We like the Moon!

Taking pictures of the Moon is probably Astrophotography 101 in any book – but hey, look at that, I’m a beginner!

I think the first pictures of the Moon that I took were during the lunar eclipse of 2018. Turns out – it’s not a GREAT idea to start there, because, well, it’s significantly harder (because it’s less bright, which makes light problematic, and focus even more so). Still, I did get SOMETHING.

I tried again a month later, and there was only a half-moon up, so again – not making my life easier.

But it felt pretty satisfying, still, and I let that one be for roughly a year. Then, we had the “Moon” theme in the Scavenger Hunt – a good way to revisit the subject! That’s what I had submitted for the Hunt:

This was obviously less in the pure “astrophotography” category and more in the “trying stuff out” category – and I still like that image a lot, for what it’s worth. I still have one cropped shot from this time (that’d be February 2019):

Those were all shots that I did with only my DSLR, a tripod, and a telelens.

Fast-forward a couple of years to, well, now – and it so happens that we have a telescope and a friend who knows how to setup that thing and I have a Pierre who’s interested enough in the whole “so, how does that thing actually WORK” to make it work for me. A few weeks ago, we set it up on the balcony, and I was actually quite impressed with what I was able to get from my phone aligned by my shaky hands on the eyepiece (there’s absolutely zero processing there apart from whatever the phone camera does – which is A LOT and TOO MUCH in other contexts, but that’s another story).

Since that night, I procured a so-called T-ring for my Pentax which allows me to basically use the telescope as a gigantic lens. I did an half-assed attempt on Friday evening; I had focus issues because the live view of my camera was completely blown out, but I still managed to get this one.

And finally, last night, I figured out how to not blow the live view of my camera (the secret was to set the exposure detection as “spot” and not “whole picture”). Pierre also managed to setup the lunar tracking on the telescope mount, which helped tremendously. I took several pictures, and I played around with their stacking/processing in Planetary system Stacker (and Lightroom for the final image).

And, I must say, I’m quite happy with the end result. I definitely want to try to experiment a bit more with that setup (and probably shoot at 1/400 instead of 1/500, 1/500 is a bit dark) and try to stack a bit more images (this one is a stack of 8 out of 20), but this pleases me 🙂

Next step is to try to find another interesting, deeper space object that’s visible from my balcony, both in terms of “angle” and “luminosity considering I’m, well, still in a city 😉 The Orion nebula was an option earlier in the month, but I think it’s now too bright outside when it would be visible/not hidden by the building 😛

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