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Just because!
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Discussion Starter #1
I am going to guess there aren't too many people that are into astrophotography. I now understand why! It's freakin hard to get a good sharp shot.:D

I took this tonight, Oct 15, at around 10:15 pm from my deck.

Specs:

Camera: Nikon D100
Shutter Speed: 1/200
Aperture: f13
Lens Focal Length: 400mm (though on my Nikon D100, it's equivalent to about 600mm)
Tripod mounted :D

I am also attaching the original shot to compare to the cropped version.



Anyone got any tips for being sucessful in Astrophotography? (Yes, I know I can do a search and find lots, but it's cooler if someone here on the Org can share their personal experience!)
 

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crank it up, suckers!
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I haven't been too successful at it, but I've got the equipment.

I guess you're not using a telescope as a lens. With 600 mm equivalency, that's not hugely necessary. You can get some pretty neat shots by setting up on a tripod and doing a long exposure, like 20 or 30 minutes, but that's not for a clear shot. The best way to get a moon shot is to have a platform that follows the combination of the earth's rotation and the moon's orbit. My suggestion would be to add to my first suggestion. Get a telescope with a GOTO feature. Just let technology do the work for you!

Speaking of technology, I think PhotoShop has an option to stack digital images, which is what a lot of people do for astrophotography. It lets you take much faster shots and put them together to mimic a longer exposure. With the use of filters you can even get some really wonderful color from deep-space objects, like nebulae. If you get any of these, please post them!

As for websites, I'd suggest checking out some telescope manufacturer websites. Try Meade and Celestron. I don't know for sure that they have photography tips, but they have some great examples to lust after.

Enjoy, and thanks for posting your first attempt!
 

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What I find to be most critical is pollution, specifically light pollution. You need to be in an area away from all city lights. The summer home we have in South Carolina is in the North Western most part of the state and has some wonderfull areas that are well shielded from the city lights more than 40 miles away. On an overcast night with no moon it can be frighteningly dark outside.. but it makes for pretty good star gazing when the clouds are missing. :)

I hope to one day make it out west and do some star gazing from the desert... I hear its absolutly incredible. :eek:

I will never be able to get a shot this clear in the Cleveland area no matter what kind of equipment I am using. There is just way too much light and too much air pollution obstructing the view... sigh :(
 

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crank it up, suckers!
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Good point, Tom. I can get far enough away from the city for my telescope to do me some good, I've even found a nice spot on the edge of town where I can see the Milky Way naked eye.

When on Jacob's Interstate Roadshow, I brought my scope along to take advantage of some of those out-of-the-way places I was going to, mostly national parks. I was disappointed to see that Yellowstone was not as good a viewing location as 15 miles from my house here. Too many lights for the campgrounds. Darn tourists.

I hear that Grand Canyon is a nice location for clear skies, but I was trying from a lightly wooded area. It wasn't clear enough immediately overhead to see farther overhead. But it was still nice.

Desert is indeed a wonderful place for atmospheric clarity. I got to go to Israel in '94, and we camped out in the desert on the 4th of July. The skies were amazing. I could clearly see satellites crossing my view, and the air force's overnight maneuvers were amazing. An SLR would have come in handy out there.
 

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Just because!
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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
The middle of the Pacific ocean is a great place to look at stars too!


I was just trying to see what I could do with the equipment I currently have at my disposal. It wasn't thought out, I just saw the moon and decided to see if I could get a half way clear shot of it.

Of course pollution, both air and light, will play a role in getting a decent shot.

How does using a longer exposure help? I got just a bright ball when I used longer shutter speeds like 1 sec and longer. :confused: I was using the slowest ISO I have, which is ISO 200, so I couldn't get any slower. I could use f32 for longer exposures I guess.


Someday when I get out of school and start making money, [Dream On] I just might invest in a small 12" telescope with an attachment for a camera. [/Dream Off] Then the fun would begin. ;)
 

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crank it up, suckers!
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I was thinking longer exposures for more of the deep sky stuff. Yeah, you don't need much light entering the camera for a shot of a full (or mostly full) moon. That's a really bright orb.
 

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Just because!
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Discussion Starter #10
Beetlemania said:
I was thinking longer exposures for more of the deep sky stuff. Yeah, you don't need much light entering the camera for a shot of a full (or mostly full) moon. That's a really bright orb.

That is kinda what I was thinking about the moon. :p


As for the deep sky stuff, that will be done at a much later date. :cool:
 

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Crank that f stop way up and go for super long exposures. If you have a lens multiplier.Ya know, like that 2X thing you heard wasn't great because it was only good for loooong exsposures well... that would help too. :)


hehehe is it wrong that I'm actually excited that I am able to help you for a change with photography? I feel like I can actually pay ya back :hugkiss:
 

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Just because!
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Discussion Starter #12
Fowvay said:
Crank that f stop way up and go for super long exposures. If you have a lens multiplier.Ya know, like that 2X thing you heard wasn't great because it was only good for loooong exsposures well... that would help too. :)


hehehe is it wrong that I'm actually excited that I am able to help you for a change with photography? I feel like I can actually pay ya back :hugkiss:

It's much appreciated Tom! I can't tell you how much I have learned about the Engine and it's workings by reading your posts! I am DUMB when it comes to engines. :eek:


I think a doubler would be fun to play with, but Nikon doesn't make one that will fit the lenses that I use most. Even if they did, the cheapest one (new at least) runs about $250. I guess I could use it with my 50mm, but what is the fun in that? !! hehe


I appreciate all the tips and advice! Hopefully there are others that learn something too! :)
 
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