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By Ken Mitchell
For a long time I wanted to shoot this frame, probably from the early days of my astrophotography adventure.
Finally after all these years I managed to get a decent result of the 'stuff' between these two beautiful nebulae. Fairly happy with the image but always looking for improvement.
I hope one day to redo this all with a mono camera and filters.
Apart from NGC1499 , M45 and the Baby Eagle Nebula no idea what else is in the picture. If you happen to have an idea feel free to educate me.
Some info on image and capturing:
Widefield Pleiades to California.
Taken over 2 nights with a total of 11hrs 25min integration.
With a stock Nikon d610 and Nikkor 85mm 1.8 objective.
Tracking was done with the Skywatcher Star Adventurer.
Lights and all calibrations frames were stacked in DSS.
Processing was done in Adobe Photoshop CC using Adobe Raw, GradientXterminator plugin, HLVG plugin, Nik software plugins and Photokemi action set.
I made an acquisition and processing tutorial a while back (3 years ago? Yikes!) and it is fairly dated in terms of what I'm doing these days. I've been asked for a long time to make a new one showing what I'm doing these days. Specifically how I'm processing a single shot image for both the surface and prominences and how to process them together to show prominences and the surface at once. I've abandoned doing split images and composites and strictly work from one image using layers. Acquisition does not use gamma at all anymore. Nothing terribly fancy, but it's not exactly intuitive so hopefully this new video will illustrate most of the fundamentals to get you started. Instead of an hour, this time it's only 18 minutes. It's real time from start to finish. I'm sorry for the long "waiting periods" where I'm just waiting for the software to finish its routine, it lasts 1.5 minutes and 30 seconds tops typically at first. The first 4 minutes is literally just stacking & alignment in AS!3. I typically will go faster than this, but wanted to slow down enough to try to talk through what I'm doing as I do it. Hopefully you can see each action on the screen. I may have made a few mistakes or said a few incorrect things or terms, forgive me for that, this is not my day job. I really hope it helps folk get more into processing as its not difficult or intimidating when you see a simple process with only a few things that are used. The key is good data to begin with and a good exposure value. Today's data came from a 100mm F10 achromatic refractor and an ASI290MM camera with an HA filter. I used FireCapture to acquire the data with a defocused flat frame. No gamma is used. I target anywhere from 65% to 72% histogram fill. That's it! The processing is fast and simple. I have a few presets that I use, but they are all defaults in Photoshop. A lot of the numbers I use for parameters are based on image scale, so keep that in mind, experiment with your own values. The only preset I use that is not a default is my coloring scheme. I color with levels in Photoshop, and my values are Red: 1.6, Green 0.8, Blue 0.2 (these are mid-point values).
Processing Tutorial Video (18 minutes):
RAW (.TIF) files available here to practice on (the same images you will see below as RAW TIFs):
Video for Acquisition, Focus, Flat Calibration and Exposure (20 minutes):
(Please let me know if any links do not work)
Results from today using this work flow method.
SSM data (sampled during 1.5~2 arc-second seeing conditions):
Equipment for today:
100mm F10 Frac (Omni XLT 120mm F8.3 masked to 4")
Baader Red CCD-IR Block Filter (ERF)
PST etalon + BF10mm
SSM (for fun, no automation)
By LR Watanabe
Is the Nikon Nikkor 55-200mm f/3.5-5.6 II a good lens for astrophotography? I plan on using the Nikon D5300 with it and I wanted to know if the 55-200 would be a good lens for photographing DSOs. Does anyone use this lens and if so, may I see some images taken with it? I can't seem to find images on Astrobin. Also, is it possible to photograph DSOs (M42, Rosette, Flaming star, M45 etc.) from a bortle 7 sky with the 55-200mm?
The weather has been so bad I have had the time to finish a video on using astro filters with the Nikon Z bodies and Nikon camera lenses. There is a manual alternative to the FTZ allowing 1.25 inch filters to be fitted between camera and F-mount lenses, and for some lenses and end of lens solution make sense. FAstroTZ is described here:
Having upgraded from canon 1000D to Nikon D5300 how do users of the 5300 find it for Astro I will be using with APT , and how do you take flats as I can’t use Av mode as there is nothing in tools menu to choose no lens , do you use in manual mode and look at histogram ? .