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 😛

52Frames – 2021-17 – Nature

The theme for this week’s 52Frames was “Nature”, with an extra credit for “Use a tripod”. We setup the telescope a few weeks ago, but there’s been a conjunction of “not having the correct adapter” and “weather is stupid” that meant that I had not tried to take pictures with my DSLR on the telescope yet.

Yesterday evening, I had the correct adapter and the weather was nice – so I tried to fiddle a bit with the equipment. It’s far from perfect – for one thing, the focus was a lot of click&pray (I need to see how to do that properly – I have the theory, I miss a crucial part on my camera interface, and it was dark last night); still, this is my best shot of the moon so far, I think.

And, well, astrophotography was explicitly in theme, and the scope mount definitely counts as “tripod”, so there, I have a picture for this week!

52Frames – 2019 Week 07 – Uncommon

The theme for 52Frames this week was Uncommon. I’ll admit that this kind of theme is not necessarily my cup of tea, because I find it too wide. And the extra credit “Portrait of a stranger” gets “all the nopes” from me, so that didn’t work as a “helpful restriction”.

Thankfully, we had a very nice full-moon this week – a “supermoon”, even (I missed the completely full moon, but oh well), and it happened to hide behind my neighbour’s balcony when it first rose. I thought the Moon “trapped” in a prison-like grid was uncommon enough to submit it for this week’s theme 🙂

The shot itself was not very difficult – my cheap Sigma telephoto lens is actually good enough to get reasonable results, both in terms of exposure (f/11, 1/250ms, ISO adjusted as required) and in terms of focus – that’s really the hard part, but I think I’m getting the gist of it now (yay for focus peaking and live view zoom!).