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Old Feb 12, 2012, 1:14 AM   #1
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Default First Try Shooting Stars [Pics Added + Better Quality]

Snapped these last night in Arches National Park. My first ever night landscape shots. Feel free to comment/critique.














Last edited by hoffam19; Feb 12, 2012 at 3:13 AM.
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Old Feb 13, 2012, 2:36 PM   #2
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G'day hoffam

Well 'good-on-yer-mate' for giving it a try > astro photog is not always easy -apart from often being cold too-

Of your samples #3 and #5 are best - #5 is in focus and well exposed too > well done

Several issues here that may help future astro pix
It is very hard to prefocus a lens on infinity at night as it's so damn hard to see anything ... so I start my astro pix with some test-focus shots first

Camera is set to MF, ISO-1000, 18mm, "M", f5,6 x 15 or 60sec(*). Lens is also fitted with lens hood [to minimise torch glow when I inspect things during the night]. (*) 15-sec for superzoom with NR='auto', 60-sec for SLR with NR='off'

If using the SLR where infinity is marked on the lens, I use that setting and wrap some masking tape onto the focus ring to 'lock' it in place

If using the superzoom with inbuilt zoom lens, I do a 30-sec pic, eyeball the result, turn manual focus ring 2mm [1/16"] - try again ... till I get a sharp pic > then wrap some masking tape around the manual focus ring

Once things are in focus and the exposure on-the-go, I go off for a cuppa, coming back every so often to double-check all's well. If there is dew falling, I need to wipe the lens every 5-mins or so. Whenever I approach the tripod, the small torch is held between my fingers to minimise any light shining directly onto the lens itself

Hope this helps for starters > let's see more of your pix & I'm happy to post some of mine if you wish to compare notes
Regards, Phil
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Old Feb 14, 2012, 8:36 PM   #3
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Hey Phil, thanks for the comments and pointers. It was very cold out in the desert that night. I probably won't get around to giving it another go until this spring or summer, but I see a lot more of this type of photog in my future. It was fun "painting" the rocks with my flashlight in different areas and angles to see what kind of interesting images I could get.
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Old Feb 15, 2012, 5:53 PM   #4
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Loving these hoffam19... and I can see the Pleiades cluster on 1 and 5..!
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Old Feb 16, 2012, 9:37 PM   #5
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Those are some amazing shots. Did you use a tracking mount? I would love to do astrophotography but all I can shoot right now are the moon and star trails. The light painting was very effective, and that shooting star in one of your picks was a great capture.
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Old Feb 17, 2012, 12:43 PM   #6
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Hey thanks guys, glad you like them. y0chang, I did not use a tracking mount, I just kept my exposure lengths short enough so there wasn't enough time to create trails. I used 20 seconds for all the static shots. I think the shooting star you're referring to was actually an airplane, but I did get a good show while I was out there. Unfortunately, I didn't get it on camera, but a meteor flew over so close I actually heard it before I saw it. Lit up the whole sky.
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Old Feb 29, 2012, 4:34 PM   #7
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Good job! I like #3 and #5 the best.

So far, I've done all my star shots at my house, so I can go indoors when it's too cold, or if I get bored (or spooked!) standing out there all alone in the dark.
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Old Mar 15, 2012, 3:47 PM   #8
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Very nice work. I like #4 as the aircraft lights appear as an arrow piercing Orion's heart. You picked a great night to do this.
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Old Mar 24, 2012, 11:46 PM   #9
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What was the shutter speed for 2 and 4? And what camera did you use?
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Old Mar 26, 2012, 2:33 PM   #10
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I used a sony a580 with a tokina 11-16 f2.8 lens. 12min exposure for 2 and 20min exposure for 4. Those two were mainly just test shots to see how much noise the camera created at those exposures. If I was going to get serious about star trails, I would shoot 30 sec exposures and stack them.
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