Out Of This World

Milky Way Centre, ISO12800 24mm f4 30seconds

What a fascinating talk we had by Mark Large on astrophotography. I knew you needed some specialist equipment and knowledge, but I was quite blown away with the overall complexity and patience required to obtain some of those stunning deep sky images. It was a real shame on the night that the very technology that drove telescope, pointing and tracking control and sophisticated CCD cameras, was unable to communicate with our humble club projector. Hats off to Mark for being able to link two computers together so we could at least see the majority of his presentation. A missing software driver was the problem by all accounts.

Mark has kindly supplied us with a pdf copy of his presentation which is available for members to access online. This includes details on all the equipment and software, various links to other sites for anyone interested in having a go at a bit of astrophotography themselves.

For access to Mark's presentation notes, click here to go to the learning zone.

While the really detailed night sky imagery might be beyond all but the very dedicated and specialist photographers, there are photographs that are possible with just the cameras and equipment that we mere mortals already possess. You just need to go out on a clear night and give it a go.

The title photograph above, is one I took on a visit to New Zealand during the southern winter when the Milky Way is high in the southern sky and the skies are wonderfully dark. Tripod mount, high ISO 12800, and a wide angle lens, 30 second exposure. A bit of twiddling about in Lightroom and this is what you can achieve. A few other photographs from the same night below.

Long exposure, note no pole star as in the Southern Hemisphere!

The Southern Cross, (bottom left) and it's two pointers one of which is the closest star to the sun, plus a satellite.