October 21, 2007

Adventures in Astrophotography

I've learned quite a few lessons trying to master this thing called astrophotography. . Here are a few tidbits from my first serious astrophotography adventure last night:

  1. You will quickly outgrow basic equipment. After one night, I'm dying to do a fifteen minute exposure on an equatorial mount.

  2. You get a lot of blurry shots; especially of the moon. Keep the best; pitch the rest.

  3. At high zoom levels, a good tripod is essential. Nothing like a 30-second exposure that looks like a lightsaber battle because the tripod wobbled.

  4. 30 second exposures (which is what the limit on my camera is) just starts to bring out invisible stars.

  5. In digital astrophotography, Photoshop or other digital image enhancement software is crucial to creating publishable pictures. Stars picked up on the picture often need a contrast increase to become clearly definied and visible.

I'm just learning about astrophotography. Even though I write the occassional astrophotography article, I'm as new as they come. This essentially, is my first real attempt at astrophotography since acquiring an understanding of aperture, shutter speed, and ISO.

Here are a few of my photos from last night's Orionid showe (unfortunately, no Orionids made an appearance in the photos):