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11-24-2012, 05:07 AM   #196
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I have a Mac as well and it is such a great program that I got 'Parallels' for Mac just to run that one windows program on it. You could also use the 'boot camp' thing in your settings on your Mac to run Windows. DSS is really an amazing program and it's FREEEEE!

11-24-2012, 10:00 AM   #197
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Parallels on Mac

Thanks GWAR- I might resort to that. Was it easy to install/figure out?
11-25-2012, 02:37 AM   #198
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It was easy after I understood the process. I used YouTube videos to help. Doctor 'Google' knows all too, both with DSS and BootCamp for Mac. Best of luck and be sure to post any and all results, even the bad ones so we all can learn from each other's processes. I have a social group on here that I started to post photos and start new threads about astrophotography. Unfortunately I haven't been too active on here due to work but I'm getting back into it and will have more pictures to share soon. Again, best of luck and CLEAR SKIES!~
11-26-2012, 04:37 PM   #199
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The Faint, the Bad and the Ugly

With my fairly modest optical means, I am chasing faint deep-sky objects through an atmosphere full of bad smog and dust against an ugly skyglow from uncounted street lamps, railway stations, posters, illuminated shops and more.


My setup for the images below: Tamron Adaptall-2 SP 350mm f/5.6 mirror lens (Model 06B) on Pentax K-5 with
Pentax O-GPS1 and Wallimex right angle finder. Finderscope made of Tamron Adaptall-2 80-210mm f/3.8-4
(Model 103A) and Tamron Teleview Wide-field adpater.

Does this make sense? Perhaps not really, but for me, this is the kind of sky that I usually have and I find it a fun challenge to combat light pollution and noise and bring out as much of these elusive smudges of light as I can.

First an unprocessed JPEG straight out of the camera to show the kind of sky I have to deal with.


Pleiades: 15s exposure at ISO3200 and f/5.6 (fixed aperture mirror lens).

Obviously stacking including flat-frame subtraction is a must:


Stack (mosaic) of 28 images in Deep Sky Stacker; all taken at 15s and f/5.6 but with different ISO values of 1600,
3200 and 6400.

Is there or isn't there a faint indication of the reflexion nebulae floating in-between the stars?


Crop of the above image contrast in PhotoImpact using curves and levels.

Yes, I did capture a bit of the nebulae. It's a far cry from the true beauty revealed by long exposures but this is my very own "discovery". And while we are in Taurus, let's procced to this one:


Stack(mosaic) of 10 images taken at 15s, f/5.6 and ISO 3200 of star Zeara Tauri and surroundings, showing
the supernova remnant, Messier 1, the Crab Nebula on top near the middle of image.

A crop of this image shows M1 better:



And the relatively large surface brightness of M1 allows for some more agressive contrast enhancement - and noise reduction! - in PhtoImpact:


100% crop of the original stack, 700 pixels wide, shows the elongated shape of M1, which is 11 light years long
and seen at a distance of some 6,000 light years.

(Click on Images 2 - 6 to see larger versions - 1280 pixels wide)

So, is it worth the effort? For me, it is. I gives me a kind of thrill of discovery even though these images are not exactly text book worthy. But I do sometimes wish one could buy a darker sky as easily as one can buy yet anothe piece of gear......


Last edited by Stone G.; 11-26-2012 at 04:43 PM.
11-26-2012, 06:09 PM   #200
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QuoteOriginally posted by Stone G. Quote
With my fairly modest optical means, I am chasing faint deep-sky objects through an atmosphere full of bad smog and dust against an ugly skyglow from uncounted street lamps, railway stations, posters, illuminated shops and more.


My setup for the images below: Tamron Adaptall-2 SP 350mm f/5.6 mirror lens (Model 06B) on Pentax K-5 with
Pentax O-GPS1 and Wallimex right angle finder. Finderscope made of Tamron Adaptall-2 80-210mm f/3.8-4
(Model 103A) and Tamron Teleview Wide-field adpater.

Does this make sense? Perhaps not really, but for me, this is the kind of sky that I usually have and I find it a fun challenge to combat light pollution and noise and bring out as much of these elusive smudges of light as I can.

First an unprocessed JPEG straight out of the camera to show the kind of sky I have to deal with.


Pleiades: 15s exposure at ISO3200 and f/5.6 (fixed aperture mirror lens).

Obviously stacking including flat-frame subtraction is a must:


Stack (mosaic) of 28 images in Deep Sky Stacker; all taken at 15s and f/5.6 but with different ISO values of 1600,
3200 and 6400.

Is there or isn't there a faint indication of the reflexion nebulae floating in-between the stars?


Crop of the above image contrast in PhotoImpact using curves and levels.

Yes, I did capture a bit of the nebulae. It's a far cry from the true beauty revealed by long exposures but this is my very own "discovery". And while we are in Taurus, let's procced to this one:


Stack(mosaic) of 10 images taken at 15s, f/5.6 and ISO 3200 of star Zeara Tauri and surroundings, showing
the supernova remnant, Messier 1, the Crab Nebula on top near the middle of image.

A crop of this image shows M1 better:



And the relatively large surface brightness of M1 allows for some more agressive contrast enhancement - and noise reduction! - in PhtoImpact:


100% crop of the original stack, 700 pixels wide, shows the elongated shape of M1, which is 11 light years long
and seen at a distance of some 6,000 light years.

(Click on Images 2 - 6 to see larger versions - 1280 pixels wide)

So, is it worth the effort? For me, it is. I gives me a kind of thrill of discovery even though these images are not exactly text book worthy. But I do sometimes wish one could buy a darker sky as easily as one can buy yet anothe piece of gear......
Sounds like you need to go on a road-trip / train-trip. You are so close to Dark Skies, Aurora. Just look north to Norway or Sweden or even Finland.
11-28-2012, 01:28 AM   #201
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ex Finn. Quote
Sounds like you need to go on a road-trip / train-trip. You are so close to Dark Skies, Aurora. Just look north to Norway or Sweden or even Finland.
True, and the O-GPS1/Astrotracer is a very fine and handy travel companion.

But we have to disregard summer (vacation) time where Nordic nights are sooooo awfully bright. So, if only I could buy myself some time.............
12-06-2012, 02:33 AM   #202
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Rude neighbours running furnace at 1am geez. It's only -15C (5F), making Orion harder to view SOME PEOPLE!

lol
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12-06-2012, 11:45 AM   #203
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Anyhow from that viewing location I posted directly above, 1 single 4-5 minute exposure with a ha filter. I took a few to stack, I wanted to do longer exposures and more but A the viewing was not great and B clouds started rolling in :S



12-07-2012, 07:53 AM   #204
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I had to go to Winnipeg Manitoba for work for a couple weeks, and the drive out to total darkness takes 40 minutes, compared to much much more where I actually live just outside of Toronto.

I ended up taking a bunch of test shots at ISOs from 1000 up to 51200 at exposures under 30 seconds to keep star trails to a minimum. Lenses used was a 35mm 2.3 (although it's quite soft wide open) and a SMC-M 50mm 1.7.

Here's a couple pictures where I used the star skies to add a bit of emphasis. The moon was also taken previously in the summer with a 70-210 Tamron zoom I got for free. It cleaned up pretty well. I'm hoping to get out more this winter to take some over snowscapes.








12-07-2012, 08:41 AM   #205
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@GnipGnop, nice moon shot. Was that a stack of at least 3 images: foreground, moon, stars to get everything properly exposed? What other processing was done?
12-07-2012, 10:54 AM   #206
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Nicely done, although in my opinion they always turn out totally unrealistic.
The moon for instance is way to large for that view and there is no way one can see the stars behind a full moon.
12-08-2012, 10:30 AM   #207
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Since I got my K5, the sky has been filled with clouds. This morning was the first time that I had a chance to test out the O-GPS1 unit. The seeing wasn't good, but I am fairly impressed by how well the O-GPS1 unit performs!
Two pics from this morning...

Shot in raw and developed in Lightroom and some curves adjustments in PS CS4.

Pentax K5, O-GPS1, 50mm f1.7 @f2.8, ISO 800, 2 minute exposure:




Pentax K5, O-GPS1, 18-135mm @ f3.5 &18mm, ISO 800, 2 minute exposure:
12-08-2012, 10:44 AM   #208
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You guys are just plain fantastic. Here are my very first two attempts of night skies. I'll try another one soon with more interesting foreground.





12-08-2012, 07:39 PM   #209
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Supposed to be clear skies tonight, as well as -24 C (-11F)...BBBRRRRRRR
12-08-2012, 10:28 PM   #210
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My first stacked shot consisting of a simple stack of nine 8-12s pics for a total exposure of 1min 9s stacked in DeepSkyStacker. Taken with K-5 at ISO640 and Sigma 20mm F1.8 at F2.8. Sturdy tripod, ball head and cable release. Also a couple of really frozen toes...

Me and my brother wanted to try out some real astrophotography and drove of into to clear but very cold night to find some place without light-pollution. Sadly it was impossible to find a space as all the good spots we could think of either were unplowed, making it impossible to park the car, or covered in fog due to the ground being too much hotter than the air. We gave up our search and headed back home and walk up on the tiny hill (to evade the fog) close to the house.

As a first real attempt and considering all the lights and cars that lit up the sky I think it looks decent, what do you think? Feedback is appreciated! Any interesting stars that you can point out?

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