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How to start photographing the sky?

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posted on Mar, 8 2017 @ 08:08 AM
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Ive been mindblown by this recent thread about astrophotography www.abovetopsecret.com...

Although I have always wished to start taking pictures of the cosmos Ive always put it aside thinking it was way too complicated. Best pictures ive took of the moon were with my cellphone and it looks like nothing.

So basically I have zero experience in photography but would love some tips on how to start progressively. What basic equipment to get and how to approach it all.

Would be very grateful.

I have a budget of 1000$ for now that I could put in this project.




posted on Mar, 8 2017 @ 08:56 AM
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a reply to: Golantrevize



Start with a good tripod!!!

I favor mirrorless cameras like the Panasonic G7. Also great for video...

The Kit lens should suffice but a good zoom will make the experience much nicer.

Should get you under the 1k mark



posted on Mar, 8 2017 @ 09:01 AM
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a reply to: olaru12

What do you mean by mirrorless. What dies it imply? Thx



posted on Mar, 8 2017 @ 09:09 AM
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posted on Mar, 8 2017 @ 09:12 AM
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originally posted by: Golantrevize
a reply to: olaru12

What do you mean by mirrorless. What dies it imply? Thx


It means the image goes thru the lens directly to the sensor. Much more efficient.

www.bhphotovideo.com...



posted on Mar, 8 2017 @ 09:16 AM
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a reply to: olaru12

Many cameras also have a mirror lock mode, or like my camera, using Live Mode locks the mirror up to avoid mirror vibration.

However: When it comes to doing most star shots the vibration of the mirror does not last long enough to cause issues with the shot since exposures are going to be 10 seconds or longer and the light being captures is very faint.

Where most run into a problem with the mirror vibration is when taking images of very bright objects while zoomed in, like the Moon, and mostly only after you have gone above 500mm focal length.

ETA: also be aware - trying to use the direct imaging on to the CCD for lining up the shot will not work as the stars are much to faint in most cases to use any type of live mode.
edit on 3/8/2017 by eriktheawful because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 8 2017 @ 09:39 AM
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a reply to: eriktheawful

Thanks for that information. My focus is mainly on the video capabilities of a dslr or 4/3 for making films. I should start taking more stills.



posted on Mar, 8 2017 @ 10:23 AM
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a reply to: olaru12

Video for astrophotgraphy is mostly for bright objects like the Moon and the planets (Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn).

The stars and nebula are quite faint and take longer exposures. As you know, video is taking many frames per second.

Here is a still shot of the Big Dipper of only 5 seconds:



In order to do video or live viewing of the stars and nebula with a camera, you'd need one with some sort of very special and sensitive CCD built into it.



posted on Mar, 8 2017 @ 10:39 AM
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a reply to: eriktheawful

Thank you ill go through them after work



posted on Mar, 8 2017 @ 11:55 AM
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a reply to: Golantrevize

I usually start with my camera.



posted on Mar, 8 2017 @ 05:17 PM
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A tripod, a DSLR camera (or a mirrorless one), and some wide-angle and telephoto lens.

Then just experiment with ISO and exposure settings, see what gets the best results.

As an example, here's a photo I took using Canon 600D and 50mm prime lens:

Hyades and Pleiades


And now for telephoto lens - Canon 600D and Sigma DG lens at 300mm:

Orion


Pleiades


The Moon


All I did was set the camera to high ISO and 1 to 2 seconds exposure, point the camera at the target, and click the button. (Photographing the Moon requires a much shorter exposure)


edit on 8-3-2017 by wildespace because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 8 2017 @ 09:57 PM
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originally posted by: wildespace
A tripod, a DSLR camera (or a mirrorless one), and some wide-angle and telephoto lens.

Then just experiment with ISO and exposure settings, see what gets the best results.

As an example, here's a photo I took using Canon 600D and 50mm prime lens:

Hyades and Pleiades


And now for telephoto lens - Canon 600D and Sigma DG lens at 300mm:

Orion


Pleiades


The Moon


All I did was set the camera to high ISO and 1 to 2 seconds exposure, point the camera at the target, and click the button. (Photographing the Moon requires a much shorter exposure)


amazing, how do you decide what you will photograph, do you just aim at the sky and look for cool stuff or prepare in advance exactly what you want to photograph on a given night



posted on Mar, 8 2017 @ 10:16 PM
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a reply to: Golantrevize

I can't speak for wildspace, but I can tell you what I do.

On nights when the Moon is out, it's a bit harder to take star shots because the Moon is so bright it can wash out your star shots. So on nights like that, I take images of the Moon.

On Moonless nights, it depends on the time of year for me. Winter and early spring, I tend to concentrate on the constellation of Orion. During the summer months I tend to concentrate on trying to take shots of the Milky Way itself.

Deep space objects (nebula, galaxies, etc), You'll need a mount for your camera to track the shots because the more you zoom in, the less time you have to expose the frame before the object moves.

It's called the Rule of 500. For example, if I use a 35mm lens for a star shot, you take 500 and divide it by 35, and the answer is just over 14. That means you'll only have 14 seconds you can expose the image before you start to get star trails.

So if you use like a telephoto lens, like 500mm, 500 / 500 = 1. So you'd only have 1 second and that's nowhere near enough to take images of faint objects like nebula or galaxies.

In those cases, you'll need a mount that moves the camera with the rotation of the Earth to keep the object from trailing. All this is in one of the links I posted for you in my earlier post.

One thing that helps is to get familiar with the night sky and what is where and at what time of the year. Something that can help you with that is a free program call Stellarium.

It's completely free and you can use it to figure out where things are in the sky.



posted on Mar, 8 2017 @ 10:31 PM
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originally posted by: eriktheawful
a reply to: Golantrevize

I can't speak for wildspace, but I can tell you what I do.

On nights when the Moon is out, it's a bit harder to take star shots because the Moon is so bright it can wash out your star shots. So on nights like that, I take images of the Moon.

On Moonless nights, it depends on the time of year for me. Winter and early spring, I tend to concentrate on the constellation of Orion. During the summer months I tend to concentrate on trying to take shots of the Milky Way itself.

Deep space objects (nebula, galaxies, etc), You'll need a mount for your camera to track the shots because the more you zoom in, the less time you have to expose the frame before the object moves.

It's called the Rule of 500. For example, if I use a 35mm lens for a star shot, you take 500 and divide it by 35, and the answer is just over 14. That means you'll only have 14 seconds you can expose the image before you start to get star trails.

So if you use like a telephoto lens, like 500mm, 500 / 500 = 1. So you'd only have 1 second and that's nowhere near enough to take images of faint objects like nebula or galaxies.

In those cases, you'll need a mount that moves the camera with the rotation of the Earth to keep the object from trailing. All this is in one of the links I posted for you in my earlier post.

One thing that helps is to get familiar with the night sky and what is where and at what time of the year. Something that can help you with that is a free program call Stellarium.

It's completely free and you can use it to figure out where things are in the sky.


stars are a rare commodity in my city, ill bring the dogs for a ride tomorrow night to see how far i have to go to get a decent sky. I guess once you get the hang of things and start upgrading your gear there is some program to automatically point the camera at a specific object?



posted on Mar, 8 2017 @ 10:32 PM
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also is it only the movement of the earth you take into account over light year distances or the movement of the stars, galaxy, etc also comes into play?



posted on Mar, 8 2017 @ 11:07 PM
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a reply to: Golantrevize

There are plenty of telescope mounts (that you can mount a camera on), that once they are aligned correctly, you can tell it what you want to look at and it will move the telescope to that spot and keep it aligned with it. Most popular of these are the GoTo Mounts which can be quite pricey.

Earth's rotation is all you need to worry about. Stellar Drift and Expanding Universe will not have any effect on your star shots.



posted on Mar, 9 2017 @ 03:08 AM
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originally posted by: Golantrevize
amazing, how do you decide what you will photograph, do you just aim at the sky and look for cool stuff or prepare in advance exactly what you want to photograph on a given night

I plan each shot, because I know about quite a few objects in the night sky (i.e. what they are and where they are). Most of them are easily visible to the naked eye or binoculars, even from a city. At first, you can learn to recognise various constellations, then learn which interesting objects are located in them, and learn to use binoculars for "star hopping" in order to find those objects.

Binoculars is a great tool for any stargazer, as you can see many star clusters, at least one nebula (the Orion) and at least one galaxy (the Andromeda). The Moon looks cool in binoculars too, you can see the craters and mountains.

Learning about the night sky also includes what time of the year it is, such as "winter constellations" (Taurus, Orion, Gemini), "autumn constellations" (Cassiopeia, Perseus), and "summer constellations" (Cygnus, Lyra). Winter constellations are by far the best! So, for example, in autumn, look to find Cassiopeia and then use it to find the Andromeda galaxy and a very beautiful Perseus Double Cluster.

So, with some general knowledge of the night sky (with the help from Stellarium and Wikipedia), you would be able to just look at the night sky and easily recognize what you're looking at and what you could take pictures of.
edit on 9-3-2017 by wildespace because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 9 2017 @ 07:55 AM
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First question you have to ask yourself, what do I want?
Astro, wildlife, birding, architecture, portrait, landscape photography,...they are all 'branches' within photography and each of them has multiple other branches which require slightly different equipment. They all can be pretty basic and relatively cheap or very advanced and darn expensive.

So first ask yourself what do I want?
Search some photos, examples on internet or the links 'eriktheawful' has provided and try to figure out how were they taken? Maybe you could post them here so members can give you advice on how to achieve them.

If you're familiar with basic photography, this will help you a lot with astrophotography, it can be a pretty steep learning curve depending on what you want. Forget all the automated function on your camera, when you go into the night it's all manual from here.

With a 1000 dollars you can get a basic but decent tripod, camera and lens to get you started. The glass/lens is imo the most important part of the setup.



posted on Mar, 9 2017 @ 08:03 AM
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a reply to: wildespace

That's indeed the best way to learn about the nightsky. In very short time you will know to navigate the nightsky like you're walking around in your neighborhood.
There are some good apps available that will help you a lot. Skymap app has been and still is very helpful to me. Highly recommend that one especially if you' re a beginner.



posted on Mar, 9 2017 @ 08:06 AM
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a reply to: eriktheawful




Expanding Universe will not have any effect on your star shots.





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