Tag Archives: North America Nebula

New Moon Nights

Some impressions from last weeks drive to the Großglockner High Alpine Road, Austria. Two nights in a row during New Moon with almost clear skies. What better? Enjoy!

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Around 12:00 pm, the sky cleared up, giving way to the Milky Way, and lots of light pollution along the horizon, Jupiter (center) and Saturn (to the left)…

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Brennkogel, 3018 m, feat. the Milky Way…

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Stargazing @ 2517 m a.s.l….

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A bit hazy on the second night…

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Star tracking…

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NGC 7000, the North America Nebula, 35 x 120 sec…

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Beauty of the night sky, 44 x 20 sec…

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The Milky Way: New Processing

Imaging the Milky Way is quite rewarding – provided that you got clear, dark nights and being away from light pollution on a moonless night. Once you got those conditions and the equipment is doing its work – that´s half of the game. Processing the images back home can become difficult while using a modified camera like my Canon 1100 d. Since one year now I´m using that camera, along with the Vixen Polarie Star Tracker. The images from the modified camera are quite reddish and every image from a different series got its own “character”, so there is no global adjustment or recipe you can use for them images. I mainly develop them in Lightroom 4, export them to Nik Color Efex Pro, and bring them back to LR to do again some minor adjustments. To get much better results, “Stacking” a bunch of images would be the way to go. I haven´t figured it out for myself that really well so far, so I can´t give you much recommendations on that – I´m still trying and learning myself. The only freeware I have found for Mac so far is Lykenos and it takes some patience to get through it. Commercial solutions would be Pixinsight and of course Photoshop. Either way, but the main difference is Color Efex Pro. It´s unbelieveable how much information just one image got, and it is waiting to be brought out. So, if you got RAW images on your hard drive you think them to be “unprocessable”, don´t delete them, the time will come for them to be developed (see below at one of my images). I did a post a while ago about this theme which you can find here: https://wernerpriller.wordpress.com/2012/11/28/the-milky-way-by-canon-1100-da-vixen-polarie/ . Enjoy!

Update: there are two more new posts about the “Milky Way processing stuff”…

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Private wigwam, Lower Bavaria, Germany:

MW.Vergleich.1-1

1. Original Raw-file, 119 sec., f 2.8, Iso 400, 10 mm…

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MW.Vergleich.1-2

2. Processed in LR 4 only…

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MW.Vergleich.1-3

3. Final image via Color Efex…

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Rieserferner Ridge, South Tyrol, Italy:

MW.Vergleich.2-1

1. Original Raw-file, 25 sec., f 2.8, Iso 3200, 20 mm…

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MW.Vergleich.2-2

2. Processed in LR 4 only…

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MW.Vergleich.2-3

3. Finale image via Color Efex…

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Großglockner Ridge, Hohe Tauern NP, Austria…

MW.Vergleich.3-1

1. Original Raw-file, 147 sec., f 2.5, Iso 400, 20 mm…

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MW.Vergleich.3-2

2. Processed in LR 4 only…

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MW.Vergleich.3-3

3. Ten images stacked with Lykenos…

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MW.Vergleich.3-4

4. Final image via Color Efex…

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North America Nebula, Lower Bavaria, Germany…

MW.Vergleich.4-1

1. Original Raw-file, 29 sec., f 3.5, Iso 3200, 200 mm…

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MW.Vergleich.4-2

2. Processed in LR 4 only…

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MW.Vergleich.4-3

3. Six images stacked with Lykenos…

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MW.Vergleich.4-4

4. Final image via Color Efex…

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Prunn Castle, Lower Bavaria, Germany:

I took this image almost one year ago and haven´t been able to get a decent result so far. Due to the unstable  weather since a couple of weeks, I came across this one and started a new try, which I just finished the other day and thus has been the trigger for writing this blog post!

MW.Vergleich.5-1

1. Original Raw-file, 30 sec., f 2.8, Iso 1600, 10 mm…

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MW.Vergleich.5-2

2. Processed in LR 4 only…

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MW.Vergleich.5-3

3. Final image via Color Efex…notice the Andromeda Galaxy to the lower right;

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“A mind is like a parachute. It doesn´t work if it is not open!”

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2012 – A Year In Twelve Images

´A Year In Twelve Images` is a self-appointment which reflects in a subjective way the shots of the past year I like most. The real challenge of this deed is to narrow down all of the images and to select not more than twelve photos,  which you think of that they are ´worthy`. Having done that, you can send the list/blog post to Jim Goldstein´s blog, a professional photographer based out of San Francisco; more info here: http://www.jmg-galleries.com/blog/2012/12/17/blog-project-best-photos-2012/ . A lot of the pros I´m ´following` since two years now are participating too in this project and it´s good to know/to see what they are up to. This is my second year as a “full-time-hobby-photographer” and I´m very grateful that I can live this life – photography fuels my soul like nothing before. With this in mind: Do what you love and love what you do! Enjoy!

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BestOf2012-1

Star trails over the Dolomites @ Passo di Giau, 2300 m/7600 ft., -10°C/14°F, Italy…

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BestOf2012-2

A so-called Sun Pillar showing up during sun set, Upper Bavaria, Germany…

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BestOf2012-4

Moving clouds and still visible stars during nautical twilight/early morning, Lower Bavaria, Germany…

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BestOf2012-3

Sunrise and the transit of Venus, 06/06/2012, over the ridge of the Bavarian Forest, Germany…

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BestOf2012-6

The Milky Way, reddish hydrogen-alpha nebulae and green airglow @ Großglockner Mt., Austria…

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BestOf2012-7

Lunar occultation of Jupiter, 07/15/2012, from center to top: Venus, constellation of Taurus, Crescent Moon, Jupiter;  seen from Bologna, Italy…

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BestOf2012-5

Star trails over the woods of Lower Bavaria, Germany…

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BestOf2012-8

The stars and the Milky Way reflecting in a pristine mountain lake, South Tyrol, Italy…

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BestOf2012-10

The stars and Venus are shining bright over the Dolomites early morning, while the city lights of Auronzo lying under a blanket of high clouds, Italy…

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BestOf2012-11

A view of the Milky Way, with the constellations of Cepheus and Cygnus and its reddish hydrogen-alpha nebulae, on a clear September night, Lower Bavaria, Germany…

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BestOf2012-9

The setting crescent Moon, accompanied by Mars (next to Moon) and Antares, over the city of Volgograd, formerly known as Stalingrad, Russia…

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BestOf2012-12

Twilight at the end of the day @ Passo di Giau, the Dolomites, Italy…

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Always Good Light, Cheers!!!

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The Milky Way – By Canon 1100 d(a) & Vixen Polarie

Ever wondered how to get  those very “rich” Milky Way shots? First, you need  a sturdy tripod and a solid ball head; my combo is the Manfrotto tripod 055CXPRO3 with the Manfrotto ballhead 498RC2. Instead of the camera, place the versatile Vixen Polarie Star Tracker onto your camera mounting plate. Though the Polarie only got a 1/4″ thread screw for attaching a second ballhead to the camera mounting block, I add a 1/4″-3/8″ adapter to it, which allows me to use the more versatile ballheads which come with a 3/8″ thread. Then, I put my modified Canon camera (with a fast lens, f 2.8 or higher) onto the mounting plate. Align the Polarie in the direction of Polaris – and that´s it! For more info check this site: http://www.vixenoptics.com/mounts/polarie.html .

The Canon 1100 d(a) is a modified camera, especially for photographing the red hydrogen-alpha-nebulae. For more info (german), check this out: http://www.astro-shop.com/Katalog/Info/8hgnhi.html, or this one (english):http://www.hutech.com/AstroCamera.htm .

Here are some of my favorite images of that combo from my latest sojourn to Austria and Italy during the last New-Moon-phase, November 2012. One thing that amazes me the most is the fact how much information a single RAW file contains. All images has been processed in Lightroom 4 only – so far; with which I was very satisfied – until yesterday. I got hold of the incredible NIK Complete Collection Software : http://www.niksoftware.com/site/ , and what should I say?! After finding the right set-up with the different filters and sliders, the images boosted up like I only could have dreamed of before! Within the first three images, the foreground gets blurred while tracking for the stars. But I don´t mind that – not yet; that will be the next step – making a composite of the tracked stars and a static foreground. See for yourself and let me know what you think of.

I´m not sponsored by any of these companies; I just enjoy their products and find them very helpful to master my hobbies. You might click on the images to get a larger view. Enjoy!

 

View an update on this story here: https://wp.me/p1aVSr-Z2

 

121 sec./16 mm, left: LR 4 only, right: NIK added…

177 sec./20 mm, left: LR 4 only, right: NIK added…

296 sec./20 mm, left: LR 4 only, right: NIK added…

30 sec./115 mm, left: LR 4 only, right: NIK added; by the way: this is the so-called North America Nebula or NGC 7000…

52 sec./10 mm, left: LR 4 only, right: NIK added; notice the reflection of the MW at the lake…

 

“The Milky Way is a large spiral galaxy, a flattened disk containing billions of stars mixed with dust and gas. Knowledge of what lies at the center of our Milky Way may very well hold the secret to the forces that shape billions of other spiral galaxies throughout the universe.”

(from the book: Treasures of the Southern Sky)

The MilkyWay, A Fireball, A Wigwam And A New Toy

As I have said a couple of times before, the clear nights in Germany during summer time are just a few, and for that (if you are in “astronomy landscape photography”), you have to take those nights  by chance. Last saturday was one of  them, the MilkyWay standing high on the firmament, the Moon wasn´t around yet, and by pure chance I´d found this  huge wigwam a couple of days ago. While a was setting up the camera and doing some test-shoots, a very bright meteor, a so-called Fireball, was hitting the scene. I yelled out at the sight of this beast – never have seen such a huge one before, nor photographed one. Here is the explanation from a good site: “A fireball is another term for a very bright meteor, generally brighter than magnitude -4, which is about the same magnitude of the planet Venus in the morning or evening sky. A bolide is a special type of fireball which explodes in a bright terminal flash at its end, often with visible fragmentation.” You can find out more here: http://www.amsmeteors.org/fireballs/faqf/.  I was so overwhelmed by the pure sight of this spectacle, but there was no one around to share it with. After that “flash”, I tried other compositions and finally found the right angle to get everything into the frame. The second image was made using a new toy, the Vixen Polarie, a small piece of technology, doing the work like an equatorial mount, but only with the size of a camera. With the Sigma 10.5 mm Fisheye lens, I´ve been able to do 60 sec. images without blurring the foreground and still getting sharp stars. With 120 sec. of exposure, you get either a blurred foreground, or tiny star trails (which are only visible using the 1:1 view). The solution would be to blend two different images, one with a sharp foreground, and one with dot-like stars, combined via PhotoShop. No problem now with the Polarie, but since I got no PS (yet), I used the 59 sec. single shot in this post. It´s been also very helpful to use the modified Canon 1100 d, which got an up to 5-times higher infrared sensitivity, for making the red, hydrogen-alpha nebulae more visible. That all combined with a sturdy tripod and an intervalometer, one can only be stopped by the bright rising Moon. The drawbacks of night-photography? light-pollution and air-plane traffic! and of course, it can get scary sometimes, like triggering off a light barrier while walking along a dark forest path with 18 kg of backpack – but luckily nothing happened. Enjoy!

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A huge meteor, a so-called Fireball, hitting the scene. Notice the blue/green hues to the left, after that, the meteor fragmented into a bright white ball…30 sec., fixed camera;

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The MilkyWay over the wigwam; single shot, 59 sec. with Vixen Polarie; the North America Nebula is visible at center top, while our neighboring galaxy, the Andromeda Nebula, can be spotted between the tent spires…

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The MilkyWay with its reddish, hydrogen-alpha nebulae; 120 sec. and Cokin P 830, on Vixen Polarie…

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Like the one before, but without softener; two 120 sec. images stacked….

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“You are only able to see what allows you to be seen!”

(Author: ?)