For many years the staff has talked about the idea of this forum. It has finally come about
I will be acting as the forum moderator. By introduction I have had a lifelong interest in astronomy and astrophotography, going on almost 50 years now. I own a couple of Questar tescopes (3.5" and 7") as well as an 8" SCT that was also my first astronomy gear mistake (not a very good one, as these things go, I should have bought a Celestron!).
I am also a wildlife photographer, which requires long focal lengths. So I also have a big interest in using my wildlife gear for my astrophotography pursuits and for many things a conventional camera lens can be superior, or at least easier to accomplish the same objective.
Since the mid-80's I've dabbled in astrophotography. My main interest is in capturing unusual or special events such as eclipses, occultations and planetary alignments.
(an occultation is an event where one heavenly object passes in front of another. The close object is usually the sun or moon)
This can be a highly technical and very expensive avocation. My own knowledge and gear list is fairly limited but I know where to go to get the knowledge needed to pursue this. Wherever my knowledge is limited I will try to pass on authoritative references for further research.
Astronomy and astrophotography can also be quite simple. We are going to cast a big net here because we have members covering that huge expanse of knowledge and experience. I want to particularly welcome beginners and/or those with a passing interest.
For many of us, astrophotography will be a specialty interest and not the prime reason we are photographers. So don't worry about asking what you might think are "stupid" questions. There are no stupid questions about this subject and whatever you ask will be the same questions many others have.
My objective is to concentrate on the basics, and subjects that every photographer can deal with without large monetary outlays. A hobby like astronomy or astrophotography can seem to have a huge barrier to entry, mainly the knowledge needed to get one's bearings. This will be the initial focus of my own contributions to this forum.
Although I've done only little temptative astro pictures with my modest equipment, I'm sure I'll follow it with interest, although I'll be rather limited to contribute. As deeply scientifically minded, I'm sure this forum will satisfy my curiosity and help learning many new things, specially with your experience. We coulnd't have a better moderator!
I for one would like to see images taken with "modest equipment". And I interpret that as the gear we all have to shoot whatever we primarily shoot.
There are a lot of good subjects to be shot with with very basic gear. Things like astronomical alignments of the planets, which are relatively easy to do. The trick there is to be up to date on the location of the planets as they move about the ecliptic.
i have always been a keen (although amateur) photographer, and astronomy is another fascination of mine. i am really looking forward to seeing this topic progress. whilst astrophotography can be very technical and time consuming, it can be very simplistic in ideas and is fun to experiment with. the lessons learnt with night/astrophotography can improve a persons photography skills across the board as it gives a better understanding of light, aperture, shutter speed blending together.
one question, will there be a contest for this topic, im looking forward to seeing and hearing other peoples stories and pics and how they achieved their results. since this is somewhat a new thread maybe the first one could be very broad e.g. 'the moon in all its forms'. ranging from the close-up isolated pics of single craters to a daytime pic that has the moon visible and anything in-between. just a suggestion.
Sat 08-Sep-12 01:18 PM | edited Sun 09-Sep-12 12:44 PM by kenuck
Hi Welcome - this sounds like a cool forum
I'm an old newbie (haven't posted in a long time) so let me know if I put my foot in my mouth.
I got the notification of the Astro forum and got me fired up to try some pictures. I've had a Questar for many years but have never been happy with SLR/DSLR pictures - too many mechanical things causing things to jiggle. Trying out my new Nikon V1 with no moving parts.
I began my astrophotography journey by using my D200 but, after several months, I switched to a dedicated CCD astro-camera. Since this is a forum at Nikonians, should images be restricted to those that use Nikon gear or are other astroimages welcome?
Dennis Owens, a great Nikonian, just told me about this new forum.
I have been into this for many years as a scientist but recently I've joined the photographers of the night skies. I am currently retired but am a designated ASTROVIP for the national Parks.
I've been to the last three ANPATS shooting the Milkyway each time because as a Florida resident we do not have great night skies. Nevertheless, I love astrophotography, and Neil, thank you for your efforts.
Hi Neal, It's been a few years since you sold me your 400P5 and I graduated away from that some time ago myself, but more recently I have been enamored by astrophotography so I am glad to find this forum here on Nikonians.
I'm still getting my feet wet and am going to concentrate on learning the details and finding ways of interfacing my cameras to the telescopes I already have access to through local clubs and personal friends. One friend of mine has a CPC100 and the NASA/GSFC Astro Club (which I just recently joined) has two 12" 'scopes at the observatory outside the Center.
I'll look forward to learning much here on this forum too.
Thank you so much for starting this area of the forum! I haven't posted here in awhile -- the photography bug had taken a back seat to other things. But I'm picking up my camera again, and am interested in getting into astrophotography. As you mentioned in your note, I'm a complete beginner to this, so a lot of the more technical talk makes my eyes glaze over and my brain go dead.
My camera is a Nikon D7100. I've read that you want to use as fast and wide of a lens as possible. I have a Sigma wide angle 1:4-5.6 DC HSM. I fear that it's not quite fast enough but certainly covers the wide portion of criteria. My other fast lens is a Tamron 90mm f/2.8 (it's a macro lens). I also have a Nikon 50mm and 85mm f/1.8 lenses. Would you suggest that I use one of the f/1.8 lenses, and if so, which one? I do have a remote release shutter cable and tripod (not a very expensive professional grade but a decent one - Dolica Proline), and have read that I need to keep my shutter speed less than 30 sec (ideally 15-20 sec) to avoid star blurring, with an ISO at approximately 1600 to minimize noise.
Thank you in advance to any who provide input!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ “When words become unclear, I shall focus with photographs. When images become inadequate, I shall be content with silence.” ― Ansel Adams