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Old Aug 20, 2005, 3:42 PM   #1
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Going over some night-time shots from last year, I discovered a couple of shots that looked like good candidates for AutoStitch. Totally unintentional, but I think itworked out fine.

Cheers,

Tom, on Point Pelee, Canada
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Old Aug 21, 2005, 4:25 AM   #2
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I think you're right, that did work out well, and looks like you've even captured a few stars in there

John.
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Old Aug 21, 2005, 5:52 AM   #3
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...a few stars, and some lens-flare from the full moon rising just off the frame to the right. I may be able to do a version that includes the moon, but if I recall correctly that series of shots is froma slightly different location. I wonder how Autostitch will deal with that.

Tom, on Point Pelee, Canada
http://tomoverton.myphotoalbum.com


<Edit> No dice... but here's one of the shots with the moon rising over some farmland. I like the look of the low clouds.


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Old Aug 21, 2005, 1:26 PM   #4
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I like that one too, but I prefer the first one I think.

Out of curiosity, were these taken during twilight, or fully after dark? Also what kind of exposure / ISO setting did you use? I ask because someone who should know, told me that you can't really take pictures of the stars and moon, because they move across the sky too fast compared to the exposure time needed. Obviously it looks like he was wrong : so much for pro photographers then! :shock:

Many thanks, John.
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Old Aug 29, 2005, 8:32 PM   #5
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Hi John;

Sorry for not getting back to you, I was on vacation.

I have learned one or two things about photographing stars with a standard digicam. First, you will get star-trails with the long exposures needed to capture the night sky.

You can minimize this in a couple of ways. Of course, the most obvious solution is to use your camera's most sensitive settings. These were shot at f-2.8 at ISO 400 (for 16 seconds, my camera's maximum). This results in a noisy image that will need fairly agressive noise reduction, but as there is not much important detail besides the stars, it is not that much of a problem.

The second thing is to shoot as wide as possible. If you zoom, you will exaggerate the star movement. Think of your lens as a fulcrum. At its widest setting, it is close to your sensor and the star-movement is minimized. At full zoom, it is farther from the sensor, so any movement on the other side of the lens is mapped to a larger area of your sensor. (This is why any sort of zoom photograpy requires fast shutter speeds and a very steady hand or a tripod.)

Of course, you could hook your camera up to a telescope with a tracking drive (not that expensive) and shoot individual stars, planets or constellations.

I hope this answers your questions. I figured this out before anyone told me it couldn't be done. :-)

Cheers,

Tom, on Point Pelee, Canada
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Old Aug 30, 2005, 4:22 AM   #6
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Thanks Tom, that pretty much answers my questions, if that's at ISO 400 then I'm impressed, I don't think my Kodak would do that well at that setting. I think I'll leave the tracking gear to the specialists for now,

Hope you had a good vacation,

John.
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Old Aug 31, 2005, 7:55 AM   #7
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Tom, how do you handle 'light pollution". Being in the city the skies are lit-up with light from major roads.


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Old Aug 31, 2005, 8:38 AM   #8
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nlp239 wrote:
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Tom, how do you handle 'light pollution". Being in the city the skies are lit-up with light from major roads.
I agree that light polution can pose quite a problem for photographers and astronomy enthusiasts. Fortunately, I live about an hour away from Windsor/Detroit, so unless I aim directly at the horizon in that direction, there really isn't a problem.

The farm country in our area is fairly sparsely populated, so the little light from there dosen't hurt the skies too much. I'm sure if I were doing true astrophotography my opinions on this would change, but in essence, what I do is landscape photography... in the dark.

In fact, some of my evening sky shots are unsatisfactory because there isn't enough light on the earth-bound scenery.

Cheers,

Tom, on Point Pelee, Canada
http://tomoverton.myphotoalbum.com
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