Tag Archives: Sagittarius

Going Deep With: Canon 1100 d(a), Vixen Polarie And PixInsight

Since about one year now, I got those deep sky images lying on my hard drive, which I took back then while traveling the East Coast of Australia in August 2013. All I could do was processing the single images via Lightroom and even making mosaics via Hugin software. The results have been satisfying, but I knew there must be more to it. So I got myself PixInsight (http://pixinsight.com), a special software for processing deep sky images, and most important to me, it also runs on a Mac. Taking images is one thing, but processing them (to me) is much more complex. So I got myself that miraculous piece of software, but could´t work with properly until my Austrian based friend Bernd Weinzierl got to my aid. Make sure you take a look at his stuff at: http://innerberg-astro.lima-city.de/index.html. We did some sort of joint-venture then; Bernd processed my images with PixInsight and the result almost blew my mind. Never before had I dreamed about making such MilkyWay shots myself – until now. Makes me want to head back to Australia right now and shoot the hell out of it while the center of our home galaxy is still at the zenith – a paradise for deep-sky-imaging. But for now, I got enough stuff already to process to, not speaking about the mosaics possible now…stay tuned. All you need for doing this is: a modified camera like the Canon 1100 d, a startracking device like the Vixen Polarie, a sturdy (carbon) tripod, two ballheads, an intervalometer, a fast lens (f2.8 or less) and of course clear skies. And most of all, someone who can operate the complex PixInsight software. Once you are into it, new dimensions will unfold – the stars are yours! Enjoy!

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Original Raw-file: 119 sec., f 3.5, Iso 1600 @ 20mm…looking right at the center of our home galaxy, the Milkyway…Scorpio to the left, Sagittarius to the right…including star clusters and hydrogen-alpha nebulae…

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Processed Raw-file via Lightroom 5 only…

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Screenshot: eleven images, stacked with PixInsight…

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Final outcome, done with PixInsight and CS5 by Bernd Weinzierl…high-res image can be seen here: http://innerberg-astro.lima-city.de/Bilder%20gross/Widefields/Milchstrassenzentrum.jpg

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“Life is like a camera. Focus on what is important. Capture the good times. Develop from the negatives. And if things don´t turn out, take another shot.”

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Australia: Land Of Stars

When I went to Australia in 1990-91 and 1999-2000, I had no eyes then for the night sky – this time, I did! The night sky is just amazing and beyond words, though there is a lot of light pollution now along the east coast. In August (Australian winter), the Milky Way is visible from around 07pm until 04am, and the center of our home galaxy, between the constellation of Scorpius and Sagittarius, is straight up at the zenith. It can´t get much better – even the temperatures at night were moderate. So set up the cameras and enjoy the show, while time is running fast…! As always, I´m going to develop the night sky images first, going a step further this time by making panoramas and mosaics of the MW and combining static and star trail images into one. Hope you enjoy them!

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Mosaic of the Milky Way: 20 single images, each @ 70mm (110mm on a 1100 Da), 20 sec, f 2.8, Iso 3200, tracked with Vixen Polarie…(original file size: 925 MB/16 bit !)

Workflow MW: importing RAW´s into Lightroom 4 and doing global adjustments; exporting images to Hugin for panorama/mosaic; output image back into LR4 doing minor adjustments; exporting image into Color Efex Pro and see how it works; bringing the image then back into LR4 and doing adjustments again – finished…

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Star trails, including the Milky Way: 55 single images, each @ 20mm (32mm on a 1100 Da), 120 sec, f 3.2, Iso 800 and one static image, tracked with Vixen Polarie, 120 sec., f 3.2, Iso 800; this is my first star trails image shot with the modified 1100 d, which can be seen by the reddish hydrogen-alpha nebulae, like M16, M17, M20, M8 and NGC 6357, 6334 and 6188, from right to left…

Workflow Star trails: importing RAW´s into Lightroom 4 and doing global adjustments; exporting images to StarStaxx; re-importing the output image into LR4 doing adjustments again; exporting the trail image and the static image into Gimp and combining the two; back then into LR4 and from there into Color Efex Pro and see how it works; bringing the image then back into LR4 and doing adjustments again – finished…

Puuh…I´m actually not much into that technical stuff, but I think that´s a good start-up with…Enjoy!

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My Favorite Images Of October 2012

It´s November already and  after selling my property in February (home and workshop, and finally getting the money after a six months long-lasting lawsuit), and after the death of my mother in July, things are getting back to normal, well, some sort of. The debts are paid, I got myself some new toys to play with and a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter for traveling/cruising around. I´m still able to do what I like to do, with the back-up of my  fantastic wife and family, who are supporting my new “life-style” at 100%. The month of October was under the sign of my journey back into the past – to see the place where one of my uncles had fallen during WW II around Volgograd, former Stalingrad, Russia. Enjoy my favorite picks from October!

Hopfields of the Hallertau, Bavaria, during twilight…

Conjunction of Venus and Regulus…

The Moon and fall colors…

Morning dew all around…

“Mother Russia is calling” statue on Mamayev Kurgan Memorial Site, Volgograd (notice the ´blurred` persons to the left)…

The crescent Moon (the sign of the Islam) setting over the Orthodox Church at the Mamayev Kurgan Memorial Site…

The Orthodox Church with its five spires, representing the five wounds of Jesus Christ; the faint stars to right belong to the constellation of Sagittarius…

The setting Moon over Volgograd, accompanied by planet Mars (below) and the bright star Antares (below to the left)…

The Milky Way is faintly visible over the illuminated statue of “Mother Russia”; some may find the so-called ´Summer Triangle` with the stars: Deneb, Altair and Vega…

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“Dreams can become  reality if you are prepared to have a go!” 

(Denis Bartell, Australian Adventurer)

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Volgograd, Russia: The Past And The Present, Part One

“What the fuck am I doing here?!” was my first thought as I was arriving at the Gumrak Airport in Volgograd (the former Stalingrad), on the 13th of October. The flight from Munich to Moscow and then to VOG was delayed and the cold, windy and dreary weather did the rest to my lonesome journey into the past. The one and only reason to get here  was the death of one of my uncles, Martin Priller, during one of the most fiercest battles of WW II, the fight for the city of Stalingrad. While booking my flight a couple of weeks ago, I did not realize then, that my intended travel time from the 12th-19th of October coincided with the 70th anniversary of the death of my uncle – the 16th Oct. 1942! Just five days before I had left home, I have found a website of a local travel agency, and after making contact via Facebook, I had a very reliable, english speaking tour guide – thanks again Mike (Mikhail Shuvarikov). While touring with him, there is no car rental in VOG, I got around places I could not even have dreamed about before. Like having a “scout” who knew all the former cemeteries of the German soldiers and doing some digging there, getting in touch with a patriarch of a once bombed orthodox church or an old lady who were talking about the bombings of Stalingrad of the German Army when she was a child. So many doors opened up, again and again, and time went by like there would be no time at all. Even the weather was cooperating and I had a fantastic last night, spending it at the Mamajey Kurgan Memorial Complex. To be continued.

If anyone is interested in doing a photo tour to VOG, please let me know; I could arrange something like that. Going out to the battlefields and do some digging, visiting the German and Soviet Soldier Cemetery at Rossoschka, doing a city sight-seeing-tour and spend an evening/night at the Mamajev Kurgan Complex. Enjoy!

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The battlefields of Stalingrad, out in the steppe; the supposed area where my uncle has died/was shot; the positions and emplacements are still there, also you can still find – without digging – relics like bones, bullets, shrapnel, buttons of cloth and tents….

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Bones, buttons and shrapnel…everything is still there…

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One of the very few buildings that got out from WW II; some 95 % of former Volgograd was destroyed (bombed)…

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The Orthodox Church at the Mamajev Kurgan Complex during twilight; the stars belong to the constellation of Sagittarius…

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The crescent Moon, Mars and Antares over the city of Volgograd; Mars is about 1.7° separated of the setting Moon…

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The Mamajev Kurgan Memorial Complex at night; the statue “Mother Russia is calling”, standing 85 m tall, is the main attraction, while “The Lake of Tears” smooth surface is reflecting the lights…

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“You must be the change you wish to see in the world!”

(Mahatma Gandhi)
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