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 ๐Ÿ™‚
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 ๐Ÿ™‚

<tuffty/>

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 ๐Ÿ™‚

<tuffty/>

Last post of 2016…

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Last post of 2016...

Been a funny old year… relatively uneventful from my perspective I guess other than my nan passing on but the lasting thought of 2016 has got to be the number of celebrity deaths…

Lets hope 2017 is a little better in that respect :/

Anyhoo… not posted for a little while so bit of an all in one update type thang…

Managed to break the S3… something is not happy at the back and shakes the car fairly badly when I go over 15mph… I have bought a replacement diff/haldex/controller for not a lot of money so will just chuck that in (after painting it of course)

Last post of 2016...

Will deal with that in the new year…

My dad lent me the use of one of his cameras… not just any camera but a film camera… been a while since I have used film so looking forward to playing with it… couldn’t see the point in doing colour images with film as there is nothing it really offers over digital for hold any interest to me but black & white is a different matter…
Last post of 2016...

Last post of 2016...

The Nikon F-501 is a little more advanced than ye-olde film cameras having a built in light meter and AF (albeit very rudimentary) but I love the feel of the camera and that you have to think a little harder about taking a shot… its a little frustrating waiting to see the results and I am about half way through the roll of film but hopefully I will have some decent results from it..

Looking forward to trying to up my game with motorcross shots in the new year… 70-200 f2.8 should hopefully net me some decent captures assuming I can get into a decent position… I like the subject isolation f2.8 can provide so will be hopefully getting some nice candid shots from it…

Last post of 2016...

Last post of 2016...

Had a nice two week break over Christmas so rebuilt the drip rig to try and make it more stable and easier to setup…
Last post of 2016...

Should make results more consistent and now have triple splash capability… that side of it needs work though as I need to play with the valve positioning to ensure they all hit at the same time… in the mean time I took a few images to get the rig dialled in on one valve..
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Last post of 2016...

Last post of 2016...

Last post of 2016...

Another little project I played with over Christmas was flower macro’s… as always with things like this I tend to learn loads from the exercise and this time it was to go to a florist rather than Tesco for flowers…

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Last post of 2016...

Last post of 2016...

As I mentioned before my Nan passed away… she was two weeks off her 100th birthday so we celebrated it anyway…
Last post of 2016...

Was nice to meet up with family I hadn’t seen for a while and decided to capture an image to help me remember her by… We have always told our children that when someone dies they become a star in the night sky so I waited for a clear night and took a picture I call ‘Chatting with Nan’…
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To finish up, here are a few random pics I have taken since my last post…
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Happy new year ๐Ÿ™‚

<tuffty/>

Finally a Milkyway shot!!!

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Been a while since I have had looked at doing nightscapes as we were in the middle of ‘summer’ here in the UK… its only just started being astronomically dark again (albeit at around midnight for about an hour) and the weather has been pretty cloudy despite being warm…

Last night presented an opportunity for a night shot as the weather suggested a clear night from 11.30pm and astro dark at midnight… this was good as it coincided with the milky way centre being in a fairly decent position…

As I had yet to bag a shot containing anything that looked remotely like the milkyway so far I was not full of confidence but I had done my homework and read loads of stuff to help me understand what settings I need, what position the MW will be in the sky etc and used my favourite planning app to get an idea of where to be and when…

Finally a Milkyway shot!!!

Biggest issue I have is I live in a class 5 (bortle scale) area for light pollution and I didn’t have the time or inclination to venture too far from home… checking the weather for the immediate area suggested that it may not be as clear in potentially darker areas with a bit of travel so really didn’t fancy going all that way for nothing so I stayed local and was pleasantly surprised at the results…

Finally a Milkyway shot!!!

I cannot begin to tell you how happy I am with the result… granted its not the best example of a MW shot ever but its a milestone for me and has boosted my enthusiasm to improve…

I can’t wait for the autumn/winter ๐Ÿ˜€

<tuffty/>

Pano head version 2 and a clear(ish) night

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I am a serial modder… I will mod just about anything if I can find a reason too… regular readers (all two of you… well maybe one… ok, just me!) may recall I modded a cheap and nasty panorama head (read here)… this was working fine but it was still a bit rough and ready and I couldn’t do multi-level panoramas as the arm was fixed…

So I grabbed another cheap rotating head and some cheap arca swiss rails… this gave me a more solid head with the ability to do multilevel pano’s

Re-calibrated the head for the no-parallax point on the Samyang as I wanted to try for a pano nightscape…

Zero’d for center…

Then 30 degrees rotation…

…and finally 30 degrees up…

Last night presented an opportunity to try it out…

Slight distortion on the electricity structure of course but this picture was made from two rows of 4 images (8 in total) so the head seems to work ok… just a pity light pollution is still high and subject matter is still a little unexciting (soz)

I took a few more pics to try stuff out while I was there…

I was out there a while but only really came home with those two captures… as is most of what I seem to do these days it was a learning exercise and I am happy that I can use the pano head at night

Not content with the last lot of mods to the head I moved onto the next weak point… the ‘L’ bracket… the 6D and Samyang/16-35L combo is heavier than the 50D and 10-18 EF-S… the ‘L’ bracket is quite thin so inspired by the 300 quid pano heads I have seen I bagged a cheap 30cm length of 20×40 aluminium extrusion from eBay (used to make frames for 3D printers) to make a sturdier bracket…

First I cut it into two sections, 100mm for the ‘foot’ and the remaining 200mm for the upright then tapped the bottom of the upright to take M6 bolts…

…then drilled and counter sunk the 100mm piece to attach it to the upright…

Next I fitted a couple of rivnuts to allow the bracket to be fixed to the arca swiss rail

Had to open the slots on the rail a bit to get the M6 bolts in…

Last thing was to drill the upright for the other head…

And job done…

The result is a really solid ‘L’ bracket and the whole head feels very sturdy indeed… just need to re-calibrate for no-parallax again ๐Ÿ™‚

<tuffty/>

Day off photography….

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Continuing one from this mornings sunrise and silhouettes fun and games I had to drop my youngest daughter into town so had a drive around afterwards to find something else to photograph…

First up was a disused factory building…

On the way back from there I went up over the top to look down at the Stroud valleys…

Always willing to experiment I tried the following shot with both the Samyang @ f2.8…

…and @ f4 with the Canon 16-35L…

Quite a difference in DOF….

Despite being awake since 4am this morning its been a throughly good day off… Dominoes, Netflix and an early night I think… good job the moon is out else I may have had to do some nightscapes too ๐Ÿ™‚

<tuffty/>

Last minute nightscapes…

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As of yesterday morning the weather report for a potential new dark(ish) site local to me looked good… so I planned a shoot more to see if this could be worth a revisit if the shots looked promising…

As the day progressed the weather report started looking a little iffy with it changing from clear skies to light cloud and by 9.30pm I had resigned myself to the fact that it wasn’t going to happen… after a quick chat with someone I know who lived in the village near where I planned to shoot I decided to take a chance and set out…

Kinda glad I did as I am pleased with the results… the area is no where near as dark as it needs to be but managed to play with the settings to get some decent results… I really wish the Samyang would report back the f-stop to the camera as it would save me trying to remember which picture was set to what but I started at f2.8 finishing on f1.4… I also tried a few different ISO settings to see what the results would come out like…

Not as happy with the composure on them though and I think I will revisit during the day to get a better idea of whats there and have another go…

So… the pics…

You can just about make out the Milkyway in this shot (at least I hope its the Milkyway lol)

Definitely like to have another go at that location to sort composure… I am sure I can get it looking a little better ๐Ÿ™‚

…just not on a school night as I R knackered!

<tuffty/>