Pentaxian Profile: Peter Maasewerd
What the eye can't see and the brain must guess....
By Pete_XL in Pentaxian Profiles on Jan 23, 2017
As I am an applied natural scientist also addicted to photography, the work with an advanced camera like my Pentax K-3 II offers an extension of the human senses to me. The camera can combine space and time in a way the human combo of two eyes and a brain cannot— just by variation of exposure time and sensitivity. Together with some fantasy, factual knowledge and processing skills, this ability gives the photographer room for the aesthetic visualization of real world issues that the human senses miss. And this is what I’m after!
My favorite images show scenes that are too far apart, too small, fast, slow, dark or too far away to be caught by the eye and/or processed by the brain. I also use the daylight but my preferred playground is the night and the absence of bright light.
The gear I normally use is a Pentax K-3 II and its predecessor the K-5, which both show excellent performance when it comes to squeezing the faintest dim data out of the sensor. I own a camera bag full of standard Pentax lenses besides some beloved analog Pentax glass from the last century, for example an SMC Pentax-A 400mm F5.6 for distant shooting to catch galaxies and faint nebulae. For some months now my DSLR lenses are accompanied by a small 480mm refractor telescope for astrophotography purposes. I also use it in daylight sometimes.
Long exposures resulting in starscapes with star trails are a magic way to present the elapsing time in a night scene. But I also search for other possibilities to visualize changes in time. Modern post processing software makes possible what I call “Time Shift”:
With a modern high performance camera like the K-3 II and open eyes I find my subjects everywhere. Lifting the huge reserves of its low noise 14-bit raw data set at the left side of the histogram brings invisible details to light.
Since the astro bug bit me in 2014 I find myself under the stars whenever it is possible. Most of my astro images are shot from my balcony post in a suburban environment. It was astonishing for me to find out that astrophotography even makes fun and sense under the light polluted skies of my hometown. In the beginning I used old analog Pentax lenses as in the following image of Comet Lovejoy and a passing airplane in January 2015.
The skies are full of fascinating events worth to stay awake at night and freeze for. One of these was the September 2015 “Blood Moon":
The Pentax flagships have the ingenious Astrotracer technology on board which is a great tool for imaging starscapes and starting into astrophotography. But beyond that there is great astro potential lying idle in the Ricoh/Pentax technology. This treasure could be unearthed by granting the Pentax cameras an interface to the established astro software solutions that frame, focus and trigger astro images from a remote device.
Adapting a K-3 II to a high quality telephoto lens or a telescope opens a window to new sensations:
Hunting, catching and processing every photon I can get is necessary to image the faintest deep space objects of the night sky. Starting in astrophotography two years ago I found that the data acquisition and processing techniques used are based upon the same principles I knew from geo-scientific data acquisition and processing. That made my start easy – the rest I could learn in an international friendly community of like-minded people.
These days I built me a little shelter box named “The Cube” for my astro equipment that is mounted on a balcony post. It gives me more time for imaging instead of rigging. I am sure it is worth it because I have found a passion where even the sky is no limit.
You can find me on the forum under Pete_XL. Some more of my pictures can be found here: