Astrophotography: Sagittarius and the Galaxy

The challenge of learning astrophotography, and photography in general, is two-fold.  There’s the work you do at the eyepiece, requiring you to choose the right settings for the right shot.  Then there’s the work you do at the computer screen, the post-processing and adjustments.  Ultimately the more important one is the camera work.  If you take a bad photograph, no amount of post-processing will help you, even if you are an expert at it.  It’s like the image is the cake, and the processing is the icing.  No matter how much icing you cover it with, a bad cake is...

Relative Time: Photography Year 2

Last year after getting a Canon DSLR camera, I spent as much time as I could doing some basic astrophotography.  I took photos of stars, planets, the Moon, and even did some star trails.  One thing I quickly realized is that there are limitations if you don’t have a tracking mount or a telescope adaptor.  The tracking gives you a method for taking longer exposures, and the telescope adaptor as expected gives you the ability to zoom in on distant objects. Even with these temporary limitations (I hope to invest in them someday) there are still a lot of options...

Very Long Exposure Photography

Since diving into astrophotography last year, I’ve discovered that I love the concept of time-lapse, and not just with respect to astronomy.  It’s amazing to see the changes that can occur over long periods of time, and time-lapse photography is a way to record the changes and see how they unfold.  In astronomy the best time-lapses give you a sense of the Earth’s motion through space, show satellites zipping overhead, and show aurora dance along with weather patterns. Large amounts of time with slow incremental changes produce incredible results when it comes to time lapses. Science communication is about how to...

The Expanse of Time – Galaxies, Evolution, Lifetimes

Have you ever seen those amazing composite images that people will post, showing the same picture every day or every year for a long period of time.  We see how children age, how people transform their bodies, and how their day to day experiences, though seemingly small, add up to incredible changes as the years go by.  I personally love time-lapse photography, representing a long period of time in a shorter instance.  For me the beauty is showing those changes that are subtle in human experience and communicating them in a way that shows how significant they are when we...

Thanksgiving Astrophotography

In the midst of cooked turkey and a plethora of sides, I have been reaping the benefits of clear skies and doing my best to learn the skills of astrophotography.  I spent a good 6 hours from sunset to just past midnight this past Sunday to see what kinds of shots I could get, and document the latest photos and tricks I’ve learned. I’ll start with my latest time lapse video, since that is what I took first.  I started as the sun was about to set, and kept the exposure time very low, along with the ISO.  I also...

Astrophotography – New Timelapses and Planet Shots!

I’m addicted.  I love astrophotography.  I find myself spending a lot of time working no the photos, being outside trying to get the perfect shot, learning how to use my camera and other equipment, and putting together a wish list of equipment that will let me do even more!  I went outside before sunrise yesterday and managed to snap an hour’s worth of images, adding to an hour from the night before, where I attempted some star trails over the city of Toronto.  All I’ve done so far today is play with the photos and learn to make them look...

Astrophotography in 2015

I made a big purchase this year, one that I have wanted to make for a long time.  I bought a digital single lens reflex camera (DSLR) – A Canon Rebel T3i.  The only reason I did this was for astrophotography.  I like photography in general – the idea of getting the perfect shot, cleaning up an image, enhancing details that were not there before. But after a trip to Europe where I felt I took too many photos, I decided that I didn’t want to experience my life through the lens of a camera, especially in an age where...

Autumn Colours / Stellar Camping

This weekend will be a great chance for me to enjoy the change in season.  I’ll be up north in Ontario’s Algonquin Park, to do some photography of the autumn leaves.  If weather permits, I’ll definitely be aiming to do astrophotography as well. I grew up an hour north of Toronto, in the farm country outside of Barrie, Ontario.  Every time I go home for thanksgiving in early October I am amazed at the changes that can happen only an hour north.  Algonquin park is a good 3.5 hour drive, and will provide a stunning look at the seasonal change...

Sunspots Changing in Real Time

It’s not fuzzy caterpillars or any small creatures interacting in a Petri dish.  The strange growing and twisting creatures are not creatures at all.  Today’s NASA APOD shows a time lapse view of a cluster of sunspots as they pass along the surface of the Sun during its rotation.  The total time is about 12 hours for the sunspots to cross the solar surface, yet the video is shortened to a quick minute and a half. The amazing thing to notice is the amazing dance of the sunspots as they shift, twist, merge, separate, and interact with the granular convection cells...