Sunday, November 24, 2013

Piggy Back Photography

As MJ continues to produce high quality wide field shots I thought I needed to get in on the act.  These are my first forays into this area and I am reasonably pleased with the first time results.  However, there are two things which I am especially pleased; a) I managed to capture Andromeda, my first time in 3 years of trying and b) the possibilities of Lightroom 3 editing suite.

As usual I popped out screwed the camera onto the fixing pin on the top of the telescopes support.  And that was it.  All the rules which MJ has spelt out in an earlier blog went out the window.  All I was interested in was ISO and exposure time (Don't get me started on the dark frames!).  The camera was even on auto focus, a definite no-no in all astrophotography.  Anyways to show you what I got and how Lightroom improved, purely by raising the noise reduction slider and the colour adjustment sliders both to enhance the noise reductions and get rid of the terrible light pollution.  These are still work in progress but given the starting image I was quite chuffed.  Any help would be greatly appreciated.

For me the best thing about these pictures is that I can actually see constellations that I don't normally notice.  This is because the "lighter" stars have been bleached out so only the dominant ones remain.

 This is the original shot from out of the camera; f/8 40 seconds exposure 1600 ISO.  Below is the Lightroom version.  Cygnus and the Northern Cross is visible dominating the majority of the left hand side of the picture and Lyra at the bottom, with Vega at the bottom centre.




The Plough, at a strange angle due to slip of the camera.

Finally, Andromeda in the centre of the of the picture below.  As the galaxy was pointing straight up it was difficult to orientate.  As such I think I've found Cassiopeia on the left hand side of the picture and the Constellation of Andromeda showing just below the galaxy.

I'm in no way stating these are great pictures but both Andromeda and the Plough were both taken at 6o second exposures 1600 ISO (I can go a lot higher but wanted to capture as much natural black a I could) and on auto focus.  Next time I'll try and do them better but until Sheffield gets rid of all it's sodium filled streetlights they'll always show a lot of noise.

Al.

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