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Saturday, December 31, 2011

Unguided Beauty


Noticed we had a surprising clear sky for once, even with a partial Moon approaching its first quarter in the Southwestern sky. Orion big and bold rising in the East, simply begged to photographed. Having little opportunity this year for much astrophotography, the prospect sounded wonderful to me.

Started snapping frames around 8pm, Moon set sometime after 11pm, and continued collecting frames until about 2am. Fantastic! A personal best, 458 unguided frames collected, just shy of 2 hours of effective exposure with the self-modified Canon 450D.

Actually, the nights activities produced over 500 frames, but after examing EACH one I had to throw out 50 due to undesirable motion effects...which is a bit on the high side. Not sure why. Temperature and slight wind maybe? Clumsy astrophotographer? Hmmm.

Wonderful thing about collecting more signal with the modified camera, the process provides more information to stretch out after the data fusion (preprocessing, aligning, stacking). A simple curve stretch after DDP processing and voila!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Filaments in black and white, Veil Nebula

I don't usually post in black and white, but during post-processing I liked the look and feel of  this.

A beautifully clear and dark evening afforded this fine take. Unlike star-forming emissive nebulae, the Veil Nebula is the diffuse remnants of a massive supernova. Dim nebula like this are difficult shots for a DSLR camera, even for a modified one as used in this photo. The image effectively comprises 75 minutes of exposure at ISO 1600. Something like this would make a great project over several nights to produce hours of exposure.

Technical bits: unguided, 300 x 15 sec. JPEG frames, 1600 ISO, modified Canon 450D, 200/200 bias/flat calibration, DDP post-processing, and slight color level adjustment. No stretching.  

Friday, June 24, 2011

Hey! ...he's still alive.

Well, this certainly has been a long drought.

After moving in December, I misplaced my camera battery charger. Things went downhill from there. Once in a while I would think to myself, "...where is that d*#m charger?" Similarly, without much nightly goings on nothing happened with the blog.

In short, just a lot of life changes at once, and another big project occupies my evening pursuit. Finally, found the infernal battery charger this past weekend, and last night I was presented with a beautifully clear dark sky. Put the other on hold and started shooting. Need to get updated flats and bias, but a new image should be due, shortly.