Space - The Final Frontier

Discussion in 'Nature' started by zpierce, Aug 19, 2013.

  1. zpierce

    zpierce Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Sep 26, 2010
    Minneapolis, MN
    After several years of sporadically attempting to shoot the night sky, I finally had some success with my OM-D on a cloudless, moonless night on a camping trip in southern Minnesota last week.

    I was amazed how much detail was buried in the raw files. I was blown away by how many stars you could see as you boost the exposure in Lightroom. A fun experiment is to do a 20s exposure so you get a very slight trail and then boost the exposure all the way in lightroom. You get a lot of noise, but you can tell the stars from the noise by their little tails and it's AMAZING how many stars show up that weren't visible to the naked eye (an order of magnitude more). I didn't realize that was possible with a plain old camera and lens setup.

    These photos didn't look like much when I first started, they took quite a lot of post processing in Lightroom. I think it would be really tough to get some great night sky photos shooting JPG.

    I found the 15 second exposure is just about perfect. Bumping up to 20s starts to show noticeable trails.

    This one was the best / my favorite. I used the Rokinon fisheye to get the entire sky. The biggest challenge here was to point the lens straight up without tipping the tripod. I had to keep a foot on a leg! The second challenge with a lens this wide was keeping myself out of the photo :) 

    Rokinon 7.5mm, f3.5, 15s, ISO 800

    <a href="" title="P8110238.jpg by zach.pierce, on Flickr"> 9532416197_1361370558_b. "1024" height="683" alt="P8110238.jpg"></a>

    This one has a nice satellite trail going across it. The hardest part about the native lenses was the focus. I did about 15 short high iso shots to trial and error the focus to the right spot as you can't see anything through the EVF or LCD.

    Panasonic Leica 25mm, f2.0, 15s, ISO 200

    <a href="" title="P8110204.jpg by zach.pierce, on Flickr"> 9532414501_9341efc7a5_b. "1024" height="683" alt="P8110204.jpg"></a>

    This one was one of the 20s exposures I did. You can see the trails. It did expose a ton of stars though with the longer exposure and larger aperture.

    Panasonic Leica 25mm, f1.4, 20s, ISO 200

    <a href="" title="P8110202.jpg by zach.pierce, on Flickr"> 9532413561_4f72cf13e0_b. "1024" height="683" alt="P8110202.jpg"></a>

    Here's a link to the full size original if you're interested in seeing just how many stars were captured. Remember everything with a tail is a star! A lot of the trick in processing these was balancing the noise with the stars. Unlike most photos where that's just a slight tradeoff in detail, with tiny faint stars, every tweak of noise reduction wipes out tons of fainter stars.
  2. Qiou87

    Qiou87 Mu-43 Regular

    Jul 15, 2013
    Paris, France
    Don't know if I'm the only one but I cannot access your pictures on Flickr - private!

    Great shots though, the first one is particularly interesting.
  3. RT_Panther

    RT_Panther Mu-43 Legend

    May 4, 2011
  4. slothead

    slothead Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 14, 2012
    Frederick, MD
    Good work Zack.
  5. Djarum

    Djarum Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Dec 15, 2009
    Huntsville, AL, USA
    Very nice. I wish I had a place with little light pollution to do this.
  6. phoenixag

    phoenixag Mu-43 Rookie

    Aug 1, 2013
    These photos are absolutely beautiful!
  7. zpierce

    zpierce Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Sep 26, 2010
    Minneapolis, MN
    I changed the permissions. I'm surprised they were visible embedded here with the permissions set to private.
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