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Astro Wanna-be

grsnovi

DPRF-Patron
Although my wife and I have 2 scopes, both are gathering dust in the garage. My recent acquisition of an OM-1 has prompted me to try out the STARRY-SKY AUTOFOCUS (focus being what has always trashed any astro I've attempted). So naturally being affected by G.A.S. the most current issue of SKY & TELESCOPE had a review of the Star Adventurer GTi which would allow me to mount the OM-1 and track. Of course, my wife's 8" Celestron Ultima 2000 was missing the hand control so for a while I was also considering a Celestron AVX mount (as well as a refractor and GEM mount after jumping on Cloudy Nights after DPR was declared terminal). In any case, I ended up buying quite a few astrophotography books in the last month and have started watching a number of YT channels and FB groups. It's amazing what you can do as far as DSO images from a suitably dark site. Here are a few of the books I just purchased:
IMG-0102.jpg
 
Okay, now we know what you’ll be doing for the next few months, even if it is cloudy. :D

Re dark skies, it makes a huge difference. If you live in a city, I hope you have darker skies typical of country sites within a reasonable drive. My sky is Bortle 6 going on 7 at home in a city of 300,000+ but driving 45 minutes into the country brings me to Bortle 4 while driving 1.5 hours (in a particular direction) brings me to Bortle 3. It’s worth the drive.
 
My sky is Bortle 6 going on 7
I'm @ Bortle 7 but if I drive up the mountain or out to the coast I ought to have much better skies. My first project is going to shoot the skies over Mt.Hood so I get something like this (which is my shot of Hood with somebody else's star field dropped in behind the mountain).
starscape with hood - small.jpg
 
I would say it was a decent image if a little unnatural looking. But of course as a total image, it’s entirely fake. Well, the mountain itself looks nice so kudos there. I’m sure it will be very satisfying to get your own starfields instead of using someone else’s.

One piece of advice, though, which you might not need. Even when you shoot everything yourself, you should avoid the temptation to mix and match starfields with foregrounds that were shot at different locations, different directions or, with some exceptions, at different times. Everything for a particular nightscape image should be done in one night at one location and with the sky behind your foreground image as close as you can make it to what was actually there at a given moment in time.

Obviously, given that you will need to do time exposures and/or stacking during the process of taking the image, you will have to pick that moment from the exposures you have. And if you shoot sky and foreground separately, as is often the case to get the best results, the compositing process (which by itself is not illegitimate, as some people contend) may compromise that goal somewhat. But the resulting image should still look like the relative position of the stars and foreground could have looked that way from your vantage point on that night.

That’s just my personal ethics on the matter. I have seen evidence that some professional photographers don’t share such ethics. Some are open about it (“I’m just creating art so get off my back.”) and some are not.
 
Which was why I pointed out that it was a composite. The mountain was photographed during the day with a telephoto lens. You'd never see "those" stars over that perspective of the mountain. I was only trying to show my wife what I wanted to try to do with an astro shot from that location. My shot will likely me a stack of short subs arranged behind a different exposure of the mountain taken with a 12mm lens on an MFT camera.
 
Of course. I was not trying to imply you were presenting a fake image as anything but what it is. But given that even some professional photographers don’t seem to hold the ethics that I described and which you evidently share, it seemed worth mentioning.

For the most egregious example of fake nightscape astrophotography I have seen, Google “Beth Moon fake” if you haven’t already heard of her.
 
some professional photographers don’t seem to hold the ethics that I described and which you evidently share
As someone who shoots primarily for myself I'd like to think that my ethics will never come into question. I've never sold any of my work and likely never will. Neither have I ever represented as my own images that were only partially mine.
For the most egregious example of fake nightscape astrophotography I have seen, Google “Beth Moon fake” if you haven’t already heard of her.
I hadn't, thanks for the link. I think there are so many published images that don't really represent reality. It likely started when that image of the pyramids was shown to have been manipulated. It's only going to get worse with the ability of AI-based routines to create completely bogus images. My image of the mountain is looking north. You'd never be able to see any portion of the Milky Way behind that view.

I suspect that Beth Moon was/is completely ignorant of the fact that the night sky has identifiable views and perspectives and that dropping a "better" sky into one of her shots that depicts a sky looking north when in fact the tree was shot looking south or that anyone would also have shots of the same (iconic) tree that clearly shows distinctive foliage that might make cut/paste edits she may have made for whatever reason to be examples of overly aggressive Photoshopping.

Looking forward to better weather and clear skies.
 
At most, I’ve dabbled, so I’m very much looking forward to how you do and seeing hints and suggestions!

So far, mostly done moon shots; though I did manage a vaguely recognizable shot of the Jupiter-Saturn conjunction in 2020 with a Tamron 500mm mirror lens, and a shot of the July 2020 comet with a Tamron SP 80-200. Both with an Oly E-M1 II. Really wish I could justify getting an actual ’scope setup; maybe if I find a decent one at an estate sale…
 
So far, mostly done moon shots; though I did manage a vaguely recognizable shot of the Jupiter-Saturn conjunction in 2020 with a Tamron 500mm mirror lens, and a shot of the July 2020 comet with a Tamron SP 80-200. Both with an Oly E-M1 II. Really wish I could justify getting an actual ’scope setup; maybe if I find a decent one at an estate sale…
That conjunction was pretty cool. Unfortunately, it was cloudy here on the night of actual closest approach but I did manage an image on the next night, using a vintage 1980's 6-inch aperture f/5 Schmidt-Newtonian I normally drag out to my back deck from its usual place as a decoration in the dining room in order to take images of the moon. The image isn't great but at least it's mine.
 

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At most, I’ve dabbled, so I’m very much looking forward to how you do and seeing hints and suggestions!
BTW, I have the SMC Pentax 50mm f/1.4 lens you are using as your avatar. Well, actually the -A version. It works fantastically well for astrophotography on my Pentax K-3II when stopped down to at least f/2.5. I consider it one of my best lenses and certainly one of the best-value lenses in my modest collection. It ranks right up there with my Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8, which costs ten times as much (both purchased used). If you do have the 50mm as well, it should work great with your Olympus (through an adapter of course). Here is one image I took using it:

Oh2FMMagazrw_16536x16536_xTjz_rdB.jpg


Details: https://www.astrobin.com/57przd/B/
 
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