reply to post by FosterVS
Actually, I try to be vague about my equipment to encourage people to experiment. Otherwise nobody will do any better than me, and the goal is to
advance the art. The other problem is some of my gear isn't made anymore. Even my tripod is obsoleted. I will put a write up on how to do these long
distance shots on my "to do" list.
The really short list of how to do these photos is:
1) A tripod that is small enough to fit in a frame backpack. Carbon fiber suggested since you will be hiking up a mountain.
2) Gear head strong enough for a telescope
3) APO refractor telescope around 75mm aperture
3) barlow, powermate, barlow plus teleconverter, or eyepiece projection hardware
4) DSLR with live view and focus magnifier
My secret sauce is a stack of two filters. One is a 400nm UV long pass. That is to cut down on haze. The other is a KR1.5, which is to adjust the
color balance, reducing the blue cast in the image. While some people think color cast is something to fix in post, they aren't doing this kind of
photography. The blue cast will end up setting the exposure because it is so dominant. You really want to tame the blue cast with a filter so that red
green and blue pixels are in the same neighborhood. One you do that, exposure is very noncritical because the image itself will not have much of a
dynamic range due to all the atmosphere. That is, black viewed through 25 miles of air is a dark gray and white is a light gray. You will need to
expand the dynamic range in post.
The gear head is kind of critical. There is a Bogen 3263 on ebay with a buy it now if you are serious about this. The price is good, not great, but it
is hard to find. The next step down is the Bogen 410, and it isn't stable enough for a telescope. I have to say the Bogen 3263 is freakin' heavy. I
just haven't found a lighter one that works.
When you use a tripod, you don't want to use the center element to get height. You should get all the height you want in the legs. So any tripod with
a crank for the center element is not what you want. The closest to what I have that they make today Velbon Geo N series. You want a 25lb capable
model, maybe the 730 model. Mine is an old Carmagne model. It was a carbon fiber tripod with magnesium head. You had to buy both pieces. It turns out
the head is decent and I ended up using it for non-telescope use.