of the lens, but plenty still gets through).
 

Gadget

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Wow....PERFECT! You nailed it!
Hope you don't mind but I saved that to go into my desktop wallpaper rotation. :D

Thanks for the awesome shots!

-G




Upon review, your nitpick is correct. I have gone back through the pictures and re-edited it. The difficulty was with my means of brightening it. I was using a Crelant flashlight to scan the area in the photo for a short duration during my 25 second exposure. Here is the new one:

 

IsaacT

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Some new pictures: One is a combination of my Nebula picture and the Milky way. I wanted the Nebula to stand out more in the picture so I just did some photoshopping to insert the Nebula picture seemlessly into the Milky Way. The other is a picture of me taking a picture of the milky way. My camera is on the tripod in front of me.



 
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Sigurthr

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Haha, nice composite image work. One day I'll have to bite the bullet and get lightroom and/or Photoshop. >.>
 

IsaacT

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Haha, nice composite image work. One day I'll have to bite the bullet and get lightroom and/or Photoshop. >.>
You can get them both for like 10 dollars a month using their CC package for photographers. No way in the world I can afford the full programs separate from a subscription service.
 




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