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Forum: Troubleshooting and Beginner Help 2 Days Ago  
Lens support bracket advice.
Posted By interested_observer
Replies: 2
Views: 243
Here is a past post, using a Q. I used the same arrangement for my A 300/f4 with my K5 and it works very nicely.I see that the parts link is not active, so try this...
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Forum: General Photography 4 Days Ago  
Oak Creek Canyon Milky Way - Lessons Learned
Posted By interested_observer
Replies: 11
Views: 590
Hi Lake, I updated the image description in the posted text providing the information. Thanks for asking!!

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Forum: General Photography 6 Days Ago  
Oak Creek Canyon Milky Way - Lessons Learned
Posted By interested_observer
Replies: 11
Views: 590
I went out again last night (just got back), since it was essentially the last night that the Milky Way would be available this month. I was able to get pretty much what I wanted. Here is a quick look at a rough 1 x 6 stitch at 15mm. I have material for a 2 x 8 stitch using a 30mm with a lot more resolution. The third time is the charm - but I'm going to bed now - it's 3am
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This shot is looking south from the top of Oak Creek Canyon. The light dome on the left hand side is the town of Sedona about 20 miles away down canyon. The light trails on the left side is highway 89A which follows the canyon floor. The light trails on the right side is highway 89A coming up the canyon with switchbacks along the canyon walls, climbing about 2,000 feet in 2.5 miles or about a third of a mile as the crow flies.

Per request - this how I took the images and how I processed it.
  • Image Capture - K1,15-30/f2.8 @ 15mm, f2.8, ISO 800 at 70 seconds, portrait (vertical) orientation. Shot off a tripod and head. LENR (long exposure noise reduction) was on, to hold down the noise in the foreground. Shot 6 vertical slices. The Angle of View of the lens is 111 - 72 @ 15mm, so the raws are 111 tall, and each slice is 72 wide. I shot off of a nodal ninja pano head (I didn't have to, but I had it so I did). I moved each frame 20, so there is about 50+ of overlap. I should have probably moved two 20 sets, and only shot 3 images (with 30+ of overlap), but whatever. I had lots of overlap.

  • Image Processing - Stitched the 6 raw images with Microsoft ICE, saving the result as a PNG file. Imported the PNG into Lightroom 5.7. The in-camera LENR did an excellent job overall on the noise. Then just applied black, white, shadows, highlights and contrast for the sky (bringing the Milky Way out in a reasonable manner - not over cooked), then used the adjustment brush on the foreground and then make adjustments exposure, contrast, vibrant, clarity and highlights to bring out some detail in the foreground. Then cropped off about 20% on the bottom which was some uninteresting bushes and a wall, along with about 20% on the right side to remove the rest of a rock wall that added nothing to the overall image. The resulting image is 12,500 x 8,300 which I compressed down to 1000 x 550 for posting here. I just did the minimal processing to bring out the MW and a bit to pull out some details / interest in the foreground.


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Forum: General Photography 09-11-2018, 05:32 PM  
Oak Creek Canyon Milky Way - Lessons Learned
Posted By interested_observer
Replies: 11
Views: 590
Thanks for the encouragement. I've been touching up the images and trying different things - post processing and things have gotten a tad better. That and I have found that if I re post process the prior set of images just prior to going out again, I do get better images. Something like a little positive feedback loop, so when you are out in the field shooting, you are making somewhat better decisions on the fly.

Yesterday (Monday) afternoon long about 2 to 2.30, I pulled up one of the many Sedona webcams and clear skies, clear radar, so Road Trip. Everything was pretty much ready to go (yea, right! more on this as you read). I actually found 2 additional batteries that I thought that I had lost up in Alaska, so I charged them on Sunday and I'm back up to having more than plenty of power in any event. I hit the road by 4.30 with a full tank of gas and rush hour traffic is not toooooo bad. Pick up a bite to eat on the way (Camp Verde is always a good location for a quick pit stop). I decide on the way to take a slightly different route - going up canyon, so as to get in possibly 2 locations in - as I am feeling really very confident this evening. I stop at West Fork that I shot this time last year, getting there at 7.30 and I'm early! Total darkness is at 8.00, and things are going pretty good.

The Milky Way is not in the V of the canyon yet, so I scout for some good foreground interest, and sort of settle for about the best I can do in the meadow. There are some good sized trees that I didn't remember being there last year, but - whatever. I was sort of hoping for a better view of some of the canyon rock faces - but you shoot what is there, and not worry about it. Set up, calibrate astro, mount the camera on the pano head sitting on the geared head mounted on the tripod, so I can just shoot a fixed 20 degree vertical slices with LOTS of overlap. I adjust the moon lander articulating screen (I really like the articulating screen a lot). I plug in my external shutter release (I remembered it this time around), but the 2 second delay is still on - no big deal, push the shutter button ...... and then the little center AF [spot box] pops up in liveview and the lens starts auto focusing - *$#@^& and I instantly know that I no longer have focus, even with the focus ring taped down. So, I spend the better part of the next hour trying to manually focus both at 15mm and 30mm - no joy. So, I bagged it and head home empty handed. Just shoot me! The idiot behind the camera didn't check out the basic camera setup. Another lesson relearned the hard way once again. Famous last words.

So, in a few minutes, I'm gonna go drive over to this little cul de sac on the side of a nearby hill a couple of miles away and re pre focus the lens on a set of hills about 10 miles away. Put the body in MANUAL while taping down the focus ring again, so I'll be all set for next time - perhaps tomorrow afternoon - again. I am running out of no moon days this moon phase (the rest of the week) and there is a high pressure system over Sedona all week, so clear skies and no clouds.

So, what was hoping to accomplish with this outing?
  • On Saturday night, I shot at 60, 90 and 120 second astrotracked exposures. I had shot previously at 50 seconds and was VERY happy (no star trailing in the corners at 15mm). I didn't want to press my luck so I was sort of staying at 50 seconds for the most part of this year. This time, I decided that since 60 seconds was good and that there was just the ever so slightest trailing at 90 seconds, with some minor trailing at 120 seconds, I would go for 70 seconds. That would be 40% more star light captured. I've been looking at the take from star trackers at 2 to 5 minutes and yes, there is a lot more light and brightness as well as color, but to me it appears to be unnaturally bright. I want something a bit more natural, and I think that 70 seconds will do it. Even with my slightly out of focus shots at 70 seconds, for me this is going to be the new standard.

  • Fort he K1, ISO800 has been outstanding. I've been toying around with perhaps going with 400 due to the headlights, but - I do think that 800 is better. On Saturday night - everyone was shooting the canyon (think road car rally), there was substantially less traffic on Monday evening, so I think that traffic volume was the main problem I was seeing on Saturday. The problem is that you need to have enough definition of the dark areas, and shooting the landscape segments at 2 minutes at 800 is probably better than 400 at 4 minutes - and then there is LENR which will double all the times. You need to balance out the exposure time with LENR against the brightness. Bringing my external shutter release (with a timer / intervalometer) - provides this. Plus, you can check the image and if there is a burn-in, just retake it. LENR even though it doubles the exposure time is worth it for the K1 - it eliminates the white dots (my only real complaint about the K1).

  • The canyon activity, down in the canyon, showed up nicely on Saturday, but on Monday there was substantially less (fewer campers), but there were still the canyon resorts, cabins, retreats - so I'm thinking that 2 minute exposures should do nicely - for the landscape images for the foreground. I did a couple 30 second exposures for stacking, and they were not too bad, so again 2 minutes feels like a good number.

  • Of all the landscape shots I took, I didn't take nearly enough on Saturday. I actually thought about this while I was there and though that I was find. When in doubt, take more. I was going 5 images wide. I should have gone at least 6 to have more material to really get a good handle when post processing, how wide is sufficient. In looking at the images I did take with the headlights, they were substantially better with some post processing and VERY usable. I'm really sorry I decided to not take the images that appeared to be really blown out. They would have turned out better than what I was thinking.

  • Also, while I was there, I was thinking about putting the tripod legs (at least one or two) up on the rock wall. Yup, I should have done that. That I think would have provided just a bit more freedom in terms of formatting the shots.

  • Shooting two sets of images - one at 15mm and the other at 30mm, turns out to be a real advantage. There is a real difference in detail with the 30mm image set. The 15mm set is essentially the quick look set, that shows the potential or lack of potential in the 30mm set. Also, the processing time is minimal.

  • Four years ago, I had decided to stay with the K5, and not go with the K1 when it eventually came out whenever. So, I saved up for the Sigma 18-35/f1.8 lens, which for astro works great. I had tried it out a year ago on the k1, but with stitching it appeared to patch work things in with a lot of vignetting (on the K1 at 35mm). I'm thinking that it was oversampling errors using Microsoft ICE, so I want to try it again. The f1.8 is a good stop and a third faster than f2.8, and I could stop down to f2 and still gain a full stop (plus another 40% with 70 second exposures). Since I already have the lens, there is no reason not to try it out and see what results it produces, especially with stitching. It would also be interesting to see the astro color rendering in comparison to the Pentax coatings on the 15-30.

  • Photoshop - Even though my wife - the Chancellor of the Exchequer tells me it's updating everything I have on the list is not in the budget, Photoshop CC - I hate subscriptions, and Adobe in general, but it will help everything immensely. I think that she will go for PS.

I'm thinking of trying again tomorrow night again....

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Forum: Pentax DSLR Discussion 09-11-2018, 05:58 AM  
Why Do YOU Stay With Pentax?
Posted By interested_observer
Replies: 142
Views: 4,400
I actually do remember asking myself a similar question back in 2006 when I went digital with the K100D. I was looking at Canon and Nikon, with Pentax being suggested because of IBIS and M42 mount comparability with my Spotmatic. I also considered what I would do when I bought my K5 if Pentax went under (the doomed period) - buy another spare K5 at a bargain price.

Today - well the K1/K5IIs combination may well be my last cameras. The combination works for me - especially shooting at night. Yes, I need to carry a tripod, but I don't have to hold the camera still - well the K1 anyway. The K5 is a feather weight (in comparison).

They do astro, the low light DR - especially the K1 is amazing. Astro use to be hard, the K1 has made the stars the easiest thing I do. I will never go to a tracker - too much to haul around and too long to setup, align and calibrate. So, I'm happy to have what I have, as nothing else would really perform the same, in the same form factor.

Will thing change in 5 to 10 years? Yes Will it matter to me? I don't know. Do I care? Not really. Do I need anything more? Not especially. Color me satisfied.

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Forum: General Photography 09-09-2018, 05:53 PM  
Oak Creek Canyon Milky Way - Lessons Learned
Posted By interested_observer
Replies: 11
Views: 590
I've been wanting to try to shoot from the top of Oak Creek Canyon (right on the edge of the Mogollon Rim) for a quite a while now. I actually asked the Forest Service, since the specific area was closed at night, if it was ok to just walk in to where I wanted to go from a small off road equipment parking are. They said sure - be our guest. I have been waiting about 3 months for a reasonable "weather" window - the monsoons this year have just been endless. So, last night according to the weather radar, cloud cover satellite and the Sedona area webcams - it looked like it was going to be worth the 2 hour drive up there.

What I wanted to do is just shoot the Milky Way standing vertical up over Oak Creek Canyon. Pretty simple and straight forward. There is this vista location with pretty much the perfect location right on the rim, top of the canyon. It drops off 2,000 feet down in a third of a mile. There is a road the goes down the side of the canyon to the floor which is about 2.5 miles long with something like 10 switchbacks (yup - road car heaven). The switchbacks are off to the right hand side and also directly below the vista point. So, be careful of what you wish for...... What I learned.
  • Make a list and check it twice - I forgot my external shutter release at the SUV, which was my intervalometer - so, I was somewhat limited to 30 second exposures. First time in years that I forgot it. The 2 second delay worked fine, and I took a number of 30 sec exposures (with LENR) to stack.

  • Astrotracing mode - Up till last night, I would just calibrate and I would be set to shoot for the night. Last night I calibrated, and it was all good. Set to shoot and - no joy. In bulb, astro on, calibrated - nothing. Well, for what ever reason, which took about 10 minutes to figure out, the camera was not calibrated, so re-calibrating did it. I shot 49 frames last night and had to calibrate 5 times. It must have had to be something with the magical and mystical Sedona vortexs.

  • I've been to the vista probably 20 times over the last 25 years. I knew what to expect, but everything is different at night. Bushes growing in all the "wrong" places. It was much much more difficult trying to find the best location to shoot from. I had a very good idea of the views that were available from daytime images (google earth street views, google earth overheads, just images posted on line, etc.). There are precious few images from night (posted on the web) - there are a few, but were taken right where the *%$#@ bush is growing very tall. You just work with what you have been given - and be happy.

  • The headlights from the road - were so bright that they would just burn through, even with 30 sec exposures. F2.8 just made things worse. ISO 800 seemed to be fine, but there was no finding a happy balance with the road traffic. That was unfortunate. Also, on the last switchback on top the cars just shine directly into the side of lens (need to bring a piece of cardboard for a shade next time). Trying to time things is pretty hit and miss. I haven't figured out if it's better to shoot at ISO 400 longer in order to diffuse the headlight burn through. Just looking at the camera screen was difficult to tell. None of the detail showed up till this morning when I was post processing them.

  • Sedona is one of the first International Dark Sky Communities. Driving through town, there are few street lights and everything is pretty subtly lite - and is 20 miles away down canyon. By eye, you see none of the light dome. Also, none of the lights within the canyon are really visible. However, that can make for some additional foreground interest down in the dark underneath the stars. I found - and what I didn't take in to account, was the overall brightness from the cars on the switchbacks. Interesting light patterns, but capturing them is difficult at best.

  • I've found that for me, it's best to shoot one set at 30mm for relative high definition stitching, and a second set at 15mm, as somewhat of a test set, showing the potential of the 30mm set without doing a lot of post processing work.

So, here are some test images.
  • First image - K1, 15-30/f2.8 @ 30mm, f2.8, ISO 800, 60 seconds from the left side of the bush, which masked out the headlights. Did not use LENR on this set.

  • Second image - K1, 15-30/f2.8 @ 15mm, f2.8, ISO 800, 60 seconds from the right side of the bush. This is a stitch of 3 images. I also shot a stitch of 5 images of pretty much the landscape, that I'm somewhat processing. This one has an oversampling artifact from Microsoft ICE. Upgraded software isn't in the budget yet my wife - the Chancellor of the Exchequer tells me (make due with what you have or shoot it perfect in the camera the first time, she tells me).


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Forum: Welcomes and Introductions 09-09-2018, 03:38 PM  
New to the Forum from Arizona
Posted By interested_observer
Replies: 13
Views: 249
Welcome to the Forum and digital in general. The K70 is an excellent camera which provides a tremendous set of capabilities. Your darkroom is going to migrate to LightRoom.....

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Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 08-31-2018, 04:58 PM  
Need recommendation for the best Rectilinear FF Lens at 24mm or less
Posted By interested_observer
Replies: 14
Views: 420
Yes, he indicated that he is an archaeologist, however he is looking for a wide angle lens (24mm or wider) with as little distortion as possible. Physics/optics enters in to this. As with any wide angle lens, you are going to get some sort of distortion. Going to a lens with a longer focal length that is not wide angle and either stitching via a shift lens or employing a linear technique is a reasonably accepted approach to acquire a "wide angle" view without the inherent distortion. This provides a non-distorted view - with a wide field of view, without the native wide angle lens distortion.

Panorama is a photography term. Mosaic, image mosaicing, Photomosaics, photogrammetry, linear slit photography, multi-viewpoint and image exploitation are other terms that are somewhat interchangeable that utilizes the same or very similar approaches. They are also utilized and accepted across a wide range of various scientific endevours.
Very few scholars were accorded access to the dead sea scrolls. Individual images of the small fragments were made to document, provide better access, and to preserve the scrolls. When the images of the various fragments were arranged in a linear order, so that they could be interpreted within their original context - the interpretation of the scrolls made a giant leap in progress, in terms of increased quality and speed. And, yes - I am oversimplifying here....Stitching and/or mosaicing is able to be done with controls that will address various quality assurance concerns. In terms of quality of measurements, utilizing the same camera / sensor, concerns about the size, and orientation along with the type of pixels are negated.

You can stand back, in order to take a single image of say 40 feet of pictographs, or you can use a linear stitching technique, in order gain better resolution and definition, while maintaining size and contextual relationships across the entire subject matter, being imaged.

Stitching or mosaicing is already being used at a macro level in archaeology. Using LIDAR sensing technology, georeferencing and orthorectification - extraordinary large amounts of imaging information can be combined with in a GIS system to produce analysis and understanding not available previously.This same technology is available at the micro level, to the individual archaeologist digging in the pit, wishing to record some visual information - with a context or size larger than an single individual image.

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Forum: Pentax K-1 08-31-2018, 01:53 PM  
Post your Timelapses
Posted By interested_observer
Replies: 24
Views: 719
Excellent thread idea! Here is a "timelapse" that I did a couple of years ago....

My original intention was to take some still images of planes flying into land on the runway at Sky Harbor with the Phoenix downtown city center in in the background at sunset. What I wound up doing was as the planes flew overhead, with the camera in continuous mode, I just pushed the remote shutter to catch as much of the landing as possible (as the buffer was filling up) so I could then select the shot I wanted.

While I was processing them, I was just slewing from one image to the next and it made somewhat of a movie. So I turned them into a movie. I processed the entire sequence of images in Lightroom, exported and then used Picasa to create a video file. I was using a K5IIs which shoots RAW at ~7 frames per second - which is the playback speed, with the 60-250 at about 120mm.

I've since found that with RAW images on the K5/K5IIs a sequence of 27 is the most I can capture. However, switching over to JPG expands this number substantially, especially if you go to either *** or ** or * star resolution.

All of this is well suited to a fairly quick and short event - like landing an airplane.


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Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 08-31-2018, 08:04 AM  
Need recommendation for the best Rectilinear FF Lens at 24mm or less
Posted By interested_observer
Replies: 14
Views: 420
There are also various types of stitching.
  • Rotational Stitching - This is where you rotate around a single nodal point. Depending on how wide you go, say a full 360 degrees, you can get some interesting distortion in and of itself. Doing 180 degree (or less) very little distortion is introduced.

  • Linear Stitching - This is where you take a number of images moving along a straight line, say every foot and then stitch them together. If you have a scene that is deep, then you can get some perspective distortions.

  • Shift Lens - This is where you use a shift lens, and shift both to the left and right, and then stitch the resulting 3 images together (left, center and right) together. A 28mm shift lens provides a resulting stitched panoramic image that has essentially no distortion that has the same field of view of a 17mm lens.

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Forum: Digital Processing, Software, and Printing 08-30-2018, 09:41 AM  
AI Can Now Fix Your Grainy Photos by Only Looking at Grainy Photos
Posted By interested_observer
Replies: 10
Views: 314
Forum: Pentax DSLR Discussion 08-28-2018, 03:34 PM  
Question - Pre AutoFocus
Posted By interested_observer
Replies: 8
Views: 567
This is usually what I do. I pre-focus on a set of ridges (edge detection & contrast) at 4 miles, 10 miles or 15 miles away depending on the time of day, weather, etc. Tape things down, switch to manual focus and I'm good to go. This has worked exceptionally well with star light. With the brighter moon, and to be honest - I cheated an focused on a ridge line a mile away the other day, this outing pulled up a bit short in terms of focus. Essentially, relearned a lesson. Slow learner or old age??? To be honest, from what I remember, the EXIF only contained a modicum of focus information - essentially a focus zone used. Pretty minimal.


That has been part of the problem here - the atmosphere is very moisture heavy. Clear mornings, afternoon thunderboomers appearing just out of the ambient moisture and we're off to the races. Then the moisture laden dust clouds blowing in, just adds to everything.


I usually use the 16x mag and I have an external 10x loop that I can use. That coupled with focus peaking usually does the job. This time, the distances were not stars, but distant cliff faces. It all boils down to an interesting learning experience - lesson learned (yet again).

Also, I was trying to stack up 6 different locations. Actually got to 3. 2 brand new, so I had to do a bit of walking around to find a good shooting location (2 weeks from now) - and the county was redoing the roads, so I had a real large flashing CAUTION sign blinking and lighting up the area in orange. Had to find some protected position to shoot from.

The one old known location that I returned to - a bridge, had brand new 15 foot high suicide barriers installed along its entire length. I didn't count on that one. They really look ugly and to a degree destroys the shot. So, the recon trip was very worthwhile - and turned out to be an additional learning experience. I doubt if I will use the bridge in the future. However, it remains an interesting location due to the direction it faces and the line of cliff faces - especially for winter and spring shots.


That is usually my work flow, but tend to uses distant ridges during the day (with taping down the focus ring to save time out in the field at night) - which provides a bit wider latitude to span across stars and landscape elements. To date, this has been my first and largest failure in terms of focus. But, I didn't really take a side trip to boresight the lenses in - a time saver that didn't save any time. The trip was more of a recon and grab images/only along the way, which turned into a learning experience - with myself handing me, my own head. With the hot weather, I usually don't have to worry about wide weather swings that will have severe adverse consequences.


I had a couple hour drive back last night/early this morning thinking about this. It all came down to how the lens was reporting (and the amount if any - encoding the lens had) and to what degree could the lens both report and reposition with what accuracy and precision.

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Forum: Pentax DSLR Discussion 08-28-2018, 01:55 PM  
Question - Pre AutoFocus
Posted By interested_observer
Replies: 8
Views: 567
Ok, I know that this is somewhat of an inane question, but bear with me. After about 3 months of monsoon and dust storms with heavy clouds blowing around Arizona pretty much constantly, yesterday was clear - road trip to Sedona, for some night shooting. It was to get some shooting practice in - even with the 98% full moon out, but more of a recon trip to check out some new locations I had found via google earth, along with checking out a new capture workflow I'm changing to use now with the K1.

The question is - If I were to take an AF image during the day - capturing sharp perfect focus, in theory is it possible for the camera (off the daytime EXIF) to command the lens back to that focus configuration (with reasonable accuracy and precision). I know Pentax does not do this currently, but the question is - in theory is it possible? I would think that probably not enough information is captured, nor is it collected (and may not be available from the lens, in terms of getting it back to "the" physical configuration).

Background - I usually only shoot with starlight and the light reflected from the town's light domes (which provides a really nice quality and character to the image - a nice "painting" quality - well my opinion). But, last night with the moon pretty much full out, I was shooting with full moonlight. Somewhat different lighting conditions and quality along with the flatness. My focus was almost ok, but nothing to write home about. With the enhanced moon lighting, I could easily see I was not getting really good focus on the distant cliffs. I even tried AF just for grins. Also spent some time with adjusting manual focus to see if I could get any improvements. The moonlight was less than the -3ev so my expectations were met. This is where the idea occurred to me - shoot during the day to grab good focus settings, then return to the same spot at night, and if the camera body could command the lens to the same focus configuration, then this would be pretty much a slam dunk. Yea, just thinking outloud.....

Here is some of the take from last night... Shrinking the image from 7k px on the long side to 1kpx hides a lot of the problems - but the focus was still poor. I know, looks like some of the old Saturday afternoon cowboy movies where the night scenes were shot in the late afternoon. The moon was really really bright out - almost needed sunglasses.

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Forum: General Photography 08-27-2018, 02:37 PM  
Helpful Airline Facilitates Eclipse Image
Posted By interested_observer
Replies: 2
Views: 265
Not mine - I didn't have the presence of mind for this.

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Forum: Pentax K-5 08-26-2018, 03:12 PM  
K-5 For Astrophotography
Posted By interested_observer
Replies: 1,087
Views: 258,652
Until you decide what to do, here is a slightly different approach. You can stack any number of images, which would combine all the captured light together. Just aim the camera to the sky and take multiple images. It would be better to have the mirror up and just put the body in burst mode. I would probably go with 10 second exposures to keep the star trails at a minimum.Then use a program like sequator (free download), to align the images together and then stack them.
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Forum: Mini-Challenges, Games, and Photo Stories 08-17-2018, 04:46 PM  
Thematic Post & Discuss Your Astro Tracer Star Trails & Star Shots
Posted By interested_observer
Replies: 27
Views: 514
I've always shot with auto WB, especially since it can easily be reset in post processing. The lonelyspeck articles has a good approach on determining the right WB for the scene in post. What I have encountered with the K1 is, that for whatever reason, it just nailed it automagically each time. So, I've been inclined to just leave it be, till it becomes broken.

* How to Process Milky Way Astrophotography in Adobe Lightroom – Lonely Speck

__________________

Stellarium - Here is a quick video tour and how to use it....
















You Tube




















You Tube





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Forum: Troubleshooting and Beginner Help 08-17-2018, 12:04 AM  
Wired shutter release
Posted By interested_observer
Replies: 11
Views: 425
check out the "release cable" on the manual

* http://www.ricoh-imaging.co.jp/english/support/man-pdf/k-70.pdf

page 9 - diagram and page 55 & 67 - using a Cable Switch CS-310

* amazon : Pentax Cable Switch CS-310 (3.5') for K-70 Digital SLR : Camera & Photo

I had read that Pentax had moved away from the old Canon compatible remote shutter release, which is too bad.

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Forum: General Photography 08-16-2018, 11:12 PM  
When in doubt - Ask, then Ask again......
Posted By interested_observer
Replies: 16
Views: 580
Well, it could work to a degree - certainly from one parking lot to the other, then it's out onto the desert. There is a Y cattle gate that you need to go through, going from the park proper out to the open range. Also, you are looking for locations and interesting immediate foreground elements. Actually, hiking in is just as easy - given the search for the landscape element composition. The most frustrating part is that the picnic area parking lot is just so convenient - that you can almost shoot from the back of the vehicle. You just park and you have good foreground elements starting at about 200 feet (the gate).

They just close the picnic area at 10pm so that the college kids don't take it over for all night / weekend drinking parties.

Just substitute the clouds with the milky way. I'm gonna have to now hike at least another mile out, since they installed some really bright lights on the restrooms a couple of hundred feet away, which just kills this location for MW shooting. Also, off to the right is the little town of Apache Junction which just keeps growing, and the light pollution grows exponentially each year. I was out there a month ago, and it was just a large PIA to deal with. I've been futzing around with the images as I have had time and they are ok, but I really want better. So, in February, March and April - I'll be hoofing it farther out into the desert. But, I really like the gate as a foreground element.


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Forum: General Photography 08-16-2018, 07:22 PM  
When in doubt - Ask, then Ask again......
Posted By interested_observer
Replies: 16
Views: 580
The clouds and the rain storm out side, and it's just as bad up north - so, I guess it will be September on the next moon phase.


I actually consider that approach a few time, but never had to try. The last opportunity was last September, and my wife didn't want to be waiting in the SUV.....


I figured that there was a good reason, but this could be such a good location that I didn't want to let it pass by. I have a dozen other locations laid out that I also want to shoot from, each having its own particular appeal


That does work. Out at the Lost Dutchman State Park where I shoot at times, the picnic area is the best location, but closes at 10pm when they lock the gate (.... well sometimes). I usually leave a note on the dashboard along with my pass - and it has worked so far. I have not been locked in yet. In the winter for whatever reason, they have the area locked, so at 3am if you are going to try to shoot, it's an additional mile hike from the parking lot outside the picnic area's gate.

:cool:
Forum: Mini-Challenges, Games, and Photo Stories 08-16-2018, 06:29 PM  
Thematic Post & Discuss Your Astro Tracer Star Trails & Star Shots
Posted By interested_observer
Replies: 27
Views: 514
I used Stellarium and yes, the moon sets at 11pm your time, and the Milky Way is there at 210 degrees. I guess all the smoke and haze from the California fires is floating up your way. Too bad - we just have the monsoons continuing tonight - so everything is clouded in.

:cool:
Forum: Mini-Challenges, Games, and Photo Stories 08-16-2018, 11:05 AM  
Thematic Post & Discuss Your Astro Tracer Star Trails & Star Shots
Posted By interested_observer
Replies: 27
Views: 514
My largest suggestion is to change one item. Shoot wide open. There is so little starlight, you need as much aperture as you can get. Depth of field does not matter - with the distance we are talking about, it does not enter in to the discussion. Stopping down for sharpness - doesn't matter either. If you don't collect the starlight - sharpness is the least of the problems.

ISO 1600 is good, but personally - going with ISO 800 (with the K1) provides better dynamic range, and thus better overall color with the Milky Way.


Exactly this! I've had my best luck with 50 to 60 seconds. I need to try 90 seconds - others have had good experiences with 90, but I just have not gotten there yet.
_______________________________

Last year about this time, I finally decided to upgrade from the K5 to the K1 in order to really get the Milky Way images that I wanted to capture. I needed to go to a full frame sensor. Here is one from a couple of months ago. K1 with the Pentax 15-30/f2.8 at 15mm f2.8, 50 seconds - 3 frames stitched (Microsoft ICE) with the GPS astrotracer enabled.


This last year has been really difficult for me just getting out. Everything has just gotten in the way of getting out and shooting, now that I have the equipment to capture what I really want to capture.

:cool:
Forum: General Photography 08-15-2018, 05:34 PM  
When in doubt - Ask, then Ask again......
Posted By interested_observer
Replies: 16
Views: 580
I know a cryptic title, but today, I was presented with being persistent actually does pay off - in a good way.... or don't take No as a final answer.

Several years ago, I was down in Oak Creek Canyon and ran into a guy also doing some night shooting, who said he shot for NatGeo among some others - International Dark-Sky Association, etc. He certainly had the camera equipment for it, and was a professor up at NAU - even gave me his business card. He showed me some shots from the vista point at the top of Oak Creek Canyon (earlier in the evening - wonderful shots) - and said something about having to sneak in since it closes after dark.

In the past I had shot up there from the vista (during the day, as every tourist does), excellent location and have thought about trying to shoot the Milky Way there too (needs to be August or September for the southern exposure). So, the other day it looked like there was going to be an opening in the weather. The weather has been bad for the last couple of months (the Monsoons). I started getting everything stacked up by the front door - there just after noon, just to be ready.

Was thinking about everything, so I looked up the number for the canyon ranger station and called. The ranger lady answered and I asked about being able to walk into the vista point after hours to shoot the Milky Way using Oak Creek Canyon as a foreground. Absolutely NOT!!! It's closed for a reason - to keep you out after hours. You can be arrested! This confirming what the guy said a couple of years ago. Checking the weather radar again and you could see the clouds forming and the rain was getting ready to dump right over Sedona - so no road trip tonight.

Yesterday - big storm the night before, TV coverage of the damage. I decided to call the Coconino National Forest Office and ask, one more time - climbing up the chain. The lady who answered was a ranger too. I explained and she replied - well yes, of course you can. I explained about the call the day before - and she said, well the volunteers usually do not know about everything, but just a moment. She asked someone from their law enforcement detail. She came back and said, no problem - but he suggested calling the chief ranger in the canyon. She put me through, and it rang over to his voice mail. I left a message, with an explanation and my phone number.

Well, this morning about 10am, the chief ranger called to tell me - absolutely YES!! I could park along the road (89A) in one of the little turnouts and walk in (the county sheriff does not mind folks parking there). The parking lot gate is closed to keep the drunks and college kids out (and from tearing up the place), but by all means - I could hoof my camera gear in and set up shop and take all the pictures I want. I just didn't want to get set up in the middle of the night and get a tap on the shoulder, hauled off in cuffs or return to my vehicle and find out it had been towed.

So, in the end it all turned out. Hopefully, the weather in September is better......

:cool:
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 08-13-2018, 02:00 PM  
Think I qualify as a Pentaxian now - Just got the 800mm f4
Posted By interested_observer
Replies: 51
Views: 1,922
I too would like to see some pictures - so I did a web search (yea, I know I should have gone to the lens review area, ....but, I would have missed this one), and what exactly did come up?
For some reason, Walmart has just one left in stock, and its brand new???? The redeeming feature was - free delivery! For $7,999.95, they will get it to you by August 22 (yea, us zip code only).... It's a monster, weighing in at 39 pounds.

I guess Walmart really does have a little bit of everything. Who would of thought?

Enjoy the lens and make some great images with it!!!!!

:cool:
Forum: Pentax K-1 08-13-2018, 04:47 AM  
Astro Tracer Failure?
Posted By interested_observer
Replies: 21
Views: 750
I been planning on taking the Palm Canyon road in. There are some volcanic cones pretty near the road that I think are hike-able to provide some elevation. Probably about 1/2 mile of hiking round trip. This year the weather, and just life has gotten in the way of getting out there.

:cool:
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 08-11-2018, 06:07 PM  
Torn between Irix 15mm f/2.4 and Samyang 20mm f/1.8
Posted By interested_observer
Replies: 18
Views: 964
Just for the astro aspects of this, the longer focal length glass will be better, given all the other aspects (aperture) remains the same. In that the aperture becomes larger with the longer lenses, then just following that logic the 20/f1.8 will be the best selection.

So, here are some numbers to back up the statement. I'm also assuming that the astro tracking will be for 60 seconds (however the duration really does not matter here, but I'll toss it in anyway).
  • 14mm/2.8=5 mm diameter, area = (pi/4)52 = 28.9 sq mm. Exposure time of 60 seconds. Light collection = 1177.5 sq mm seconds.

  • 15mm/2.4=6.25 mm diameter, area = (pi/4)6.252= 30.66 sq mm. Exposure time of 60 seconds. Light collection = 1839.8 sq mm seconds.

  • 20mm/1.8=11.11 mm diameter, area = (pi/4)11.112= 96.91 sq mm. Exposure time of 60 seconds. Light collection = 5814 sq mm seconds.

Then to compare the lenses...
  • 14mm to 15mm = 1839.8/1177.5 = 1.6 - the 15mm collects 1.6 times more light than the 14mm

  • 14mm to 20mm = 5814/1177.6 = 4.9 - the 20mm collects 4.9 times more light than the 14mm

The 20mm lens collects 4.9 times more light from objects in the frame. Stars are brighter, star clouds and nebulae will be brighter.

The key in all of this is the actual physical aperture diameter (for the 14mm / f2.8 lens - that is the 14 / 2.8 = 5). Essentially, to simplify the process, just compare the physical aperture diameter of each lens, and you get the same results by
  • [(physical aperture long lens) / (physical aperture short lens)]2 i.e., (6.25/5)2 = 1.6x more light for the longer lens.

_________________________

Personally, I went with the 15-30/f2.8 for several reasons. First it was more general purpose for landscapes and I have found myself shooting astro at both ends - 15mm and 30mm. The 30mm end gets substantially more light, while the 15mm gets more of the overall landscape and sky combination. I've found so far, that at 15mm I get plenty of star light for a good image.

:cool:
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