Home · Register · Search · View Winners · Software · Hosting · Software · Join Upload & Sell

Moderated by: Fred Miranda, JimFox
Username   Password

FM Forum Rules
Landscape Posting Guidelines
  

FM Forums | Landscape Photographer | Join Upload & Sell

1       2       3              12      
13
       14              17       18       end
  

Nightscapes using AstroTrac Tracking Mount
  
 
vivekg
Offline

Upload & Sell: Off
p.13 #1 · p.13 #1 · Nightscapes using AstroTrac Tracking Mount


I just found this thread over the last week while I have been trying to figure out what to get. I am loving all the pictures with the big scopes and the Astrotrac images. But I finally bit the bullet and ordered the Vixen Polarie, to keep everything light and wide field for now. Hopefully, I have clear skies for a few weekends and can give it a try and decide if it fits my needs (wants) and equipment.

Please, keep this thread going as the tips are incredibly helpful to a longtime wannabee astrophotographer.

Vivek

(New member on fredmiranda.com, though a lurker on and off for a long time)



May 10, 2013 at 04:22 PM
dgdg
Offline
• • • •
Upload & Sell: Off
p.13 #2 · p.13 #2 · Nightscapes using AstroTrac Tracking Mount


Welcome. You'll love the Vixen polarie. You may want the polar scope in the end, so make sure to test the Polarie sans scope well before you travel.
For you and anyone else, I found a great site that helps you figure out how to use the scope. This link will certainly save you some time.
http://daemongpf.blogspot.com/2012/05/how-to-dial-in-polarie-polar-scope.html



May 10, 2013 at 04:40 PM
MikeW
Offline
• • •
Upload & Sell: Off
p.13 #3 · p.13 #3 · Nightscapes using AstroTrac Tracking Mount


If I was looking to get a setup primarily for static stars in landscapes how do you over come the problem of having to have polaris in view when you have trees etc around you blocking some sky from view?




May 10, 2013 at 04:52 PM
vivekg
Offline

Upload & Sell: Off
p.13 #4 · p.13 #4 · Nightscapes using AstroTrac Tracking Mount


I did indeed order the polar scope. I think it will arrive a few days after the Polarie arrives. Thank you for the link!

Vivek



May 10, 2013 at 05:02 PM
harshaj1
Offline
• • • • • •
Upload & Sell: On
p.13 #5 · p.13 #5 · Nightscapes using AstroTrac Tracking Mount


MikeW wrote:
If I was looking to get a setup primarily for static stars in landscapes how do you over come the problem of having to have polaris in view when you have trees etc around you blocking some sky from view?



I am no expert but this is how you do it.( I read it somewhere) You need a wedge /fluid head to do this. First find the lattitude for your location. For instance my lattitude is 43. Set the angle of the wedge to your lattitude. Then align the scope/camera to north using a compass. Since this is the magnetic north make necessary adjustments for the true north. ( you can find this on the compass or navigational map for your area)Now you should be roughly polar aligned.
This alignement is good enogh for wide field astro stuff.
harsha



May 10, 2013 at 05:14 PM
dgdg
Offline
• • • •
Upload & Sell: Off
p.13 #6 · p.13 #6 · Nightscapes using AstroTrac Tracking Mount


If you are really blocked, then you could do as Harsha. Sometimes you can adjust your position just enough to spot the north star through the trees. Or, simply do a 25 sec shot without tracking.


May 11, 2013 at 12:51 AM
Brenton Biggs
Offline
• • • •
Upload & Sell: Off
p.13 #7 · p.13 #7 · Nightscapes using AstroTrac Tracking Mount


Fred Miranda wrote:
Update: I followed the great advice posted on this thread and re-stacked my first image using guiding software and Astrotrac mount.
I stacked the long exposures separately from the short exposures (20s) and combined them in PS. ...now I know I should've taken 10s exposures instead...

For comparison checkout the previous version without the long/short exposure blending.

I also learned a little more about color correcting, stretching and black point adjustment for astro. Thanks guys!

Shot with un-modded 6D, Canon 500mm f/4L IS @4 using a 50mm guiding scope and PHD guiding software.

Here is the result. Let me know your impressions.
...Show more

This is image is mind blowing to me, Fred! Awesome work! I should have not looked into this thread :P Now I'll be looking into these techniques even more, while my wallet says no.



May 11, 2013 at 01:07 AM
MikeW
Offline
• • •
Upload & Sell: Off
p.13 #8 · p.13 #8 · Nightscapes using AstroTrac Tracking Mount


Thanks Harsha & dgdg for the info. I'll think some more. And yes, that image above is awesome, crap I gotta stop looking at it!


May 11, 2013 at 03:55 AM
Fred Miranda
Offline
Admin
Upload & Sell: On
p.13 #9 · p.13 #9 · Nightscapes using AstroTrac Tracking Mount


Anything to bring this thread back. Right?
I just came across a great show called "How the Universe Works". I just started watching it on Netflix.
More info about it: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/How_the_Universe_Works
I highly recommend it!
Fred



May 17, 2013 at 04:00 AM
sparrks
Offline
• •
Upload & Sell: Off
p.13 #10 · p.13 #10 · Nightscapes using AstroTrac Tracking Mount


Any hints and tips of how to keep the colour whilst processing in Deepskystacker? It seems to produce an almost b&w looking image and yet I've seem many images stacked using DSS with lots of colour - what's the secret?
Plus a bump for this thread



Jun 01, 2013 at 04:37 PM
 

Search in Used Dept. 



dgdg
Offline
• • • •
Upload & Sell: Off
p.13 #11 · p.13 #11 · Nightscapes using AstroTrac Tracking Mount


Well, there are two ways that I can best figure turn out about the same.
1. Adjust your black/whites and saturation in DSS and them save the tiff for processing in PS.
2. Export the 'B&W' appearing image and do the same in PS.

I thought processing regular images had a learning curve. You ain't seen nothing yet!



Jun 02, 2013 at 02:45 AM
sparrks
Offline
• •
Upload & Sell: Off
p.13 #12 · p.13 #12 · Nightscapes using AstroTrac Tracking Mount


I try not to do any editing inside DSS as it's so slow. You're right it's a whole new learning curve.


Jun 02, 2013 at 12:35 PM
danws6
Offline

Upload & Sell: Off
p.13 #13 · p.13 #13 · Nightscapes using AstroTrac Tracking Mount


I finally have my astrotrac + backyard eos set up ready to go. There will be little to no moon this weekend, here's hoping the weather behaves itself.

Does anyone have any tips or resources on how many light/dark frames to capture and how long of exposures for each?

I'm excited.



Jun 05, 2013 at 10:05 PM
sparrks
Offline
• •
Upload & Sell: Off
p.13 #14 · p.13 #14 · Nightscapes using AstroTrac Tracking Mount


My last attempt on a moonlight night I used f2.8 @3200 ISO and 30s (for milkyway)
This weekend similiar conditions I will use f2.8 @640 ISO and 180s, I will probaly need to go longer for the foreground but will make that my first image of the set before starting to track. The recommendation is for the same number of frames and settings for the blacks - just add the lens cap This time I'm gonna try a few bias? these are the same as the darks but using the max possible shutter speed.

Hopefully I'll come back with something I like, but I'm a newby to this astro-photography.



Jun 06, 2013 at 08:11 PM
dgdg
Offline
• • • •
Upload & Sell: Off
p.13 #15 · p.13 #15 · Nightscapes using AstroTrac Tracking Mount


Deep sky stacker has a simple description about lights/darks. worth a read.


Jun 07, 2013 at 03:43 AM
danws6
Offline

Upload & Sell: Off
p.13 #16 · p.13 #16 · Nightscapes using AstroTrac Tracking Mount


It looks like I put the cart ahead of the horse a bit. Last night was quite a learning experience for me and I ended up not taking any pictures. Between all of my gear getting soaked from the dew to fighting with the polar alignment for an hour and a half I decided I needed to do some more research on how to calibrate the polar scope and how to do the alignment. Also I need to figure out how to use the ascom software with the Orion 50mm Guide Scope and have it control the astrotrac. Unfortunately I have to drive 70 miles outside of the city in order to even see Polaris so it might take me the rest of the summer to get this figured out. I sent a request to join the astrotrac message group so hopefully I can find answers I am looking for.


Jun 08, 2013 at 06:49 PM
dasams
Offline
• • •
Upload & Sell: Off
p.13 #17 · p.13 #17 · Nightscapes using AstroTrac Tracking Mount


danws6 wrote:
It looks like I put the cart ahead of the horse a bit. Last night was quite a learning experience for me and I ended up not taking any pictures.

My advice is to dumb it down a bit for the first few outings. For the polar alignment, I find the Polar Align app to be great for illustrating where Polaris should be wrt the celestial pole. Just be sure to use the inverted image to match the polar scope Also, why guide when tracking will be fine for a first effort? Start out with a lens at less than 200mm and you should be able to get tack sharp images with exp up to 2 min. Dave



Jun 08, 2013 at 09:02 PM
danws6
Offline

Upload & Sell: Off
p.13 #18 · p.13 #18 · Nightscapes using AstroTrac Tracking Mount


I agree that I was trying to do too much. I like to dive head first into the deep end and see where it gets me.

I'm going to see if I can find a park or somewhere closer than the site I went to so I can practice with just the polar alignment.

I'll look into that polar align app, thanks.



Jun 08, 2013 at 11:14 PM
dgdg
Offline
• • • •
Upload & Sell: Off
p.13 #19 · p.13 #19 · Nightscapes using AstroTrac Tracking Mount


Dave is right, of course.

Don't bother with the guide scope or computer yet. Align your astrotrac scope at home with everything assembled in your house or backyard, then on your next outing you can practice polar alignment. Coming from the Vixen polarie, I found the astrotrac scope difficult - be patient and persistent. You have to align the reticule, then you probably need to shim the mounting hole with a 1mm aluminum sheet; otherwise there is too much slop for anything but wide angle photos. I had a machinist make an adapter for the vixen polarie scope and I am much happier again.

For polar alignment, do you have a geared ballhead? Either that or the expensive single purpose astrotrac wedge. Don't bother going out with a regular ballhead.

You don't need a guide scope unless you are pushing the limits in focal length. With the vixen polarie scope snug in the astrotrac mounting hole, I can get a 560mm field of view and over 2 minute exposures without any guide scope.

Save yourself unneeded misery, if you plan on being out for a few hours, just get a dew heater and strap, and a portable jump start battery for it. You could try foot warmers and a ski sock, but that only works sometimes!



Jun 09, 2013 at 02:36 AM
danws6
Offline

Upload & Sell: Off
p.13 #20 · p.13 #20 · Nightscapes using AstroTrac Tracking Mount


Oops. I forgot to reply. To answer your question, yeah I have the astrotrac wedge. I ended up going back out to try again the next day after my last post. I took my time with the polar scope. I ended up getting fairly decent alignment, although it wasn't perfect. I attempted a few shots with the 70-200mm + 1.4 III but didn't really get anything that I found interesting. As I was packing up my stuff at 2am I decided to try using the wide angle for a Milky Way shot.

Here is the result. I think the post processing could use some work and my exposure was probably too long as seen by the star trails around the edges. Overall I am happy though.


Canon 5D III, 16mm f/2.8, ISO 100, and 360 second exposure


I plan to go out again during the next new moon, I'm hooked.



Jun 27, 2013 at 12:31 AM
1       2       3              12      
13
       14              17       18       end




FM Forums | Landscape Photographer | Join Upload & Sell

1       2       3              12      
13
       14              17       18       end
    
 

You are not logged in. Login or Register

Username   Password    Reset password