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Orion Molecular Cloud Complex

Full Frame vs Crop Sensor: Is Full Frame Worth The Extra Cost?

Full frame, crop sensor DX, APS-C, FX, full frame equivalent… These are terms that get thrown around a lot when it comes to digital cameras and lenses. And rightfully, it can also be a source of confusion for novice or intermediate-level photographers who don’t know what they mean or how it affects their photography. In this article, I’ll attempt to introduce these concepts in simple terms and how they can affect your images when their applied to astrophotography.

Review: Sky-Watcher Star Adventurer

TRACKING THE SKY

For the last 3 years, my lightweight portable tracker consisted of an iOptron SkyTracker. It was my primary photography tool through the winters when hauling my scope outside wasn’t always feasible, and through the summer served me well for long exposure Milky Way photography and time lapse sequences.

But while this fine little tracker served me well and provided me with some really great shots of the sky, it left me disappointed about a month back when without warning, it decided to give up the ghost on me as chronicled in this blog post. [EDIT: it has since been repaired]  Winter is rapidly approaching and I needed to get a replacement stat! Enter the Sky-Watcher Star Adventurer! Continue reading “Review: Sky-Watcher Star Adventurer”

Tutorial: Stacking Night Sky Images in Adobe Photoshop

From widefield images shot with your camera to deep space images shot with a telescope, all astrophotography can benefit from stacking. Windows users benefit from free tools readily available online such as DeepSkyStacker, as well as some fantastic, albeit expensive, paid applications.

Mac users are left out, as all they have available to them are the expensive, paid options.  However, most photographers already have Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop, the most common image editing tools on the market. And you actually can align and stack your astro-images using these tool!

This video will give you a step by step guide into preparing your images in Lightroom for export and stacking in Photoshop. Continue reading “Tutorial: Stacking Night Sky Images in Adobe Photoshop”

R.I.P. iOptron SkyTracker (November 2013 – November 2016)

Back in the fall of 2013, I had a decision to make. I had been into astrophotography for about a year at this point, and I already knew winter seriously put a kink into my astrophotography plans. My only telescope and mount at the time was my 8″ Meade LX90 on its fork mount. I had owned this telescope for 3 years at that point, and there were 2 things that were quite clear about it already that worked against me in the cold of winter:

  1. Setup took quite a long time, so I was frozen by the time I was ready to start imaging; and
  2. Once temperatures hit 0ºC and colder, the display on the handset controller didn’t work any more, making navigating to anything impossible.

I had to do something!

Continue reading “R.I.P. iOptron SkyTracker (November 2013 – November 2016)”

Explore Scientific "Essentials" ED80 triplet apochromatic

Review: Explore Scientific “Essential Series” ED80

If you’re into astrophotography, chances are that a short focal length apochromatic refractor is on your “to buy” list if you don’t already own one. There are prized instruments for their elimination of chromatic aberration and high contrast, true colour images and the tool of choice for many astrophotographers. The problem the “common folk” face with apo refractors is they tend to be quite pricey for even small apertures. While there are several small aperture apochromatic telescopes available at comparable prices, they often significantly fall short in one department or another.

The Explore Scientific Essential Series ED80 (model # ES-ED0806-01) delivers the goods with solid construction and great optics. It has a few shortcomings and compromises that keep its price affordable, but overall, this fine instrument will fulfil the needs of the most demanding photographer without breaking the bank in the process.

Continue reading “Review: Explore Scientific “Essential Series” ED80″

Site updates! Image and video galleries

Not a lot to say here other than I’ve been very hard at work trying to make this new site as complete as possible. I’ve gotten the hang of WordPress now and got myself the plugins that I need to make it work the way I want to.

As some of you may know, I spent the better part of last week building my Aurora Borealis section. This includes both an informational section on the aurora as well as my Aurora Forecast Tool. The forecasting tool was a beta work in progress for a week or so as it was  being tested and refined. It’s now complete and ready to use. Continue reading “Site updates! Image and video galleries”

Aurora Borealis

Aurora Borealis Forecasting

Over the last few months, I’ve been trying to come up with tools and resources that I would want to add to a web site that would be useful not only to myself, but to others. Product reviews and tutorials make up a large part of my posts, but I wanted something a bit more substantial – a resource that would have people returning to my site with a reason. And to that end, I’ve added a whole section on the Aurora Borealis. Continue reading “Aurora Borealis Forecasting”