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Old Jan 20, 2014, 4:06 AM   #1
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Default FZ200's journey into space!

Last two nights, I spent some time exploring the skies with the new camera, and it did take me through a good journey. See for yourself.

Launch with a cloudy sky:



Getting past the clouds to have closer look at the moon:


Jupiter spotted. Wait, what are those little dots? Its moons! 4 of them!


Shifting the view to the Orion constellation:


A look at his sword (below the 3-star belt), and look what I found: the Orion Nebula!


Turning back to earth, a look at the beautiful Pleiades cluster:


Back home, and a quick recap of areas visited. (Jupiter's moons change fast)


(All these pictures were taken with available zoom/extended zoom; no tele-lens, a little PP with Gimp. Wish I had borrowed Carol's FZ70 to have a peep at Saturn's rings, which were not visible on my camera. Superzooms are mini telescopes!)
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Old Jan 20, 2014, 12:52 PM   #2
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I can see the face of a badger in pic 1
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Old Jan 20, 2014, 8:35 PM   #3
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Interesting series Raghu, enjoyed viewing.

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Old Jan 20, 2014, 10:41 PM   #4
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These are FANTASTIC Raghu!!! Please share your camera settings. Did you manually focus? I always have trouble setting to infinity in the dark.
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Old Jan 21, 2014, 12:19 AM   #5
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Thank you, Darren, Jim and Saly. Saly - nice to see you back with the monarchs. Hope you will have or make time to visit this space regularly in the future.

To answer your question on manual focusing for dark sky, Saly, it is easier said than done. You need enormous patience and several trial shots. Let me tell you how I did it.

First, get the object to the centre of the screen. This you can do at wide angle and preferably with high ISO, verifying with playback immediately after testing a shot. Make sure you really get it at dead centre, else it will move away as you zoom. Then, you can slowly zoom in, keeping the object at the centre. Don't worry if the stars are not sharp. Just concentrate on keeping the object in the centre.

Once you reach the required zoom, carefully operate the manual focus in increments. I was amazed how the moons of Jupiter showed as sharp points in just the middle two of the several incremental steps, only to diffuse and blur before and after those two steps. The tilting screen is of real help here.

Don't zoom all the way to infinity. It is interesting to note that focus is achieved a few steps before infinity, even for far-off objects such as the Orion nebula!

When on manual focus operation, the screen image automatically enlarges, which is of much help. Once you reach the desired point, just move your hands away and in a moment the normal screen appears. I had mounted the camera on a tripod (flimsy, free one I had got when I purchased the FZ3 in the grey market long time back), and had to wait for the shakes to settle every time you touched the camera. Once settled, I set the camera on self timer, mostly 10-second, 3-shots option, and chose the best.

The shots of Jupiter's moons and the Pleiades cluster took a long time and several trial shots to finally get the desired output.

It is difficult to specify the settings - I was really trying all variations, from f2.8 to f8, and 8 seconds to 1 second exposure, and from ISO 100 up to even 800! Please visit my flickr pages and check the EXIF info there. All pictures there are public and downloadable.

Best of luck!
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Old Jan 21, 2014, 2:37 PM   #6
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These photos are technically very complex and well done, skilled Raghu!
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Old Jan 26, 2014, 7:05 PM   #7
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Thank you so much for the detailed instruction, Raghu! From my experience in similar attempts, this is not easy and I can imagine you put in a lot of work. I don't think most people appreciate how good these shots are.
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Old Jan 27, 2014, 10:19 AM   #8
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Thank you, Alex. I am glad YOU appreciate the work, Saly! For me, it counts!
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Old Mar 3, 2014, 1:00 AM   #9
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Wow... Mr Raghu... Jupiter and her moons... Orion neb.. You sir have inspired me.
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Old Mar 3, 2014, 6:12 AM   #10
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Well, photography inspires me, and I am glad I inspired you! Keep shooting - we all would like to your posts!
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