The PHOTOGRAPHY thread

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Rigil Kent (May 28, 2011, 09:45:31 AM):
Taking snapshots is a popular and commonplace hobby/activity, and I would like to open this thread to encourage members to post the photographs that they wish to share with our little skeptical community. Pictures can be of artistic, scientific or general interest. The photograph must be the member's own work, and the onus is on the contributor to ensure that his/her image(s) meet all legal requirements that may apply before posting. Some additional information about the picture, such as the title, equipment, shutter speed, location etc. will be a nice addition, but is not a requirement. As with all that is published on this forum, you must be prepared for a certain amount of criticism. ;) Critics are of course reminded that solid reasons should accompany any "constructive" comments.

Let’s have fun!

Mintaka
Tweefo (May 28, 2011, 12:05:18 PM):
I would like to get into astrophotography. Where can I learn? First the equipment: I've got a 8" telescope, but that's it. My budget is not great. Who can help?
Hermes (May 28, 2011, 12:28:42 PM):
I would like to get into astrophotography. Where can I learn? First the equipment: I've got a 8" telescope, but that's it. My budget is not great. Who can help?

The Astronomical Society of SA, Johannesburg Centre has an astrophotography section. They also host Scopex, which includes an astrophotography competition. Visit them at assajhb.co.za and attend some of their meetings at Union Observatory. Pretoria would be a bit closer for you, but I don't know how on the ball their ASSA branch is when it comes to astrophotography.
Tweefo (May 29, 2011, 11:10:43 AM):

[/quote]
The Astronomical Society of SA, Johannesburg Centre has an astrophotography section. They also host Scopex, which includes an astrophotography competition. Visit them at assajhb.co.za and attend some of their meetings at Union Observatory. Pretoria would be a bit closer for you, but I don't know how on the ball their ASSA branch is when it comes to astrophotography.
[/quote]
Thanks. Problem is that I try to avoid driving at night on the open road. I've got some difficulty in judging distances at night for some reason.
How is this as my first attempt? I attached a web cam to my scope. Saturn, a 8" Meade LX 90 scope and a very cheap web cam.
Rigil Kent (May 29, 2011, 17:29:15 PM):
Tweefo, thanks for posting! I like your first attempt - more in it is recognizable as Saturn than most people would ever see for themselves.

If you live in a built up area with light pollution issues, you will be limited to photographing bright objects like star clusters, planets and the moon. Planets can be awkward due to the high magnification requirements to see any detail, and they are easily over exposed at low magnification. Some people have success by removing the webcam lens so that the telescope objective and the webcam sensor are the only components in the light-train (except for the secondary mirror in newts and cats). Such a sensor gives a magnification (power) about equivalent to a 4-6mm eyepiece. A common way of photographing planets is to take a video stream of the planet (using the same webcam sensor hooked up to your telescope), and then overlay all the hundreds of pictures using a program such as Registax (availble as a free download when I last checked). Its just amazing the amount of detail that can be teased out in this way.

For galaxies and nebulae you will need to drive to a dark location and use long exposures. You will also need an equatorial mount for your telescope, or a wedge, so that the telescope will follow the object, and also turn with the sky.

It’s probably best to start with your camera and a tripod only, and play around with photographing wide swathes of sky. A lot of people get started by making star trails.

ETA, OK, so now I couldn't resist having a bash at Saturn myself this evening! Its a tricky subject and detail eluded me, but here is what I got, nevertheless. (And admittedly tarted up a bit with a photo editor. :D)

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