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About TakMan

  • Rank
    Proto Star

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  • Gender
  • Interests
    Design, Photography, Foreign Travel, walking, astro (of course!)

    Motor Racing - used to be the coordinator for the BRSCC Fiat Racing Challenge.

    Trick/Stunt kiting (Benson 'Gemini')

    Console Gaming (mostly PS4 - Project Cars 1/2 (Fanatec CSW-V2 etc) and XBOX) plus a retro collection: Neo•Geo AES, Vectrex, Saturn, Dreamcast, PS1, PS2, XBOX, Jaguar, Virtual Boy, N64(US), Gamecube(US), Wii, etc, etc
  • Location
    Midlands 52° N
  1. Thanks to SGL member David, who sold me this great looking scope last week... I was only looking for a second Ha filter when it caught my eye - I think the ad only lasted 14 minutes! (I got the filter as well which was hand delivered by Adrian, another SGL member). Scope arrived safe and sound to the office today - via Hermes (which I thought was a nice astro touch!) Superbly packed for it's journey to me as well - thanks for that David Hoping it makes for a decent travel scope and perhaps a lower power (full disk?) solar scope (instead of the 'details' with the f/8 TSA102s), with the Quark. I've looked at this 90mm for some time, so I'm well aware of the CA and inherant field curvature that a doublet running at f/5.6 will have, but it should be fun finding out which eyepieces work best... 31mm Nagler, Ethos or the 20mm Pentax XW, or perhaps something else.... I have a few hi-power Tak erfles that have never got much use as well. Thankfully, my William Optics EZTouch alt/az mount never sold years ago when I placed it on AB&S, and my mate has just given me as an early Christmas present, an Altair Astro Vixen-style saddle clamp - so I don't mar the ADM dovetail that was already fixed to the rings. I have to say the Tele Vue bag is rather nice (not that I'd pay over £100 for it new) and the included diagonal looks unmarked. Just purchased the 1.08x DG Multi Flattener that's been sitting for ages in FLO's 'offers' section, just in case I want to take the odd photo with it in the future. Damian
  2. Sorry folks, paid for - should be a great lightweight travel scope (perhaps with some field curvature)! Thanks for the info David. Regards, Damian
  3. Can I take the Ha filter please..? Regards, Damian
  4. Slowly getting back into imaging having dusted off the gear late last year. First sessions were re-learning how to get things running, recharging the dessicant in the camera and dialing in PHD2. Still had the guide issues from 2014, but Andy Galasso and Ken on the PHD2 forum were really helpful - now successfully running PPEC on the R.A. axis and Ken’s Z-filter on DEC. Guiding issues have raised their ugly head once again (mid-September when capturing SII data for the North America Neb), but I think I now know (hope) I have identified it as my old planetarium/mount control software, Equinox Pro (somehow interfering with the DEC guide commands after it once crashed - so I've now reinstalled, updated to a slighter newer version I had on file and quickly tested)... Anyhow, all this testing has allowed me to add to an image first started in 2014 ! This is also the very first time I've actually got all three channels of data (rather than a bi-colour and a synthesised third channel). Recently purchased APP making use of a small discount, so learning that as well. I think it makes a better job of stacking the data than Nebulosity (it certainly takes a hell of a lot longer to do!) I do like the light pollution removal tool compared to GadientXT, especially when the FOV is filled with nebulosity. Plenty to get ones head around! Takahashi FSQ106-ED + dedicated F/R @f/3.6 SBIG STF8300M + Baader filters- controlled via the defunct MicroProjects Equinox Image. Guided with an SBIG ST-i / SkyWatcher ST-80 via PHD2 'Scopebuggied' Takahashi EM400 mount - controlled via the defunct MicroProjects Equinox Pro (all on a very old 2007 17" MacBook Pro). 2014 Data Ha 21x600sec OIII 11x600sec 2019 Data OIII 12x600sec SII 28X600sec Preprocessed (Darks and Flat frames + Dark flats), aligned and stacked (plus all those other things it does as well (!) in APP. Processed in Adobe Photoshop CC2017 with 'Noel's Actions' on a 2016 Touch Bar MacBook Pro, calibrated Apple Cinema 30" display, A4 Wacom Intuos Pro. Will be going back to again and again to get a handle on my processing skills... Damian
  5. I run the FireWire version of the ‘41 on a 2016 Touchbar MacBook Pro with Mojave. The gear is away at the moment due to decorating (!) so I can’t tell you which version of OACapture I’m running, but it all works fine for me. So perhaps a USB issue?
  6. Single shot - ISO 200, 1/60 sec, f/5, 280mm, Hand-held, 10.07pm Saturday 6th July 2017 Nikon D3 (FX - only 12mp) and Nikkor AF-S 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II with TC-14EII 1.4x NEF RAW file processed in Adobe Lightroom, cropped and tidied in Photoshop CC2017 Damian
  7. Taken early this morning when out shooting Noctilucent Clouds. See the 'Widefield Section' for details. Damian
  8. Sunday 30th June. NLCs started appearing as the skies cleared around 1.45am. Grabbed gear and headed off around 2.15am to the same location as last two sessions. Another 90 shots taken! Nikon D3 and Nikkor AF-S 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II, tripod mounted, cable release and mirror lock function. Lightly processed in Adobe Lightroom and (where required), stitched shots together in Photoshop CC2017 Taken from north Lichfield (Staffordshire). Clicking the pictures should open the hi-res images. Panoramic 1 - 7 shots. ISO 200, 2.5 sec, f/2.8, 70mm, 2.56am. Note over in the far right the Pleiades. Panoramic 2 (Detail) - 4 shots. ISO 200, 2.5 sec, f/2.8, 200mm, 3.01am 'The Saucepan and NLCs' - Single shot - (Nikkor AF-S 24-70mm f/2.8G ED). ISO 200, 2 sec, f/2.8, 24mm, 3.22am Started to pack away just as 'Mr Blackbird' started to sing - the dawn chorus broke.... then noticed a beautiful sight over in the East, switched back to the Nikkor AF-S 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II and added the TC-14EII 1.4x A 7% Crescent Moon. Single shot - ISO 200, 0.8 sec, f/4, 280mm, 3.28am Damian
  9. Very quick process before heading to work. Saw the start of the clouds last night and headed off with the gear to get a shot. Much smaller and dimmer than the last show the previous week. Nikon D3 and Nikkor AF-S 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II, tripod mounted, cable release and mirror lock function. Lightly processed in Adobe Lightroom. Taken from north Lichfield (Staffordshire). Single shot. ISO 200, 2.5 sec, f/2.8, 75mm, 11.33pm Damian
  10. Worked from home Friday afternoon and decided at the last minute to bring my Manfrotto tripod back home with me and then recharge the camera battery - just had a feeling.... good job as well, as my first noctilucent cloud observation of the 2019 season happened later on(!) - plus on the Solstice, can’t get better than that. Got 250 shots to play with today (whilst the wife was away on a girls Spa day), of which these are the best... Trusty old Nikon D3 (full frame), Nikkor AF-S 24-70mm f/2.8G ED, tripod mounted, cable release and mirror lock function. Lightly processed in Adobe Lightroom and stitched together in Photoshop CC2017 Taken from north Lichfield (Staffordshire). Single shot. ISO 200, 0.8 sec, f/4.5, 24mm, 10.47pm (looking towards Fradley business parks). Panoramic 1 - 6 shots. ISO 200, 0.8 sec, f/4.5, 70mm, 10.49 pm Panoramic 2 - 8 shots. ISO 200, 1.3 sec, f/4.5, 42mm, 10.57 pm Panoramic 3 - 8 shots. ISO 200, 1.3 sec, f/4.5, 60mm, 11.01 pm Panoramic 4 (close up) - 4 shots. ISO 200, 1.3 sec, f/4.5, 70mm, 11.02 pm Panoramic 5 - 9 shots. ISO 200, 1.3 sec, f/4.5, 70mm, 11.02 pm Panoramic 6 - 7 shots. ISO 200, 1.3 sec, f/4.5, 70mm, 11.17 pm Packed up and headed home. Saw from my north facing home-office window an interesting feature or two, so swapped to the NIKKOR AF-S 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II, to try and get some extra details and get around the streetlights! Single shot - Detail 1. ISO 200, 2 sec, f/4.5, 200mm, 11.48pm Animation 1 - 40 shots stitched in iMovie. ISO 200, 2 sec, f/4.5, 200mm, 11.48pm - 12.01am __NLC Close Up_1 23.48-12.00_40 shots.mp4 Single shot - Detail 2. ISO 200, 2 sec, f/4.5, 200mm, 12.01am Animation 2 - 30 shots stitched in iMovie. ISO 200, 2 sec, f/4.5, 200mm, 12.01am - 12.04am __NLC Close Up_2 12.00-12.04_30 shots.mp4 Single shot - Detail 3. ISO 200, 4 sec, f/4.5, 200mm, 12.04am Animation 3 - 46 shots stitched in iMovie. ISO 200, 4 sec, f/4.5, 200mm, 12.04am - 12.17am __NLC Close Up_3 12.04-12.17_46 shots.mp4 Hope you like... the animations remind me of the storms on Jupiter! Happy NCL hunting anyway... Damian
  11. Another simple shot, quite liked it though taken through the branches. 6th June @ 10.35pm Nikon D7000 and Nikon AF-S 70-200mm f/2.8 G VRII ISO 200 1/40 sec @ f/4, 280mm NEF raw file processed in Adobe Lightroom. Damian
  12. As the photographer at auction house Richard Winterton's (you may know of him via daytime television - David Dickinson's Real Deal and Bargain Hunt), I get to photograph all sorts of interesting items for our various sales. Be that fine art pictures and prints, ceramics, gold and silver, jewellery and watches, toys, coins and stamps, books, maps, glass, you name it, I probably photograph it! I'm always on the look out for something 'astronomy related' be that cigarette cards, stamps, comemorative coins, watches (Omega Speedmaster - the one that went to the moon, or their 'Constellation' model) - anything to send out to our little WhatsApp group and on here - well, it mixes things up a bit, rather than post the usual piece of shiny new equipment purchase or processed astro image. In the last week, I've been working through the Medals and Militaria lots for the July sale and came across this... It piqued my interest. With our military expert away, I decided to start investigating in my own time. What we have here is, to the untrained eye, just a Japanese flag (officially called Nisshōki - the "sun-mark flag", but commonly refered to in its homeland as Hinomaru "circle of the sun") - with some traditional Japanese calligraphy on it... Today this is often used for charity events and sporting activities, but, if from WW2, it could be entirely different. A 'Good Luck Flag' - yosegaki hinomaru (寄せ書き日の丸) A quick search on the old internet, yielded some interesting and poignant results. I also sent photographs to our Japanese guide when my wife and I visited the country back in 2016 to see if she could help. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Good_Luck_Flag Although the writing doesn't radiate out from the centre, there are plenty of examples like this, where a departing serviceman was given a national flag signed by family and friends wishing victory and a safe return. As has happened for thousands of years, the victors of battle would scour the ground looking for a souvenir to take home. I have previously photographed old helmets, daggers and the like. A German Lugger pistol I am told was a highly prized memento. But this flag, almost certainly taken from a dead soldier, is slightly different. Japanese families rarely heard from their sons again after they left for the front lines, and these flags are often all that remains of them, with the Japanese government often sending bereaved families an official death notice alongside a box of local sand or pebbles. Family members have used these 'hinomaru yosegaki' flags in funerals as a substitute for human remains - the fact that they were on the body (usually worn under the shirt and close to the heart for protection against bullets), at the time of death and absorbed fluids means that these flags are probably as close as the family ever got to the remains of their family member. More than 2 million Japanese servicemen have no known grave. Having witnessed first hand the Last Post Ceremony for our own WW1 missing in Ypres at the Menin Gate, been at school with Russell Aston, one of the six Royal Military Policemen killed in an ambush serving in Iraq in 2003 and with the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings approaching and VE/VJ Day next year, I wondered if trying to return this item may be a far more fitting act than just selling it on. I've already spoken to Richard who thinks it's a great idea, but need to get our military expert to approach the vendor to see if they are in agreement. I bet they don't really know what it really is, or the significance it holds. There is an American based charitable organisation, the OBON SOCIETY (formerly OBON 2015) that tries to repatriate these flags, so I hope in due course to get in touch with them. http://obonsociety.org What else then have I found so far... That the Japanese government have requested that such items be returned to the families of their war dead. I can tell you that the (British) allied soldier, whose name is also written on the flag, fought in Burma, for The Welch Regiment. "The 2nd Battalion had been retained in India but in October 1944 the battalion moved to Burma as part of the 62nd Indian Infantry Brigade attached to the 19th Indian Infantry Division where it joined the British Fourteenth Army, led by Bill Slim. The Battalion saw its bitterest fighting along the Taungoo-Mawchi Road where for a hundred miles, with deep jungle on either side, the Japanese defended vigorously all the way. In November the battalion crossed the Chindwin River at Sittang, captured Pinlebu and saw some very hard fighting on the Swebo Plain". Wikipedia Plus my Japanese tour guide got back to me with some details: "Yes, it is a good luck flag from the world war two. It is very sad. The four characters on the top mean protection of the Japanese empire. One with the name on the left was going to the war and his friends wrote some words to him. They are as follows; Compose oneself Destroy enemies I will also come after you Assailing heresy and revealing the truth I hope it will be back to Japan." I've since forwarded hi-res images and close-ups so she can give me more details. I hope to add to this thread if we can try and repatriate this item. Thought this may be of interest anyway. What with my profile/nickname and part-Takahashi avatar on SGL, perhaps it was fate that our paths should cross. Amazing how a 'simple' loosely astronomy related item can lead to such an interesting and poignant story... how much these flags mean to family members in Japan. A flag is more than just a piece of cloth. It symbolizes the spirit of the person who carried it... From the OBON SOCIETY: It's the "you finally came home", that got to me... Damian
  13. Just seen this thread - great results! I really like the ones ‘damaged’ by water as the results are so dramatic and yours still show plenty of solar detail. A play with colour balance can add all sorts of interesting rusty hues. I think you could pull more foreground detail from your first result if you want to get into ‘Astro imaging territory’.. a play with some curves and layer masks would quickly sort. From looking at the first image, it appears to have moved slightly (another interesting effect), the tell tale sign being the double exposure/shadow of the roof line (far left) and perhaps some fuzzyness to the solar trace (a bit of PS hi-pass would suppress that if you wished)..? Actually a small dose of PS Hi-Pass sharpening can reveal pollen and other odds and sods that have landed on the paper.... I find that thick cable ties are better than tape as that is prone to stretching as it faces the elements, but it doesn’t really matter. Attached to a long stake and sited lower down will perhaps give you more foreground, an exaggerated solar curve and keep the thing secure - as long as you don’t trip over it or hit it with the mower! Great results, it’s reminded me to get my old tins refurbished ready for the quickly approaching longest day... Damian
  14. Simple shot of the moon (rose at 3.38am) from this morning, 17% illuminated (approx). Taken at 4.24am Thursday 30th May 2019. Hand held out the bedroom window! Nikon D7000 and Nikon AF-S 70-200mm f/2.8 G VRII ISO 160 1/20 sec @ f/2.8, 190mm
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