A few days ago I finally got a Digital Single-Lens Reflex (DSLR) camera; a Canon 1100d with a 18-55mm zoom lens. It is the very first SLR camera that I ever took photos with, so the whole thing is quite new to me. On of the first pictures I took was this sunset image, which (accidentally) also shows 5 swallows hunting for small bugs.
One of the first photos I took using my new Canon 1100d DSLR
One of the best things about DSLRs is the ability to take long exposures. So I tried to take one. I found that focussing is difficult and that I should use as low ISO values as possible to reduce noise and skyglow. The image below is a 30 second wide field exposure at ISO800. I reduced the image size to 25% to hide star trailing (stars that seem to move due to the earth’s rotation) and the effects of my poor focussing. Next time I wil use live view on my laptop to get focus right and operate the camera without physically touching it. Later this week I expect to receive the rings required to attach the DSLR to my telescope. I’m looking forward to using that combination 🙂
Wide field 30 second exposure at ISO800 with 18-55mm zoom lens at 18mm.
Last Monday, I was traveling home towards Amsterdam by train when I saw this beautiful sunset. At that time I was still awaiting delivery of my DSLR, so I used my iPhone to take this shot.
Setting sun shot with an iPhone from a train moving at 140kph.
Another iPhone photo I took was of the Yucca that was on the verge of blooming last week. This time it is finally in bloom after the stem had been developing for months.
The Yucca from earlier, now in bloom.
Yesterday evening, for the first time in weeks, the night sky was clear. So I pointed my telescope towards the sky to take one last good image of Jupiter before it disappears behind the horizon for almost a year. Because the windows laptop I often use for capturing with my xbox camera was used for other purposes, I decided to give my iPhone a last chance.
I omitted the barlow this time to get more light and less aberration and screwed my iPhone on a 9.5mm eyepiece. This way I captured about 50 images of Jupiter, about 20 of Mars and 4 of the moon. Using my iPhone earbuds volume buttons I had a remote shutter release and could image without touching the iPhone or telescope. The whole imaging went quite smoothly.
But then I tried to save the photos from the app I used to the camera roll. This, my iPhone only agreed to do with a handful of photos and I ended up with 60% of the original number of frames. Later, on my laptop, I noticed that of the 60% frames I had left, half was useless. Nevertheless I tried to stack the remaining photos for Jupiter, Mars and the moon. This also went terribly because there was too much distortion in the pictures to be able to align them. Even the 4 images of the moon seemed to be a problem. Eventually, I got 15 frames of Jupiter to align and stack. But the resulting image was downright disappointing.
Below are some examples of the best frames I got this session. One thing I learned from this: no more iPhone astrophotography for a while.
One of the better Mars frames out of a terrible image session
On of the better Jupiter frames of this terrible session
Do you remember the micro observatories website I wrote about earlier? They have these telescopes that are remote controllable and free to use for anyone on the internet. Well, I requested a couple of more images and while most of the images were rubbish, I got a very nice image of the Whirlpool Galaxy. After mild processing the result (image below) was pretty awesome 🙂
M51, Whirlpool Galaxy. Photo with Micro Observatory telescope Ben
Telescopes at Micro Observatories