Monday, March 14, 2016

A Beautiful Dark Sky

looking south & checking space weatherI was down at Venus Bay, and one long held desire I hold  is to be able to photograph an Aurora (the Aurora Australis) from there. The crescent moon was setting so I guessed we would have wonderful dark skies but checking the space weather indicated any activity was well south. Oh well the sun spot activity is fairly strong I’ll just have to keep waiting.

What I did find was a really beautiful sky full of stars, and a perfect opportunity to go for a really large image covering a lot of the milky way.As stitched pano from Autostitch I only had one camera (my Canon EOS 1100D) with me and my widest length lens was the EPS 18-55mm IS macro (which is a great kit lens but not so good at focusing in the dark). So I cranked up the focal length to 18ml, opened up the aperture to f4 and ISO 6400 but I still needed the full 30 second than the canon allows its maximum exposure time. The Images are fairly noise (a consequence of the high ISO but lightroom’s detail tools bough this under control without blurring the stars (too much). The next challenge was stitching the images which where essentially a two by two grid. Often stitching star panorama challenges most conventional stitching software but Autostitch did an excellent job. I had given it about 40-50% overlap on the images. However it does leave a ragged edge, so I decided to “hide” this not by cropping back tighter instead I added a sloppy edge from OnOne 10 effects borders.


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This is a big view of the sky from the eastern Horizon to straight above. Taken with only an 18mm lens (on a crop sensor style DSLR)

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