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The astrophotography season just started

Discussion in 'Nature' started by Poki, Mar 4, 2013.

  1. Poki

    Poki TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Aug 30, 2011
    Austria
    So, tonight was the first really clear night for months now - and I couldn't resist to go out and shoot. I only was able to develop one picture until now (it's 3:30 am where I live ...), but I've got a feeling this is gonna be a great summer season for us night lovers. :)

    8529145729_57291dc171_c.
    The power of stars by Poki5, on Flickr
     
  2. Nubster

    Nubster TalkEmount Veteran

    465
    Jan 5, 2013
    West Virginia, USA
    Chad
    Cool shot. Are there any good tutorials on this type of photography? It seems really interesting but I don't know anything about it.
     
  3. PhotoRob

    PhotoRob TalkEmount Regular

    31
    Feb 24, 2013
    Robert
    Nice one Poki...
     
  4. Bimjo

    Bimjo Super Moderator

    Oct 28, 2011
    Washington State
    Jim
    Very nice shot!
     
  5. Poki

    Poki TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Aug 30, 2011
    Austria
    Good tutorials? I didn't find one when I started with this type of photography last year. But the old try & fail principle works brilliant once you know the absolute basics, which are:

    The rule of 500. NEVER use a shutter speed higher than 500/ff equivalent focal length. Otherwise you'll get blurred stars or even short star trails.

    Use a fast wide-angle lens. In order to get acceptable ISO values, you need to get either a ultra wide angle (which allows you pretty long shutter speeds according to the rule of 500) or a fast wide to wide-normal lens. The sensor heat noise usually is corrected okay-ish with dark frame noise reduction in-camera, but there's still some noise left that will add up to your high ISO noise (I usually shoot either ISO 800 or 1600 in such situations), so you have to try everything to get ISO values as low as possible.

    Learn to focus and frame without light. Especially with focus by wire lenses, it's hard to focus at night. After all, there's no hard stop at the infinity position. So, how to focus then? Just point your camera to the north star (or the south cross, depending on where you are), magnify the preview and turn the focus ring until the star is as small as it gets, check your focus with a photo and you should be okay. As for framing - know your lens. You won't see anything on your camera monitor, so you have to guess what's in the frame and what's not, so if you already shot some dozen thousand shots with the lens of your choice, you need far less tries to get the perfect framing.

    Everything else is just creativity and the courage to go out for hours, alone in cold nights. And of course the post processing part - you'll have to try some things to find your perfect style, because without post processing, you won't get good pictures in the end - especially with this type of photography.

    * A tripod and a remote are necessary, of course.
     
  6. NickCyprus

    NickCyprus Super Moderator

    Oct 11, 2012
    Cyprus
    Nick
    +1 ;)
     
  7. davect01

    davect01 Super Moderator

    Aug 20, 2011
    Fountain Hills, AZ
    Dave
    Nice work. The foreground adds a nice interest to the photo.
     
  8. xXx1

    xXx1 TalkEmount All-Pro

    Jan 15, 2013
    It is possible to use a stepper motor to rotate the camera at the same speed as the sky moves. I think that this is the simplest idea:
    Mike's AstroTracker Mark 1
     
  9. Poki

    Poki TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Aug 30, 2011
    Austria
    While this works for the stars, it obviously doesn't for the foreground. And for me, no landscape is worthwhile without a foreground that complements the background in one way or the other.
     
  10. Poki

    Poki TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Aug 30, 2011
    Austria
  11. Chuck Lawson

    Chuck Lawson TalkEmount Regular

    140
    Nov 23, 2012
    Dallas area
    Wow! That's just stunning.
     
  12. Nubster

    Nubster TalkEmount Veteran

    465
    Jan 5, 2013
    West Virginia, USA
    Chad
    +1
     
  13. WoodWorks

    WoodWorks Super Moderator

    Dec 12, 2012
    Ashland, OR, USA
    David
    Maybe I'm being dense here. But can you clarify that rule? What does "500/ff equivalent focal length" mean? And I would assume that a faster shutter speed would help to prevent star trails. What am I misunderstanding here? :confused:
     
  14. Poki

    Poki TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Aug 30, 2011
    Austria
    First, with "higher" I mean "slower". ;)

    And yeah, it works out like this: You shoot with a 16mm lens on a NEX body, so the slowest shutter speed you can use without getting blurred stars is 500/(16*1,5) = 20,8 seconds.
     
  15. JTM_CR

    JTM_CR TalkEmount Regular

    43
    Aug 23, 2012
    can this be done with a nex F3?
     
  16. Poki

    Poki TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Aug 30, 2011
    Austria
    Can a remote be connected to an F3? Because I don't think so and it doesn't have an infrared port.

    Still, there's a workaround: use the 2 sec self timer and manual mode and you should be fine - you don't often need shutter speeds above 30s, but it would be handy to expose the foreground properly.
     
  17. Grisu_HDH

    Grisu_HDH TalkEmount Veteran

    397
    Dec 16, 2012
    Southern Germany
    Markus
    WOW! Great pics...
    Great ppics, should try this too...
    I have a Meade ETX telescope and don't use it very often... :)
     
  18. Derichuk

    Derichuk TalkEmount Regular

    59
    Dec 5, 2012
    Calgary, Alberta, Canada
    Deric
    As to the rule f 500, I have the cz 24mm 1.8, my calculation puts my shutter speed at 20.83 seconds or faster. Is that correct?
     
  19. Bimjo

    Bimjo Super Moderator

    Oct 28, 2011
    Washington State
    Jim
    You forgot the crop factor. The formula is 500/(focal length*1.5) = seconds of exposure (max). So, plugging a 24mm lens into the formula you get: 500/(24*1.5) = 13.88 seconds.
     
  20. Derichuk

    Derichuk TalkEmount Regular

    59
    Dec 5, 2012
    Calgary, Alberta, Canada
    Deric
    Thanks, it seemed off to me. My math often fails me.