A very late night...

Discussion in 'Astrophotography' started by wjiang, May 22, 2015.

  1. wjiang

    wjiang Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    It's past 4 AM... came back from some late night shooting and just had to process this:
    E-M1, 7.5mm, f/3.5, ISO1600, 8x 20s stack.

    New E-M1 seems just fine doing long exposures versus my old E-M5. Really looking forward to the 8mm f/1.8 though.
    Last edited: May 25, 2015
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  2. MadMarco

    MadMarco Mu-43 Veteran

    Oct 30, 2014
    Guildford, England
    Very nice, I might have to give my Samyang fish-eye a try when I get a chance.
  3. wjiang

    wjiang Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Another one from slightly earlier in the night:
    7.5mm, f/3.5, ISO1600, 7x 15s stacks.

    For those that are interested...

    As far as capture goes, it's just the standard astrophotography routine. Make as long an exposure per frame as possible while maintaining high enough shutter speed to avoid star trails (500 rule, but really the 250 rule for a 2x crop). Expose the sensor to as much light as possible - for E-M5 and E-M1 at least, I've found that it's better to increase the ISO to expose properly, than to underexpose and have to push too much in post (you get way more awful noise if you push too hard). Unfortunately this means you might blow out stuff like those port lights in the distance, but hey, you win some you lose some. I've described the post-processing stuff in this thread: https://www.mu-43.com/threads/74514/

    The thing that helps most is planning. Try to avoid moon-lit nights (or wait until the moon sets), the moon has a similar effect to light pollution. The more you can pre-visualise where the milky way is going to be in your scene ahead of time, the better. Arrive before you intend to shoot, because at these long exposures the milky way is going to be moving significantly on you from shot to shot and even more so between compositions. The more time you waste setting up and figuring things out, the more likely that you'll miss the shot because the milky way has moved up too high in the sky, clouds/haze comes in, lens fogs up, etc. I spent way too long messing about and finding a good vantage point before I got this one.

    Mostly, give it a go! I got this shot from a place less than 1 hour drive from my house, at the local beach. The first shot was about similar distance, but up a hill. I had no idea that just going out a bit would make such a big difference in terms of light pollution.
    Last edited: May 25, 2015
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  4. Lcrunyon

    Lcrunyon Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Jun 4, 2014
    Have you used the Live Composite function for night photography?
  5. wjiang

    wjiang Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    I briefly tried it, but came to the conclusion that it would only be useful for star trails, fireworks, and light painting. Would like to be shown otherwise though! It seems like the way it works is that you set up the initial exposure for say, 2s, ISO1600, f/3.5 as a baseline, and the camera will do multiple of those exposures and accumulate only the areas that are brighter than the reference first frame. Any areas that do not change brightness stay pretty much as they are exposure-wise. It makes it ideal for anything where the bright areas are temporally or spatially changing, but not so much for milky way landscapes, where stars don't change brightness, and it's not desirable for the stars to shift in the frame.

    Will definitely try it for fireworks the next time I have the chance. Should make for much less guesswork around timing.
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2016
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  6. Lcrunyon

    Lcrunyon Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Jun 4, 2014
    Hmmmm... Perhaps I misunderstood what it was supposed to do. I tried it once with a Christmas tree scene and couldn't get it to work, but perhaps I was just applying it wrong. I had thought it was for night scenes with highlights of varying brightness. The camera would expose in bulb mode, but sort of "turn off" highlight areas before they became overexposed - almost the opposite process of what you were explaining. I had mentioned it because I had thought it would had been effective in images like your first one, with dim stars and bright building lights.
  7. N14ll

    N14ll Mu-43 Regular

    Feb 28, 2017
    Galway, Ireland
    Stunning shots. I really need to learn more about astrophotography because your photographs are amazing! Have been to NZ and the night sky there is amazing. Stayed with relatives near whakatane and there were so many stars in the sky it was amazing.
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  8. 3dpan

    3dpan Mu-43 Veteran

    Mar 11, 2017
    Far North, New Zealand
    I like that shot too. Must have been way after 4am as the Kiwi Nebula is high above the horizon.
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