Misc Astrophotography (Shoot the ISS, etc) besides moon shots...

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by mtbdudex, Mar 6, 2010.

  1. macrumors 68000

    mtbdudex

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2007
    Location:
    SE Michigan
    #1
    For those curious about looking up, this site will show you passovers of various "stuff" up there to shoot.
    http://www.heavens-above.com/

    I thought it might be neat to have a "Misc Astrophotography (Shoot the ISS, etc) besides moon shots..." thread, and see how creative some other members shots can be for Astrophotography.
    (since there is a moon shot thread already)

    Here are last night March-05 shot(s), clear skies, 5 minutes of ISS visible over SE Michigan.
    I had 4 people from work (@ their homes) looking up and 3 other families also looking up last night.

    Owen and I were outside 7:05pm, quickly setting up for the ISS 5 minute flyover @ 7:18pm.
    I was taking test exposure 20 sec shots, Owen was very excited and first to spot the ISS over the horizon. These are 20 & 25 sec shots on tripod.

    My lone helper last night, yes we still have 4-5" of snow on ground here:
    [​IMG]

    ISS Rising over the South-West Horizon, afterglow from sun quite visible in time exposure. I had to tweak my settings via test shots.
    [​IMG]

    ISS moving above the South-West treeline
    [​IMG]

    ISS directly overhead
    [​IMG]

    ISS moving towards North-East Horizon
    [​IMG]

    ISS fadded before setting in North-East Horizon
    [​IMG]
     
  2. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2008
    #2
    Cool shots.

    I'd leave the column down on the tripod next time though. It is a little harder to line up the shot, but the tripod is much more stable without the column extended.
     
  3. Guest

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Italy
    #3
    really cool shots!!
    Just curious, I seem to see some grain/noise, is it because of the high ISO or some compression stuff?
     
  4. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Duluth, MN
    #4
    I'll play, here is a shot of the ISS and Shuttle Discovery over my hometown on March 18, 2009.

    [​IMG]

    John
     
  5. thread starter macrumors 68000

    mtbdudex

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2007
    Location:
    SE Michigan
    #5
    Thx, as is I leave the thinnest legs non-extended and do put the center column up, I've found by trial/error its the best way to keep stability and still use the tripod.

    Actually I need a Tripod with more weight capability, I recognize that. What I bought 2+ years ago (Manfrotto 785B Modo) for P&S is just barely acceptable for my DSLR body+kit lens. http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=410097&highlight=tripod Just trying to spread the $$$ on other stuff before I buy a 10lb capable tripod.
     
  6. thread starter macrumors 68000

    mtbdudex

    Joined:
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    #6
    Hmmm, I shot first 2 at ISO 100 for 20 sec, middle 2 at ISO 800 for 25 sec, last one at ISO 200 for 25 sec.
    Upon checking I do see the noise in the RAW itself, I re-PP'd them with less unsharp on first 2 and 0 un-sharp on last 2, no real diff. I usually upload to picasa-web 1000pix wide (fast upload), tried uploading @ 1600pix wide (better quality setting) still basically same.
    I have to check my T1i manual, for long time exposures there is a setting to reduce noise from that??

    Wait, I know, it's my decent "kit lens", I'm at the limits of it's optic ability.
    I need to discuss with my wife about some "L" glass upgrade and scale down our summer vacation, instead buy some better glass..:rolleyes:

    These are re-PP versions in timg, click for 1600pix wide.
    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  7. thread starter macrumors 68000

    mtbdudex

    Joined:
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    SE Michigan
    #7
    Way cool John, this a series of time exposures stacked??
    I'll do some image stacking this year, always learning.
    With just 4 more ISS/Shuttle hook-up's have to capture that.
     
  8. Guest

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Italy
    #8
    [​IMG] is my favorite of the series:)
    the vertical shot seems the noisiest, are you sure it has nothing to do with Picasa adding noise or something? The exif data seems to indicate an ISO of 100, which is best for low noise long exposures
    How did you focus? It could be the raw processing as well, I don't really know:)
     
  9. thread starter macrumors 68000

    mtbdudex

    Joined:
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    #9
    For focusing stars:
    I usually use live view, pick a bright star, go to 10x, then manually dial it in back/forth, splitting the middle between outta focus and what appears to be dead on focus.
     
  10. thread starter macrumors 68000

    mtbdudex

    Joined:
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    #10
    Taken tonight with the moon sliver getting ready to set over my home, as the ISS rose over the horizon:
    8:57pm - 9:02pm ISS passed over SE Michigan.
    These are 30 sec exposures, tripod, ISO 800, F 5.6, 18mm.
    I like 20 sec better, stars appear crisper.
    Rising from NW corner to SE corner this time:
    [​IMG]

    Overhead:
    [​IMG]

    Setting/going below sunshine horizon:
    (the glow on that pine tree is light pollution from 2.5 miles away...)
    [​IMG]

    ISS also passed over yesterday, I tried my 55-250 kit zoom @ 250mm, all I got was a orange dot....guess I need at least 1000mm to get some ISS detail. Until then I'll look at others with bigger lens than I for those shots.
     
  11. thread starter macrumors 68000

    mtbdudex

    Joined:
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    #11
    ISS has a visitor, STS-131.
    4/10 I took these (clickable):
    (I like the moon in upstairs window reflection, it was just rising)
    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    and 4/12, this morning, took these as they went thru the Big Dipper (clickable):
    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  12. thread starter macrumors 68000

    mtbdudex

    Joined:
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    #12
  13. thread starter macrumors 68000

    mtbdudex

    Joined:
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    #13
    July-4-2010 ISS captured (six 20 sec exposures)

    With clear skies, dry night, and moon not rising until 1am I was attempting my 1st start trails, taking 20 sec exposures @ ISO800, 18mm, f4. Used Live to focus on stars, 10x and manual until I found "center" sharpest spot.

    Well, upon downloading the images appears I got the ISS in 6 frames, and checked heavens-above, yep the ISS totally passed thru, so here is the ISS just after midnight 7-4-2010 EDT.

    Neat surprise!

    I quickly threw the 6 images into PSE8 and used "Photomerge group shot", just painting on the ISS streak in each pict. I'm guessing not the most sophisticated PP method, but it worked for this image.
    Next put the PSE8 exported TIFF into Aperture and tweaked the black point and exposure (stray light from 2 miles away Wal-mart/Meijers...), then some sharpening, that's all the PP done.
    [​IMG]

    Confirmed via heavens-above:
    [​IMG]
     
  14. thread starter macrumors 68000

    mtbdudex

    Joined:
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    Location:
    SE Michigan
    #14
    I've seen lots of great star trails, and I've finally processed my 1st star trail.
    This is neat for a 1st timer!!
    -108 images @ 20 seconds each
    -18mm, ISO 800, f4
    -T1i, kit 18-55 IS lens
    >>stray light so I used 20 seconds @ ISO800 to try and limit the background brightness.

    I have a newer 27" iMac (i7, 2TB HD, 8GB RAM), so I did the star trails under VM Fusion, workable but a few extra steps to export to the Windows XP OS, run that app, then back to the MacOS into Aperture for PP.
    (PP was exposure/black point adjust, curves - set black point, levels in that order)

    My wife had the upstairs reading lamp on and it gave a neat reference point I think for the image, and my daughters 1st floor night light also gave a faint ref point.
    (I actually ran upstairs and asked her to shut it off after 2 minutes, so it's only in the 1st 6-7 images, I was going to edit it out but liked the effect)

    The ISS is the 6 sequential streaks, the green streaks are lighting bugs, but I also think I captured a faint shooting star to the right of the roof going horizontal.
    I saw it in one of the frames as I scanned thru and definitely not a plane, it's only in 1 image.
    By the power/cable lines the dots are the DTW flight path for planes coming from west side of USA, those are dots.
    There also appears to be some hot/cold sensor spotting which I also have to further investigate, my T1i is only 7 months old. (if someone points me to a thread on sensor issues I'd appreciate it)
    [​IMG]
     
  15. thread starter macrumors 68000

    mtbdudex

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    #15
    I made my first attempt at using DSS for shooting the milky way July 4 @ 1am, what I did wrong that I know now:
    -not really knowing the exact orientation of the Milky Way at the date/time
    -Not taking dark , flat , offset/bias frames at all

    Still, I learned how to sorta use DSS, look "up", get many mosquito bites, etc, so gained knowledge.

    I now will use this 15 year old simple tool for correct milky way location & shooting, found it afterward:
    [​IMG]


    Here's the best I could get outta DSS for my 22 RAW images processed (ISO 1600, 30 sec, f4, 21mm - I moved it from 18mm by accident when focusing on a star...).
    [​IMG]

    Here's the import into Aperture 3, showing the raw TIFF import on RH and after I did some PP on LH
    [​IMG]

    Here's my 1sy Milky Way, I realize camera not pointed in correct portion of sky.
    [​IMG]

    If the remaining thin clouds move away I'll attempt more shots tonight, if not tomorrow.

    For other astronomy buff here:
    Q1: With 18-55mm kit lens, shooting at 18mm what star/constellation is best to center on for dramatic effect?
    Q2: Do you take various portions of the milky way, process in DSS, then stitch them together for a panorama?
     
  16. macrumors 68040

    acearchie

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2006
    #16
    I know no one has really posted in a while but I just wanted to say great shots!

    I am really like the trails and especially the milky way shot.

    I have never done any night time shooting as it requires too much patience but I commend you on what you have achieved!
     
  17. macrumors newbie

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    London
    #17
    Oh

    I can't express how disappointed I was when I clicked upon this only to discover it wasn't about Miss Astrophotography.

    I need new glasses...
     
  18. thread starter macrumors 68000

    mtbdudex

    Joined:
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    #18
    Thx for feedback, much clear skies last night, here is my 2nd Milky Way:
    -All Images 7/10/2010 12:20am -12:42am EDT shot in RAW with kit lens 18-55 IS (18mm, ISO800, f.5, 20 sec) , transferred to jpg w/o any PP (my RAW DSS fails, and the T1i is registered in the RAW converter it uses....)
    -processed via DSS with 62 light images, 18 dark images, 19 bias images, 20 flat frames
    -Some post DSS PP done in Apple Aperture 3.0 (slight crop, curves, levels, sharpen)

    C&C appreciated, I can't see to "find" color in my image for the milky way.....
    [​IMG]
     
  19. macrumors 68040

    acearchie

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2006
    #19

    I don't really understand how you make these images. Is it a similar technique to HDR as in bracketed exposures to get the mixture of exposure and the comp. works out where the stars are?
     
  20. thread starter macrumors 68000

    mtbdudex

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    #20
    I use DSS software - only on WinTel, http://deepskystacker.free.fr/english/index.html , so use it under VMware Fusion + WinXP, sorta a pain to download images into Aperture, export to folder, copy folder to WinXP, process in DSS, and then back to Aperture.

    Not HDR, rather sophisticated image stacking stuff, hence its called "Deep Sky Stacker" - that I'm on steep learning curve.
    My brain is tired from late nights, then processing in DSS, then processing in Aperture.
    So much to learn in the hobby among its various branches, that's the neat thing about DSLR's.
     
  21. thread starter macrumors 68000

    mtbdudex

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    #21
    2nd Star trails shot;
    -178 images, all taken RAW, ISO400, 20 sec each, f 3.5, 18mm
    -taken 7-11 1:26am thru 2:27am, just over 1 hour images
    -Star trails via app "StarTrails" processing
    -some post PP done in Aperture 3
    [​IMG]
     
  22. thread starter macrumors 68000

    mtbdudex

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    #22
    This 3rd Milky Way is the mid-sky to southern portion, after looking at other Milky Way images I turned up the colors slightly.
    These taken same night as 2nd one, just re-orientated the camera. 12:54am - 1:08 am.
    -shot in RAW with kit lens 18-55 IS (18mm, ISO800, f3.5, 20 sec) ,
    -stacked via DSS with 39 light images, 10 dark images, 15 bias images, 20 flat frames
    -all post DSS PP done in Apple Aperture 3.0 (slight crop, curves, levels, saturation, vibrancy, slight sharpen)

    Looking at the picts on the web, hard to decide how much color to dial into it, hope the below not "too much" for the experts.
    [​IMG]

    and I re-visited my prior 2nd attempt and gave it slightly more color as well.
    [​IMG]
     
  23. thread starter macrumors 68000

    mtbdudex

    Joined:
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    #23
    3rd star trails....sorta maxed these in my lot, next up is over a lake when up north on vacation in 2 weeks (darker/no light pollution...)
    Those are fireflies in the foreground.
    Taken 7/16 late with my new Canon 15-85 @ 15mm, stacked multiple photos shot at ISO 400 and 20 second exposure each.
    #3
    [​IMG]

    #4; same as #3 above but all original frames included, which shows irritating airplane - red dots, 6 frames/2 minutes worth.
    Note: during these time exposures I went in the home and turned on the outside lights for 1 sec, do people like the illuminated look or dark look?
    [​IMG]
     
  24. macrumors 68020

    spencers

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    Sep 20, 2004
    #24
    I like the silhouetted look.

    Great shots! Thanks for all the details. Might go try this sometime.
     
  25. macrumors 6502a

    NeGRit0

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    #25

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