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Astronomical Attempt

Astronomical Attempt
Photo Information
Copyright: Reed Radcliffe (rlrad) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 142 W: 8 N: 375] (1374)
Genre: Places
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2011-10-21
Categories: Nature, Event, Experimental, Nocturnal
Camera: Nikon D7000, Nikon DX AF-S 70-300mm 1:4.5-5.6 G VR
Exposure: f/5.6
Details: Tripod: Yes
More Photo Info: [view]
Map: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Date Submitted: 2011-11-07 5:21
Viewed: 1305
Points: 2
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
This photo represents two more firsts for me - I had never attempted to photograph the night sky before (well, I shot the moon a couple times) and I have created a watermark for my photos. I have always disliked watermarks on photos, especially when they are so obnoxiously large that they detract greatly from the image. However, I have been warned that I should have one since there is so much photo stealing going on out there. Do I really care if someone steals this photo? Probably not, but it was a good one to test the watermark on.

Back to the actual photography. My meetup group had an event at a local astronomy park a couple of weeks ago, to experiment with shooting the night sky. The place is relatively close to St. Louis, so the sky was fairly light, which isn't conducive to photographing the stars. However, it was a great place to experiment to see if we all wanted to get together at a location much further away for a more serious attempt.

I learned several things. ISO 400 at f5.6 for 30 seconds is almost optimum for my camera to keep from having too much noise and to keep the stars from making a real noticeable trail with my Sigma 10-10mm lens. My 70mm - 300mm zoom was the best to capture the trails. I used it for this photo, it was set at f5.6, iso 400 and I left the shutter open for about 200 seconds. I think I may have gotten similar results with my 50mm f1.8, as I shot this at the 70mm focal length. My 50mm is an FX lens, so on a DX camera it is equal to about 70mm.

I tried my Sigma super-wide at several very long shutter speeds, but it never got such wonderfully defined trails. Next time I will know to utilize the 50mm or the 70 to 300.

We only had a couple hours of good darkness with no clouds, so time limited the amount of experimentation I could do. I will attempt this again and try for better trails. I though this one was pretty interesting because of all the different colors of trails (the stars look a lot alike with the naked eye) and the path the airplane took across the frame.

Shot in RAW (Nikon NEF). Converted in DxO Pro, then a few hot pixels cleaned up in Photoshop CS4. I added a frame and resized for TL in Irfanview 4.30.

The quest for photographic knowledge continues!

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I have also tried to shoot planes as they go over and I love that little dotted pattern they leave in the sky! Nice experiment Reed. I wish we could find a watermark that is only in the EXIF data and not the photo. But really, the size of our photos makes them unavailable for blowing up etc...and most would be rejected by stock companies.

You did a great job here keeping the camera from any shake, etc. Nice straight lines. I might would have gone more diagonal, but you did a fine job on this.

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