Minchinhampton Milkyway

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Stayed up to the early hours of this morning as it was clear and the milkyway core visible period was between 1.30am and 3.30am…

Didn’t fancy the trip to Broadway Tower without knowing if they lock the gate (they have not replied to my recent contact as yet) so popped up to Minch Common instead…

Was very cold, spookily quiet and seemingly dark… however due to the milkyway’s position at this time of year I had to point the lens towards the town and this gave me more air glow than I would have liked…

I started shooting around 2.30am and finished around 3.30am… it was only when I got home I actually felt tired lol…

So the results of my efforts… first up a panorama… 16 shots in total (2 rows of 8 images), processed in Lightroom then tweaked further in Photoshop…

Minchinhampton Milkyway

Just to be sure I also took a couple of single landscape images
Minchinhampton Milkyway

…last shot included my little workhorse daily… need to get one with the S3 in sometime 🙂
Minchinhampton Milkyway

Happy with the results… was more air glow than I realised so need to play with white balance of the shots (currently use daylight to ensure consistent results) and learn more about editing in photoshop to try and improve the output.. seems astro photography is very post edit intensive especially DSO…

Here is a single unprocessed image from the panorama to give you an idea of the start point..
Minchinhampton Milkyway

I may revisit these images at a later date to see if I can improve things 🙂

<tuffty/>

Afternoon walk on Rodborough Common

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Had a bit of a lazy morning (I am on leave after all 🙂 ) but did get around to cleaning my camera kit so not all wasted..

The weather was not fantastic but not raining so decided to nip out and have a drive about to see if there was anything to take a picture of… ended up on Rodborough Common so got out and had a walk about…

Was nice to have a walk (something I don’t really do often enough) and took a few photos while I was there…
Afternoon walk on Rodborough Common

Afternoon walk on Rodborough Common

Afternoon walk on Rodborough Common

Afternoon walk on Rodborough Common

I did take a couple of panorama’s too but they were a little unexciting tbh so I didn’t export those.

Hoping for a clear night over the weekend, its looking promising but will see what happens and how long I can stay awake 🙂

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Time off from work photos

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Have taken a couple of weeks off work as I had some days I need to use up before the end of June…

I have a few shots planned… milkyway of some description, possibly some sun rise/sets, long exposures using the ‘big stopper’ ND filter and I want to have a go at getting a shot of the Andromeda galaxy using the tracker..

Was a little tired after the bank holiday racing so spent the day finishing off my assignments and exams for the online courses in Photoshop and Lightroom I have been taking… wasn’t too sure on the Photoshop one as its quite technical and I don’t use it enough to really get to grips with it but thankfully I still managed to pass the final exam so happy with that..

Today I took the S3 on a jolly to Broadway Tower…

Time off from work photo time

First time in ages I have stretched the old girls legs a bit and first time I had used the retro-fitted RNS-E’s sat nav to direct me to Broadway… can say that both car and sat nav performed faultlessly…

Broadway tower was quite busy which was a bit of a pain to be fair as it made it a little tricky to do the shots I had planned… but I did take a couple…
Time off from work photo time

Time off from work photo time

Tried a long exposure shot with the ND1000 filter… f16, 20secs, ISO100
Time off from work photo time

Had to edit out a couple of ‘ghost’ artefacts where people were moving in and out of the shot… next time if its quite bright I may add my ND 8 filter on top to try and get a longer exposure to see if that helps…

Another shot I had planned to take was a milkyway panoramic… using PlanIt on my Android tablet I got an idea of when and how the shot could be taken…
Time off from work photo time

This is set to be a pano and composure was to try and place Broadway tower some where underneath it…
Time off from work photo time

Setup the tripod with the pano head and used the Samyang 24mm as this is the lens I will use on the night… the result is a 16 shot (2 x 8) panoramic image… while I know its not exactly the most stunning image in the world as it stands it was more a technical exercise to see if the shot was plausible..
Time off from work photo time

The only thing I need to check is if the gate to the tower is locked at all at night but there is a national trust walk as part of it so should be ok but I don’t want to turn up a 2am only to find I can’t get to the tower for the shot..

Overall a good day… got to see my mates, drive the S3 on some decent roads, take some pictures and have some fairly decent results… need to spend the evening blasting the dust out of the camera and lenses as there were a few dust spots on the images but all be ready for tomorrow and will try and get out again 🙂

<tuffty/>

Castle Combe 2017 Race 1

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First race of the year… didn’t really get many images on the day as I was making sure I was available to support Bill and train up the new guy 🙂

Anyway… race went fantastically well… Bill qualified second on grid with a personal best lap time of 1.13.9… race got off to a good start and Bill came in a solid 2nd in the race and in his class only missing out on the lap record by 0.2 seconds and slashing his personal best with a 1.13.6…

Was a great start to the season 🙂

Castle Combe 2017 Race 1

Castle Combe 2017 Race 1

Castle Combe 2017 Race 1

Castle Combe 2017 Race 1

Castle Combe 2017 Race 1

Castle Combe 2017 Race 1

Castle Combe 2017 Race 1

Castle Combe 2017 Race 1

Castle Combe 2017 Race 1

Castle Combe 2017 Race 1

Castle Combe 2017 Race 1

Castle Combe 2017 Race 1

Castle Combe 2017 Race 1

Castle Combe 2017 Race 1

Castle Combe 2017 Race 1

Castle Combe 2017 Race 1

Castle Combe 2017 Race 1

Castle Combe 2017 Race 1

<tuffty/>

Moon Rising

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Planning a moon rise shot is one thing… executing it seems to be a different thing altogether!…

Planning wise you ideally want to be getting the rise in the day(ish) light if you want some foreground interest to be included due to the moons brightness… if the sun is down its difficult to get the exposure right as the moon is bright and the background dark which the camera can’t handle well…

The weather (being the UK) is the unpredictable variable… the skies overhead were clear enough, blue with a few wispy clouds… arrived at the location I had chosen and looked promising..

Moon Rising

As the sun sank into the horizon it became evident all was a little cloudier than first thought…
Moon Rising

I waited it out though as you never know…
Moon Rising

…hummm… looking a little ‘misty’ to say the least but sure enough the moon started to poke up over the horizon…

Used the 6D, 100-400L and 2x Extender to get the moon a decent size in frame, meant I lost AF of course but no drama… apart from I hadn’t fitted the stabilising bracket I normally use on this setup so focusing was a pain plus with the ever decreasing light from the sunset and the stark contrast of the moon I was struggling a little with exposure… I think I was just rushing to be honest as it was the first opportunity I had in all my recent planned shots to actually try capturing the moon rise…

As a result I did get a couple of shots in…
Moon Rising

Moon Rising

Happy enough with the outcome as its the first time I have been able to be in a position to get this type of shot…

As always I learnt from the experience… need to bring my stabilising bracket, focus on ‘focus’, bracket the shots to ensure a chance of exposing correctly against the fairly rapidly changing lighting conditions..

I think I was also a little late in the cycle on the cross over between sun set and moon rise… if I was a day or so earlier then I may not have had to battle with exposure as much… now I have finally popped my moon rise cherry I can go into the next opportunity a little wiser 🙂

<tuffty/>

Where has all the time gone!!

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So it would appear that I haven’t posted for some time… to be honest there has not been a load to post about as I have not taken many pictures and been busy fixing cars and work related fun and games…

As mentioned in “Last post of 2016” the S3 was broken… turns out it wasn’t the rear diff/haldex after all but the centre CV of the prop… the cage had shattered and it was pretty much carnage in there..

Where has all the time gone!

Joys of owing a car with power… didn’t help as the trusty daily A2 developed a fuel leak from the tandem pump and made all the coolant hoses swell and leak… so ended up with two broken cars at the same time!!

Both are now fixed and working as they should… for now at least lol..

Inspired by borrowing my dads old Nikon film camera I grabbed a cheap Canon AE-1 from eBay… came with a couple of lenses and needed a proper clean so the detailer in me got to work… pleased with the results of what is essentially a 37 year old camera

Where has all the time gone!

Where has all the time gone!

Where has all the time gone!

Have loaded some Ilford HP5 B&W film in and will post the results when I have finished the roll… the main downside of actual film photography is the whole end to end process of taking pictures to getting the final images can be so protracted for casual use…

I recently managed to acquire a cheap tracking mount… I have been looking at these for some time now but they are generally too expensive to justify the amount of use I time to give it at the moment.

The Sky Watcher Star Adventurer comes as a kit of everything you are likely to need to get started… I won’t go into detail in this post but you can have a read of Phil Harts review here…. I will do a write up at a later date when I have had a chance to produce some results… It will warrant a post of its own as tracked astro photography can get quite involved.

I did a quick test at the weekend to get my head around polar alignment and the basics of setting it all up… The moon is up at the moment so wide field stuff was off the table for now plus the Milkyway’s core is visible at around 3am this time of year… not much chance of that happening on a school night.

The velux in my loft office is north facing so meant I could do a test setup in relative comfort.. using a combination of Stellarium and a Polar Finder app on the phone I got the mount polar aligned (hopefully)

I tried a variety of settings and exposure times… not quite hit the sweet spot yet I feel but its close and will of course be largely dependant on conditions on the night of shooting…

I used my 6D body and the 70-200f2.8 for the test… typical exposure time for this using the 500 rule would be around 2.5 seconds before star trailing would potentially start to creep in… the shot below was taken over 2 minutes on the tracker!!

Where has all the time gone!

Some more editing would have gotten rid of the glow but tbh it was more to push exposure times and validate polar alignment… 2 minute exposures would be the extreme to be honest as DSLR sensors heat up on long exposures causing noise…

The mount also had a lunar setting so had to try that too… with lunar tracking engaged it appeared to keep the moon in frame pretty much all the time… this is ideal as it gives you more chance of getting focus spot on…

Took 5 shots using the intervolmeter as the trigger… all were in the same spot in frame and all sharp.

Where has all the time gone!

I have some time off work soon so plan to explore getting a Moon rise, Milkyway and a DSO (deep sky object) shot of the Andromeda galaxy…

Thats about it for now… I should be updating a little more regularly now the weather is getting better… I will feel more like getting out shooting… plus I need to use up the B&W films and get them developed…

Here are a few pics I have taken over the past couple of months though… nothing spectacular but I like them 🙂

Where has all the time gone!

Where has all the time gone!

Where has all the time gone!

Where has all the time gone!

Where has all the time gone!

Where has all the time gone!

Where has all the time gone!

Where has all the time gone!

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