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02-22-2008, 01:24 PM   #61
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My Lunar Eclipse Photo

Here is what i got from Wednesday night. The night before, the weather was total havoc, on the verge of a blizzard. Fortunately, wednesday night was nothing like the night before. As you can see, it was a very clear night, not a cloud in the sky - but extremely cold! The temperture read -12 to -15 in my car.

This was the first time i attempted to do this, overall, i'm actually surprised it didn't turn out worse. Although i didn't have my tele-zooms with me, i had to settle with using either my Tamron 28-75 or my DA 12-24.

Thanks to all the people in this forum for giving me great tips, i really felt that it prepared me on how to approach this.

I'm going to keep practicing on the next full moon that is due to approach in the Toronto area. (March 21st).

ABOUT: initially i waited in five minute intervals for the shot, then i got tired of getting in and out of my car every five minutes, so i waited about every 10 minutes.


Last edited by Tingchaleun; 06-07-2008 at 04:31 PM.
02-22-2008, 06:51 PM   #62
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Tingchaleun,

Great photo sequence! I'm a techy and take take challenging but not thoughtful photos. Your scene is beautiful.

Was that was multiple shots that were stacked in software or did you have a way of getting multiple exposures of one frame?

If you were going to do this often then there are timers that will sequence the shutter for you. I was in the warm house for my photos!

Most amateur astronomers find the Full Moon a bit dull, the craters of the Moon become apparent when the Sun casts shadows on the Moons surface.

How did the 8 points appear? With a camera lens I can't think of what caused the spikes.

Last edited by LeoTaylor; 02-22-2008 at 06:54 PM. Reason: Added Question
02-22-2008, 07:07 PM   #63
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Whew, I finally finished a video of the Lunar Eclipse. There were numerous steps, each creating another set of 107 files. I used up 20 GB of disk space: PEFs=10 MB each, FITs=20 MB each, TIFs=35MB each JPGs=.08 MB, GIF=22 MB. I cropped the frames to 800*800 and the 3+ hours of images are evenly spaced. This means totality is 25% of the video. I did my best to keep the brightness constant in spite of clouds and exposure changes EXCEPT the totality when exposures were 1/4 second.

The 22MB GIF is a bit slow for the bandwidth challenged, but once in cache the video will run at normal speed. I hope it is worth your wait.

Eclipse of the Moon Video
02-22-2008, 09:03 PM   #64
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Hi Leo,

That was very cool!!! I had noticed in my own photos that the shadow didn't seem to "come and go" from the exact same angle.... I didn't know if that was normal, or if I had rotated my camera (or something) during the event. Your shots confirm what I both saw and captured. I can't imagine any way other than your video to have validated what I saw to be correct. Thanks very much for posting it!!!
Unfortunately, I had clouds up until moments before totality. My shots run from then until the moon became full again.

It's going to take me several days to go through and process mine. I'm working towards building a composite for printing, and expect it'll take a few more days of work before I get there.

You took great stills and already made an even cooler stop motion!

-Chris

02-23-2008, 01:37 AM   #65
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QuoteOriginally posted by LeoTaylor Quote
Tingchaleun,

Great photo sequence! I'm a techy and take take challenging but not thoughtful photos. Your scene is beautiful.

Was that was multiple shots that were stacked in software or did you have a way of getting multiple exposures of one frame?

If you were going to do this often then there are timers that will sequence the shutter for you. I was in the warm house for my photos!

Most amateur astronomers find the Full Moon a bit dull, the craters of the Moon become apparent when the Sun casts shadows on the Moons surface.

How did the 8 points appear? With a camera lens I can't think of what caused the spikes.
I had to stack layers of multiple, different photos in PS2. The spikes around the moon also interested me. I dont know why there were eight, or what it was arranged that way. I used my Pentax DA 12-24 f/4. Also, perhaps something of interest, my fully charged 2500mAh AA batteries offered only about 10-15 shots, in negative 12 degrees celsius weather. When i brought the camera back home to let the batteries warm up, they registered as full capacity.
02-23-2008, 04:24 PM   #66
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hinckc,

You got to see the full "DSLR size" video. My wife's frustration with the image size and download time convinced me to reduce it to 600*600 and 54 frames. This cut the file to 6MB but hurt my ego to show the resolution and sharpness of the DSLR vs most VGA size webcams.

I'm glad I was able to image this lunar eclipse. Who knows what will happen for the one chance in 2010.
02-23-2008, 07:11 PM   #67
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QuoteOriginally posted by LeoTaylor Quote
...
Construction photos of the observatory:
Astroleo Observatory
Let me commend you on what you did there! Dang that's nice. I see both you and your wife are into it from your equipment page; that's great.

BTW, I noticed something on your pictures of the sun. You must have some spots on your sensor that could have been cleaned-up with spot removal post processing of the images I imagine, as your sun photographs had all those spots all over them... (hehehe... I kid of course! )

If you'll indulge me, could I pick your brains a bit about one thing; when you have time? I'm trying to learn whether some of my camera gear can double for astro-photography? I'm trying to understand focal lengths (+ 1.5x crop factor?) in the context I've come to learn regarding photography, to understand if I can expect any level of success utilizing my teleconverters with my long lens to shoot such things as planets or galaxies?

Stacking my TCs can get me to a tad over 1400mm but at about 5-stops loss of light from wide open. Then, I have to stop the lens down from wide open to control CAs ... so I'd probably be between f/16 to f/22 of light passing through the lens to the sensor. ...Not great... (and ignoring distortions from the stacked TCs; I have no idea how bad that would be). If I have a tracking system (is that what is called a "Go To" system ?), can I expect any reasonable results in getting color shots of galaxies or planets? Expecting I would shoot many 30-second exposures and combine them in the computer. Much thanx for any response.
02-27-2008, 05:48 AM   #68
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QuoteOriginally posted by m8o Quote
... I'm trying to learn whether some of my camera gear can double for astro-photography? I'm trying to understand focal lengths (+ 1.5x crop factor?) in the context I've come to learn regarding photography, to understand if I can expect any level of success utilizing my teleconverters with my long lens to shoot such things as planets or galaxies?
...
Hi m80,

Yes, a camera lens can be used for astrophotography and a teleconverter can help in some cases. You may have noticed some of the Moon shots in this thread were taken with a lens. The Moon is a large bright object but still called astrophotography. A friend of mine, who is a professional photographer by day does astrophotography at night often with lenses.

Things you can image with lenses:

Large Nebulas - Orion, Lagoon, Rho Ophiuchus, and other large nebulas can be done with lenses in to 50-300 mm range. (real FL is all that matters in determining the size of the object on the sensor, crop factor does not matter). None of these require a TC.

Galaxies - Andromeda is the only distant one big and bright enough. Most galaxies are small FOV, dim and distant (millions of light years). It can be quite satisfying to take a picture of Andromeda and tell people the light in the photo left 2.7 millions years ago. The central area of the Milky Way near Sagittarius is quite beautiful and very wide field if you can get away from city lights.

Clusters - Too numerous to list, some are easily seen naked eye. Open Clusters lend themselves to camera lens magnification.

Constellations - very wide field.

Once you get up to perhaps 400mm and greater you run into tracking problems. The stars move about 15 degrees per hour over the equator. In a 30 second exposure they move 1/8 degree. That is enough to turn a dot into a line if you stack your TCs to get over 1000mm. My Moon photos were taken with a scope that has a "motor drive" that "tracks" the stars. The motor moves the scope at the same rate as the earth (1 Revolution Per Day) in the opposite direction. The stars move very little in a motorized scope. This allows long exposures (15 minutes is not unusual) at long focal lengths (I just imaged Saturn at 6000mm with a webcam). This is not to be confused with GOTO where a computerized controller moves the scope to a desired object. My first scope was motorized but I did not get GOTO until a few years ago. GOTO is a convenience, not a requirement.

OTOH some people (my wife for example) like to take pictures of star trails and are quite happy to have arcs for stars. Here is one I did years ago:

http://pages.cthome.net/astroleo/northstar.jpg

Pentax K1000, KODAK 800, Vivitar 19mm Lens, 20 minutes (5 degree rotation)

That reminds me, I need to try the 19mm Prime on my K100D.

Bottom Line:

You can take astrophotos with a camera lens of modest focal length. There are many objects to chose from. You won't be able to do small galaxies which usually are dim and require a motor drive. But, there are still hundreds of objects to chose from. If still interested I can point you at some tutorials.


Last edited by LeoTaylor; 02-27-2008 at 05:51 AM. Reason: typo
02-27-2008, 08:56 AM   #69
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Thanx Leo. Ya, I did have some success with 30 second exposures in Tanzania. This is my best one using the 50mm f/1.4 wide open, 30sec exposure. The 1/8 degree star trail actually helps Lightroom decide what is noise and what isn't when cleaning up the RAW.

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3150/2296457720_cc5782d23b_b.jpg
This was taken near 9000ft on the Ngorongoro Crater rim in Tanzania, air & light pollution near non-existent. It's what whet my whistle regarding astronomical photography. Sure the worlds got plenty of great photos already, but it's the effort of doing it myself that's the fun part. I see clusters here (edit: in that photo) like I've never seen before... actually, I never "saw" the Milkyway before in my life at all, living in an area with heavy light pollution.

Ya, I definitely know what I have is great for the moon... was looking into whether I could have success with dim objects. I'll look into motor drive as described. I didn't realize the solution was so simple... I thought the system needed "smarts" to track a star or constellation. I assume you have to line up to the North Star, or the earth's axis of rotation a bit off magnetic North however or something? Although, tracking a planet is quite different, isn't it.

Thanx again. Sorry all for taking the thread so off topic. I think I have a better understanding now Leo.

-steve

Last edited by m8o; 02-27-2008 at 09:28 AM.
02-27-2008, 09:11 AM   #70
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QuoteOriginally posted by LeoTaylor Quote
Hi m80,

Bottom Line:

You can take astrophotos with a camera lens of modest focal length. There are many objects to chose from. You won't be able to do small galaxies which usually are dim and require a motor drive. But, there are still hundreds of objects to chose from. If still interested I can point you at some tutorials.
For cameras using short focal length lenses ie <200mm, and for exposures no longer than 10 minutes, a barn door drive can be built out of scrap. There are more sophiticated examples but this would be the easist to build and use. Make a Scotch Mount: From Star Ware 1st edition
02-27-2008, 08:54 PM   #71
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M80,

That is just the kind of Milky Way near Sagittarius photo I referred to, and you have taken one! I have not had success with the Milky Way since I rarely get to a dark site. Each year I swear I'll go down to the Rhode Island Shore where there is mainly Ocean to the South and such photos are possible.

Pixelsaurus,

Yes a Barn Door mount is a simple device people can build or buy. A friend set one up in the middle of the Connecticut Star Party a few years back then cursed at everyone who walked by. Since the camera is near ground level the Barn Door should be used away from human traffic.
02-29-2008, 06:26 PM   #72
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Guess I'm a little late getting an eclipse photo up but thought I'd contribute. This was taken at the start of the eclipse from southeastern Minnesota. I used my K10D and a Sigma 500mm lens. Unfortunately I had a terrible tripod and it was nearly impossible to get a good clear exposure. This was the best of the bunch. Not too bad.....but......

02-29-2008, 06:30 PM   #73
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QuoteOriginally posted by Tingchaleun Quote
Here is what i got from Wednesday night. The night before, the weather was total havoc, on the verge of a blizzard. Fortunately, wednesday night was nothing like the night before. As you can see, it was a very clear night, not a cloud in the sky - but extremely cold! The temperture read -12 to -15 in my car.

This was the first time i attempted to do this, overall, i'm actually surprised it didn't turn out worse. Although i didn't have my tele-zooms with me, i had to settle with using either my Tamron 28-75 or my DA 12-24.

Thanks to all the people in this forum for giving me great tips, i really felt that it prepared me on how to approach this.

I'm going to keep practicing on the next full moon that is due to approach in the Toronto area. (March 21st).

ABOUT: initially i waited in five minute intervals for the shot, then i got tired of getting in and out of my car every five minutes, so i waited about every 10 minutes.
Awesome sequence! I think it turned out pretty good considering what you had to endure. Here in Minnesota it was about -5F so I know what you went through! Way cool!
03-29-2008, 10:51 PM   #74
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Hi all,

A few days??? Looks like it took me a month to get this together....

But better late than never. Here's a 800x resize of my full 9000x6000 pixel composite from this year's lunar eclipse. I just dropped off the jpeg at the shop to get a 300dpi 20x30inch poster sized print of the transitions I was able to catch.




Unfortunately, the clouds covered NJ until totality, so my sequence runs from around 10:15 EST 2/20/2008 - 12:30 EST 2/21/2008.

@Tingchaleun: I really like your shot. I never would have thought to even try to capture the event in a wide angle, but your shot came out really cool!!! Great concept and well executed.

Thanks everyone especially those who posted their shots!

-Chris
04-01-2008, 12:28 PM   #75
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Hinckc - Very nice composite and worthy of a large print!
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