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Communal Night-Sky Photography Thread

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  • Re: Communal Night-Sky Photography Thread

    You really can't be let out on your own. But some great pictures (and a great story).
    Cameras: E-M5, E-PM2, OM40, OM4Ti
    Lenses (M.Zuiko Digital): 7-14mm/F2.8, 12-40mm/F2.8, 40-150mm/F2.8+TC1.4x, 12-50mm/F3.5-6.3, 14-42mm/F3.5-5.6 EZ, M.ZD 40-150 F4-5.6 R, 75-300mm/F4.8-6.7 Mk1, 12mm/F2, 17mm/F1.8
    Lenses (OM Zuiko): 50mm/F1.2, 24mm/F2, 35mm/F2.8 shift
    Lenses (OM Fit): Vivitar Series II 28-105mm/F2.8-3.8, Sigma 21-35mm/F3.4-4.2, Sigma 35-70mm/F2.8-4, Sigma 75-200mm/F2.8-3.5, Vivitar Series II 100-500mm/F5.6-8.0, Centon 500mm/F8 Mirror
    Learn something new every day

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    • Re: Communal Night-Sky Photography Thread

      Originally posted by birdboy View Post
      I think that's an amazing image for your first time of trying Milkyway Mark. You picked a difficult choice of background to stack MW images. Wires and frames are very challenging for the advanced processing of Milkyway images for even the experienced MK tweaker. The single image framed as you have works for me. A stacked image should really bring out a even more vivid image of the MW.

      If you get the chance again your landscape image would make an excellent background with the MW hovering in the sky.

      What I find interesting is the way the MW appears to you in the sky down under i.e horizontal across the sky. For us in the UK at this time of year it appears vertical. I took this on the 29 Sep 2019.
      John, apologies for bypassing and missing your post. The only excuse I can offer is that all this week has been hectic with lots of stuff that had to be done, not the least of which is visiting a lifelong friend in a nursing home in Melbourne. He has some aweful ailments and disabilities.

      Your "verical MW" is amazing, I would love to be able to pull off shots as clear and spectacular as that. I will cerainly keep trying. I wonder if it also appears vertical during our summer nights? but for now I don't even know which way is up!
      My Flickr

      * mark * Wangaratta, Victoria, Australia **
      The OM-D E-M1 Mark II * OM-D M5 MkII * XZ2 * XZ1 * E3
      On post-processing: The camera kneads the dough, PP bakes the bread - Greenhill

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      • Re: Communal Night-Sky Photography Thread

        Yes Mark, a nice set of astro/landscape photos, how did you take/process that ellipse?

        Happy to hear you are being looked after, don't think my two would come and help me in the middle of the night, "on yer bike" would be their reaction...
        Mark Johnson

        My Sailing Page

        My Flickr

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        • Re: Communal Night-Sky Photography Thread

          Thanks Mark. I pm'd you the method.

          I'm sure you under estimate your two's reaction if you needed help.
          My Flickr

          * mark * Wangaratta, Victoria, Australia **
          The OM-D E-M1 Mark II * OM-D M5 MkII * XZ2 * XZ1 * E3
          On post-processing: The camera kneads the dough, PP bakes the bread - Greenhill

          Comment


          • Re: Communal Night-Sky Photography Thread

            Originally posted by pandora View Post
            I wonder if it also appears vertical during our summer nights? but for now I don't even know which way is up!
            Thanks Mark. I have run Stellarium for your location and it appears that the MK appears nearly veritical round about the end of the first week in March. That's the good news the bad is that you would need to photograph it about 3am

            I really recommend that have a look at Stellarium and set its defaults up to your location and camera equipment. I know its another bit of learning but its really does help with the planning of shooting anything in the night sky.

            I do think a horizontal MK will look just as impressive with a simple landscape. Keep trying and experimenting.
            John

            OM-D E-M1, 12-40 f2.8 Pro, Tamron 14-150mm f5.8, E5, E3, Zuiko 50-200mm SWD, Zuiko 12-60mm SWD, Zuiko ED 70-300mm f5.6, 50mmf2, Zuiko ED 9-18mm f5.6, Sigma 50-500mm f6.3, EC14, EC20, RM-1, VA-1

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            • Re: Communal Night-Sky Photography Thread

              Spotted this item and thought to put it on here? Not sure if it will be of any practical use... but one can hope.

              Interstellar interloper entering a galaxy near you https://www.msn.com/en-gb/news/techa...id=mailsignout
              It's not what inspires us that is important, it's where the journey takes us.

              Wally and his Collie with our Oly bits & bobs

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              • Re: Communal Night-Sky Photography Thread

                Although I bought a Skywatch Star Adventurer tracking mount some time ago, I've only just found time and a clear enough night to try it out.

                I fixed the mount on my tripod and went out into my back garden to set the polar alignment with the built-in polar scope. I first checked that the mount was level by using the built in spirit level and made sure the tripod was firm, with no slight 'rock' anywhere.

                I have made an adapter to attach my right angle eyepiece from a DSLR camera, which makes it much easier to use the polar scope in our high latitudes. It's easy to confirm that you have found the right star by using a star-finder app. on a smartphone.(I use 'SkyView Lite')

                I used Jason Dale's 'Polar Finderscope' software on my PC to set the position of the pole star at the correct place on the circular graticule in the scope eyepiece. Adjustment is not easy and involves careful adjustment of the screws on the Star Adventurer mount, after initial coarse alignment by moving the tripod and using the altitude scale on the mount. I had done some indoor practise beforehand, which I strongly recommend.

                Once the mount had been aligned, it is important that the tripod and mount do not move in any way. Because of the design of this mount, the camera cannot be attached until after completing the polar alignment because the camera holder blocks the polar scope. I fitted my camera, on its ball-type tripod head, to the sliding camera holder from the Star Adventurer kit. After doing this, I made sure that the locking screw was completely retracted and slid the mount very carefully unto position before locking it in place. Now I turned on the star-tracking motor.

                I then adjusted the orientation of the camera on the ball head until it was pointing towards my chosen target. I use an Olympus EE-1 dot sight in the camera hot-shoe to help with lining up.

                My target was the Andromeda galaxy and I made use of the bright star Mirach to find the approximate location within the field of my 75mm f/1.8 lens. After checking focus on this star by using 10X magnification on the camera screen, I set a manual exposure time of 60 seconds and released the shutter, using a remote release.

                After completing the exposure the camera then takes a 'dark' noise-reduction exposure of the same duration.

                On examining the result on the camera screen, I found that I had managed to just miss the target off the top of the frame, so I moved the camera slightly to set a better location.

                After this, i came indoors to examine the results on my PC. I used DxO Optics Pro 11 to process the raw files and adjusted brighness contrast and micro-contrast to optimise the image. i also applied luminance noise reduction. I could now see that I must have inadvertently loosened something before the second shot because the image showed motion blur on some of the brighter stars.

                The results from the first frame (where I had missed Andromeda) confirmed that the star images were circular, with no sign of elongation, so the tracking and polar alignment both seemed to be doing their jobs well.

                Even on the second frame, Andromeda was quite close to the edge of the frame but, for a first attempt, I was really pleased to see it, together with its companion galaxies M110 And M32.

                I felt it was a sufficiently good start for me to put in more practise, which I hope will lead to steady improvement! The following image is an actual size crop around the target area.

                Mike
                visit my Natural History Photos website:
                http://www.botanicdesign.co.uk/Natur...story/home.htm

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                • Re: Communal Night-Sky Photography Thread

                  Great start. This is a lot better than my first attempts using the Star Adventurer but practice makes perfect!

                  Not sure if this is a single frame or a stack?

                  If it is a single frame then it seems there was some very slight movement while taking the shot the stars are a funny shape. Its not just polar alignment error as they would all be stretched in a straight line. What was the tripod standing on? If its a flagstone and you moved then that could be the cause.

                  A couple of recommendations;
                  1 - Make sure you are using electronic shutter even shutter shock can cause distortions
                  2 - Turn off the noise reduction and do more shots.

                  Look forward to seeing your next results.
                  Dave

                  My Flickr

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                  • Re: Communal Night-Sky Photography Thread

                    Originally posted by wornish View Post
                    some very slight movement while taking the shot the stars are a funny shape. .
                    or an earthquake...:-)
                    Mark Johnson

                    My Sailing Page

                    My Flickr

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                    • Re: Communal Night-Sky Photography Thread

                      Originally posted by MJ224 View Post
                      or an earthquake...:-)

                      Mmmm. More likely I moved on the deck!



                      Many thanks for your tips Wornish - I was hoping for some good advice if I posted, even though I knew that photo had problems. I only took a couple of shots because I wanted to to assess the results on my PC before doing more.


                      They are simply single 1 minute exposures, using a remote release and the 'anti-shock' setting. I had set the tripod up in a rather confined space on my patio and when I wanted to move the camera a little, I realised the controls were on the more inaccessible side, so I think I upset something. One lesson - make sure you know where everything is and you can reach it easily in the dark!


                      The first photo I took was better but was just a non-descript bit of sky. I was so pleased that I had managed to find my target that I wanted to post it - warts and all.
                      Mike
                      visit my Natural History Photos website:
                      http://www.botanicdesign.co.uk/Natur...story/home.htm

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                      • Re: Communal Night-Sky Photography Thread

                        Great start and glad to see you have started on this astophotography tracking journey Mike. I am puzzled by the bright funny shaped stars. I think it has more to do with processing. The smaller stars looked in good shape if it was tracking or polar alignment I would expect them all to show signs of trailing. I have no experience of DxO Optics Pro 11 but note you adjusted brightness contrast and micro-contrast, and wonder if that's where the funny shape on the brighter stars came from.

                        I use DeepSkyStacker 4.2.3 beta to do the stacking then Star Tools for the processing. How many frames did you take?

                        If you would like pm me the stacked fits file and I will see how Star Tools processes it.

                        I know the Star Adventurer well and could never get polar alignment good through the polar scope. I ended up using a small guide cam mounted on the polar axis and used Sharpcap to do the polar alignment. For the 300mm lens I also found it essential to use PHD2 to do the guiding. Your 75mm f1.8 seems very bright I would experiment with using 30 secs exposures take twice as many as the 60sec and should give a slightly better s/n ratio without loosing too much detail on M31.

                        My rig ended up like post #244 but it was right on/over the limit for this mount.
                        https://e-group.uk.net/forum/showpos...&postcount=244
                        John

                        OM-D E-M1, 12-40 f2.8 Pro, Tamron 14-150mm f5.8, E5, E3, Zuiko 50-200mm SWD, Zuiko 12-60mm SWD, Zuiko ED 70-300mm f5.6, 50mmf2, Zuiko ED 9-18mm f5.6, Sigma 50-500mm f6.3, EC14, EC20, RM-1, VA-1

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                        • Re: Communal Night-Sky Photography Thread

                          Originally posted by MikeOxon View Post
                          Mmmm. More likely I moved on the deck!



                          Many thanks for your tips Wornish - I was hoping for some good advice if I posted, even though I knew that photo had problems. I only took a couple of shots because I wanted to to assess the results on my PC before doing more.


                          They are simply single 1 minute exposures, using a remote release and the 'anti-shock' setting. I had set the tripod up in a rather confined space on my patio and when I wanted to move the camera a little, I realised the controls were on the more inaccessible side, so I think I upset something. One lesson - make sure you know where everything is and you can reach it easily in the dark!


                          The first photo I took was better but was just a non-descript bit of sky. I was so pleased that I had managed to find my target that I wanted to post it - warts and all.
                          I am more impressed with what you have achieved now That I know you took so few exposures and suspect that may be some of the reason behind the funny shapes. I took 240 x 60 sec exposures last night of M31 on my new mount with the 300mm and MC-14, and am still processing them.

                          I would investigate using Olympus Capture over a USB lead is the way to remotely control this camera I have mine over a USB extended cable 20m so I do everything indoors.

                          Finding targets on the SA is not easy. I ended up putting a indexed head on the camera mount. Taking an image, plate solving it then calculated the difference between what the plate solve told me was the position and what my target was. I then adjusted the Dec on the indexed head and the RA on the SA to get closer to my target. After a few iteration I could my target framed where I wanted.
                          John

                          OM-D E-M1, 12-40 f2.8 Pro, Tamron 14-150mm f5.8, E5, E3, Zuiko 50-200mm SWD, Zuiko 12-60mm SWD, Zuiko ED 70-300mm f5.6, 50mmf2, Zuiko ED 9-18mm f5.6, Sigma 50-500mm f6.3, EC14, EC20, RM-1, VA-1

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                          • Re: Communal Night-Sky Photography Thread

                            Originally posted by birdboy View Post
                            Great start and glad to see you have started on this astophotography tracking journey Mike.......
                            Thank you for your encouragement, birdboy. I'm looking forward to another clear sky to try out some of the suggestions.


                            I think something moved at the beginning or end of the exposure, so that it is most obvious in the brightest stars. I think my raw adjustment did exaggerate the effect and made it look worse but I was concentrating on the image of Andromeda itself.

                            Next thing is certainly to try multiple shots and, with my f/1.8 lens, I probably can use a shorter exposure and stack multiple shots. After all, 1 minute at f/1.8 is equivalent to 20 min at a more typical f/8.

                            The right angle finder helped a lot, as I could do the polar alignment from a comfortable position with no temptation to rush things.

                            My rig is very simple but if it does enough to get me 'bitten' then perhaps I shall refine it. I met Chris Lintott recently and he agreed that I had chosen a good place to start.
                            Mike
                            visit my Natural History Photos website:
                            http://www.botanicdesign.co.uk/Natur...story/home.htm

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                            • Re: Communal Night-Sky Photography Thread

                              Originally posted by MikeOxon View Post
                              Mmmm. More likely I moved on the deck!

                              .............

                              That would explain the star shapes. I have lost count of the number of times I have done that. When its dark out there every control seems to have moved

                              I agree with John about using shorter exposures but more of them your lens is capturing a lot of light. Also using Olympus Capture is the way I did it to avoid any physical contact with the setup.

                              After doing your initial targetting and alignment shots go for a run of 10 or even more.
                              Dave

                              My Flickr

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                              • Re: Communal Night-Sky Photography Thread

                                Originally posted by birdboy View Post
                                ........... Taking an image, plate solving it then calculated the difference between what the plate solve told me was the position and what my target was. I then adjusted the Dec on the indexed head and the RA on the SA to get closer to my target. After a few iteration I could my target framed where I wanted.

                                Our posts crossed. I tried a plate solver on my first 'non-descript' photo but it failed. I shall have another go and see if I can do better as it was my intention to do what you suggested.



                                The dot sight is a great help but, of course, I am dependent on it's correct alignment, which I do on a bright star. I have to master things with my 75mm lens before I can hope to achieve much at longer focal lengths!
                                Mike
                                visit my Natural History Photos website:
                                http://www.botanicdesign.co.uk/Natur...story/home.htm

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