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Astrophotography

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Offline moose58

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Astrophotography
« on: February 02, 2007, 10:30:07 AM »
:D Hey everyone! Not sure if this has ever been addresses, but does anyone have any experiences, notes, or technical information on doing some astrophotography in Big Bend. And, if you do, the best places and times. Thanks for the information and opinions!

Michael

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Offline The Scorpion

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Astrophotography
« Reply #1 on: February 02, 2007, 11:01:55 AM »
Michael, i have taken my scope to BIBE 2 times, never really had much chance to do any serious observing or make a lame attempt at astrophotography.

There is another member on the forum that takes his scope out there. Also I know several people who observe from Terlingua Ranch and do a lot of astrophotography out there.

best place to set up? just about anywhere really.

best times, just depends on what objects you are going after, preferablly during a new moon or a time when the moon is not up during your session

James
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http://jamesb.smugmug.com/BigBendNationalPark/

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Offline homerboy2u

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Astrophotography
« Reply #2 on: February 02, 2007, 11:30:21 AM »
Quote from: "jamesb"
Michael, i have taken my scope to BIBE 2 times, never really had much chance to do any serious observing or make a lame attempt at astrophotography.

There is another member on the forum that takes his scope out there. Also I know several people who observe from Terlingua Ranch and do a lot of astrophotography out there.

best place to set up? just about anywhere really.

best times, just depends on what objects you are going after, preferablly during a new moon or a time when the moon is not up during your session

James


 Just page SA Bill......... :o
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Offline dryer

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Re: Astrophotography
« Reply #3 on: February 02, 2007, 02:29:18 PM »
Quote from: "moose58"
:D Hey everyone! Not sure if this has ever been addresses, but does anyone have any experiences, notes, or technical information on doing some astrophotography in Big Bend. And, if you do, the best places and times. Thanks for the information and opinions!

Michael


I've been hauling scopes to the park since the 70's .....a 25" and 12.5" reflectors, misc. other scopes and binoculars over the years.   My favorite place to set up is Nugent Mtn. 1/2 just below "Ted Nugent" mountain  8)
That site is high up enough to get above the haze the park's developed and isn't as dusty as some of the lower sites.
If you just want to take nice astro photos, you'll need a film or digital camera that will allow you to leave the shutter open many minutes to hours.   You can build something called a "barn door" mount for your camera so you can polar allign it.  
Some links if you want to build one.  
http://www.tucsonastronomy.org/barndoor.html
http://www.jlc.net/~force5/Astro/ATM/Barndoor/barndoor.html
http://users.indytel.com/~rnabholz/barndoor/index.htm

You can get some amazing pictures with a simple mount and a good camera out there.
KD5IVP, Texas

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Offline SA Bill

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Astrophotography
« Reply #4 on: February 03, 2007, 07:22:29 PM »
Hi moose58!
BB is such a great place for star gazing & picture taking. It's so dark out there that the sky comes alive with stars. Even in the Basin campground, the sky is much, much darker than most other places.

I too have been hauling scopes out to BB ever since I started going out there...'76 was the first trip. As I get older, the observing is becoming more the reason for going than the hiking...my knees ain't what they used to be!

Best place for star gazing in BB? Almost any place! As Dryer mentioned, out in the desert is great! I usually stay up in the Basin where it's cooler and where I can have a shade cover. I go to sleep shortly after sunset  and let everyone else in the campground settle down and turn out their lights while I catch a few ZZZs. Then I get up around midnight and stay up all night observing. At sunup, I slip back in the sleeping bag and sleep as long as I can before the sun and neighbors wake me up. Makes for tired days but the observing is worth it!

I never got into astrophotography... too much time, expense and effort to do it well. So I collect ancient photons with my very own Mark II eyes. I would suggest trying star trail photos if you're just getting started. All you need is an inexpensive film cam, a tripod and some way to keep the shutter open for an hour or two. Pick a nice foreground object...Casa Grande (not David!), an ocotillo, some ruins...set the camera on Bulb with the lens set two stops down from wide open...use 400 ISO film...lock down the tripod and open the shutter. After an hour or more, close the shutter and advance the film. Repeat as needed. You should get some nice star trails. Oh, this works best when the moon is not washing out the sky. Some moon can add illumination to the landscape but too much moon makes the foreground look just like it was sunny. After all, moon light is just reflected sun light.

Good luck and post any pics for us to see!
   Bill
Bill - In San Antonio

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Offline moose58

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Astrophotography
« Reply #5 on: February 03, 2007, 08:53:13 PM »
:D Thanks everyone, these are good suggestions. I think I am going to try and take my telescope with me and my cameras. I am thinking of building the barn door contraption, but I will see what develops. You all have been very helpful!

Michael

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Offline McTullis

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Astrophotography
« Reply #6 on: February 04, 2007, 01:11:24 PM »
One more note on star trail photos. Try to frame the north star if you want to see complete circles. Here's my first star trail photo at BB. Had to tape the shutter down on me digital all ghetto like, but I was happy nonetheless.


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Offline SA Bill

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Astrophotography
« Reply #7 on: February 04, 2007, 02:12:43 PM »
Here's one of mine from a long time ago.
   Bill


Bill - In San Antonio

Growing old is mandatory.
Growing up is optional.

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Offline moose58

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Astrophotography
« Reply #8 on: February 04, 2007, 04:19:10 PM »
Those photos are absolutely awesome. I am hoping I can get something like that on my first attempt. Thanks! Now I am getting really excited about just trying!

Michael

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Offline The Scorpion

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Astrophotography
« Reply #9 on: February 04, 2007, 04:45:31 PM »
you will need at least a 15 minute exposure to see some star trails.

if your camera wont do an exposure that long you can take several shots and combine them with what ever photo editing program you have to get the same result. just dont move your camera between exposures

Here are some star trails I took in 2005 (15 minute exposure)



this is the milky way taken in Ft. Davis in 2006 (8 minute exposure), used trlescope tracking mount to track the stars)



James
everything is better with bacon!!!

http://jamesb.smugmug.com/BigBendNationalPark/

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SHANEA

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Speaking of...
« Reply #10 on: February 04, 2007, 05:54:54 PM »

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Offline moose58

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Astrophotography
« Reply #11 on: February 05, 2007, 03:12:55 PM »
I got to thinking with all the suggestions of making barndoors etc, I have an older telescope with all the right ascension, declination etc. settings that I never quite understood. Anyway, does anyone think that I would be able to mount my camera to it and use that as a barndoor type setup. Maybe some of you guys could shed some light on this. I might have to post a photo of the old telescope to help. Any thoughts on this or am I barking up the wrong tree.

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Offline 01ACRViper

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Astrophotography
« Reply #12 on: February 05, 2007, 04:13:15 PM »
fredmiranda.com is a great photography resource, i'm not sure about this side of photography though. if you have a lower end DSLR, you might have issues with noise when you try to shoot stars for extended (10+ minutes) exposures. i can do up to and a little longer than 10 minutes, but much longer than that the noise is unbearable.

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Offline Casa Grande

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Astrophotography
« Reply #13 on: February 05, 2007, 04:52:38 PM »
Quote from: "SA Bill"
Here's one of mine from a long time ago.
   Bill




bill, this is great..

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Offline SA Bill

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Astrophotography
« Reply #14 on: February 05, 2007, 08:00:24 PM »
moose58:
Is the mount driven...that is, does it have a motor to track the stars? If so, you might be able to do some short exposure star pics.
  Bill
Bill - In San Antonio

Growing old is mandatory.
Growing up is optional.

 


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