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Thread: The star fields of the Milky Way

  1. #1
    Eyes eastward... Uilleann's Avatar
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    Star fields of the Milky Way (summer)

    Barry, here's one for you. Spent a quick overnight Sunday-Monday down in Capitol Reef National Park to do a bit of night shooting during the young moon. The nearest town of Torrey has worked specifically to reduce their light pollution into the park, and it makes a large difference. In fact, the International Dark-Sky Association awarded the park Gold-tier International Dark Sky Park status a couple years back. IDSA Gold level "corresponds to pristine or near-pristine night skies that
    average close to natural conditions."

    I went down to try out some purposeful image stacking to reduce noise and bring out some of the fainter detail in the galactic core. I'd done a little before, but only with about 3-5 frames. This time, I wanted to try with something a bit more robust, so shot 50 individual exposures. I don't yet own a star tracker, so I had to keep my shots short - 10 seconds n this case. Used my Sigma 24 mm f/1.4 lens, stopped down to f/3.5 to minimize it's inherent sagittal astigmatism in the corners when shooting star fields wide open. I also cranked the iso up to 12,800. I knew the raw files would be very noisy at that high a sensitivity, but that's where the stack comes in.

    Got everything off the camera's card, then set to aligning, and median stacking in PS. The noise, low contrast, and general lack of detail melted away. In short, I was able to manage what is probably the most detailed image of the core I've ever managed to capture. Strongly recommend this technique for any photography of stationary objects, requiring maximum detail and definition.



    (Sadly, this is about a 1/5th sized reduction, for space, and all that here...but you get the idea.)
    Last edited by Uilleann; 06-14-2017 at 03:23 PM. Reason: Larger image size accomplished!

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    Forever Liz's Dad Steve Machol's Avatar
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    That's beautiful. Nice job!


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    Wow! Amazing!

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    Eyes eastward... Uilleann's Avatar
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    Fixed image link to show larger image size above! Right click, and use the magnifying glass to see much more detail.


    It was a fun night out to be sure. Thankfully both the clouds and the tourists cooperated, and stayed far away, allowing for nice, clear shots. :)
    Last edited by Uilleann; 05-30-2017 at 04:51 PM.

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    Nice shot! I was out Saturday shooting some Aurora. What a night. I love astro-photography, but I am very much an amateur.

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    Eyes eastward... Uilleann's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JuliaG View Post
    Nice shot! I was out Saturday shooting some Aurora. What a night. I love astro-photography, but I am very much an amateur.
    I missed it by a day! It's amazingly fun to shoot the stars, and can be both frustrating and immensely rewarding. On Sunday for example, there weren't many meteors I saw (and I was out from midnight to almost half five). But it seemed that literally EVERY SINGLE ONE of the ******s was either JUST outside of frame...or happened to show up at precisely the one second interval between my multi exposure runs! My luck couldn't possibly have been any worse than that! Hahahaha In the end though, I got the above image of the core, and that made the entire trip down worth it for me.
    Last edited by Uilleann; 06-02-2017 at 09:19 AM.

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    What's up? drk's Avatar
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    Fantastic!

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    Eyes eastward... Uilleann's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by drk View Post
    Fantastic!
    Agreed - we live in a really fantastic place here in the MW. What a view huh?!

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