1st time trying Astrophotography

Discussion in 'Nature' started by Kendall, Mar 20, 2016.

  1. Kendall

    Kendall TalkEmount Regular

    Feb 29, 2016
    Well after reading up on Astrophotography I thought I would give it a go early this morning. My widest lens at the moment is my Sony Zeiss 55mm 1.8 which isn't even close to the right lens for this type of photography but it's what I have. I used a guide from Lonely Speck about how to stitch multiple photos together to make a longer lens work. I will say that I'm ok with my results considering it was my firs time out but I really had a time trying to focus. I just set the lens at infinity but I feel like the stars are very soft and should have been more defined. These are edited on my far from calibrated laptop as well. I'll happily take any tips and critiques. The second image was created from 12 exposures at 2000 iso at F2 each at 20 seconds. The first was from 7 exposures at 2000 iso at F2 at 10 seconds. These are shot from Point Udall in St. Croix, USVI. The eastern most point of the US.

    DSC04015-Pano-2.jpg DSC04002-Pano.jpg
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  2. bdbits

    bdbits TalkEmount All-Pro

    Sep 10, 2015
    I am actually surprised you can stitch starscapes (if that's a word) like that. I would have thought there would be problems getting things to look right and lined up due to movement.

    That looks a lot better than a first attempt. :)
  3. chalkdust

    chalkdust TalkEmount Top Veteran

    Sep 25, 2015
    Bert Cheney
    I have never tried astrophotography so I cannot give you advice. But I can give you encouragement. I am amazed at how well these turned out. They obviously required a tremendous amount of effort and skill. I hope you continue refining your techniques and sharing your results.

    The horizon and foreground of the first one makes it my favorite of the two.
  4. Kendall

    Kendall TalkEmount Regular

    Feb 29, 2016
    The first one is my favorite as well. I was up on a ridge and it was hard with that lens to incorporate some foreground. In the distance, you can see Buck Island and St. Thomas. It was a very clear night as far as haze. Most of the time St. Thomas isn't visible from our island. A wide angle lens is at the top of my wants list. The hardest part of astrophotography for me is getting motivated to go out at 3 am. My window to shoot was only about 45 minutes between the moon dropping behind the horizon and the sun coming up. Thanks for the encouragement!
  5. WestOkid

    WestOkid TalkEmount All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Jan 25, 2014
    New Jersey, USA
    Kendall - Let me say. Great first attempt. I'm not sure I would have done as well. On the other hand, there seems to be quite a bit of hot pixels. Is this an A7RII? I have read many forum complaints about it not being a great astro camera for this reason.
  6. pbizarro

    pbizarro Guest

    Since you are stacking images/signal perhaps you don't need to use f2? You can try f4, your lens will be sharper. As for the focus, you need to get to the location while there is light, or magnify on a star and focus carefully manually. This is a fine effort for a first time, but the focus is indeed off from infinity, as the stars are soft.
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  7. Kendall

    Kendall TalkEmount Regular

    Feb 29, 2016
    I'll for sure use the focus magnifier next time and work off of a bright star. It's making me miss hard infinity stops like my older lenses had.
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  8. mattia

    mattia TalkEmount Regular

    Dec 13, 2013
    Focus magnification works OK, but is a bit of a pain. What worked well for me was focusing on something fairly distant with AF, and then toggling to manual focus and not touching the ring. Used the 16-35 for that and you can get much sharper stars. Good first tries though!