Welcome to the new Dark Arts Astrophotography blog! It’s been a long time since I posted a real blog entry – barring yesterday’s announcement of my new site and blog. Now it’s time to get back into gear and start posting more regularly once again. I’ve been neglecting my blog over the last several months, partly due to being busy with photography and other stuff. But laziness has also played a part in it, not to mention my frustration with the Blogger platform. But I digress. This blog isn’t about my lack of activity, but rather about what I’ve been doing over the last several months!
Getting Started in Astrophotography
One of the questions I get asked the most often is how one gets started in astrophotography. More specifically, what kind of equipment is required in order to take images like I do. In this article, I’ll try to clarify that. Note that this won’t be covering technique or procedures in any way, but rather just what you need to get into it.
The first thing to mention is that there are 3 types of astrophotography:
- widefield / landscape;
- solar system; and
- deep sky.
Each of these types will require vastly different equipment and techniques, as well as software and technique for post processing. I’ll be covering each of these 3 types and what is required to get the best results.
The Effects Of Deep Space Image Stacking
In my last article, I discussed lunar image stacking in detail. Since then, I’ve received a few questions on deep sky stacking and what images should look like at the 3 major stages of processing: raw, stacked, and final product. So I’m going to briefly show what the results of stacking are in this article. Continue reading “The Effects Of Deep Space Image Stacking”
Lunar image stacking. Is it worth it?
To stack, or not to stack? Most astrophotographers will agree it’s necessity with deep sky images, but is it really necessary for lunar imaging when the moon is so big and bright in the sky? There are a lot of single frame photos of the moon that show incredible detail, so is it really worthwhile going through the process of taking dozens, or even hundreds or thousands of images and then stacking them? Are the results really that visible? In this article, I we’ll go through the process of stacking a lunar image and see the results at each step along the way. Continue reading “Lunar image stacking. Is it worth it?”
Good Advice for for the (Starry) Night Life
Hello again. Welcome back to another instalment of the DAA blog!
I’ve been quite busy and quite active this summer when it comes to photography. I’ve been out shooting almost every weekend where the weather cooperates. Anyone who’s been following me on Facebook, Flickr, and Twitter will know I’ve published a lot of pics over the last few months. I’m even beginning to think that now I no longer can call myself a novice at astrophotography. I believe I’ve stepped into the the “intermediate” category. I’m still learning, but I’m at a stage now where I’m experienced enough to know what I need to do, what not to do, and understand how my different settings on my camera will affect my final product.
Continue reading “Good Advice for for the (Starry) Night Life”
Dew Control, Ghetto Style: Keeping Your Optics Dew-Free On A Budget
Dew. It’s the enemy of anyone outside at night with optics. It will form on your lenses or mirrors and bring an end to your observing or photography session. Any night photography enthusiast who lives in a humid climate has likely encountered this hindrance, and has likely lost a couple of photo session due to it.
As astronomers and astrophotographers, we’re all aware of dew control solutions. The cheapest solution for Cassegrain-style scopes and comes in the form of a dew shield. It extends past the corrector plate and helps mitigate dew formation. However, that doesn’t help much when pointing straight up. And even when shooting lower to the horizon, a dew shield will at most buy you a bit of time.
The most reliable dew control is using dew heaters. But it’s not cheap. Heating strips for most telescopes will set you back at least $100, and you still need to buy the controller, which can range anywhere form cheap 2-channel controllers for $100, to multi-channel for several hundred dollars. All serious astronomers will likely get a real dew control system at some point. But for someone just starting out and in need of a lot of gear, forking out $200 plus buying a heavy-duty battery that can handle the stress of dew heaters is not necessarily feasible. Continue reading “Dew Control, Ghetto Style: Keeping Your Optics Dew-Free On A Budget”
How To Shoot The Milky Way And Night Sky With A DSLR Camera
(Blog updated November 2016)
Shooting the night sky for the first time can be a daunting process that can be a challenge even for an experienced photographer doing it for the first time. You’re operating under a completely different set of rules than you would shooting more typical targets in either natural or artificial light. So I figured I would put together this brief guide outlining what equipment is needed and the technique to get the best results out of your time under the stars. Continue reading “How To Shoot The Milky Way And Night Sky With A DSLR Camera”