Weekend Astrophotography…. again

Saturday night the skies were clear and the night was supposed to be warm (it actually got quite cold!). So I set out with two others to scout a new dark sky site for the Canberra Astronomical Society.  They took their scopes but I thought I might continue to experiment with my DSLR and see what sort of shots I could get in the new location.This was the first shot of the night. Very pretty with Venus in the centre, next to Scorpius, and a faint view of the Milky Way in the background. The glow in the background is the last of the sunset.  Settings f4.5, ISO800, 10mm lens, 20 second exposure.

Scorpious Venus and the Milky Way

 I then thought I might see what star trails would look like. I had a short exposure because I wasn’t ready to set and leave all night, but I just wanted to see what it might look like with the background. Settings: Settings f4.5, ISO100, 10mm lens, 554 second exposure (9:25 minutes).

Milkyway Startrails

I quite liked the effect of the previous photo, and wondered if the sky would remain the same colour or begin to get washed out by the Milky Way if I had a longer exposure. I was also worried about the possibility of increased noise and overexposure. The longer exposure did alter the background, making it lighter as it blurred the Milky Way.  Still, it’s a pretty nice image. Settings: f4.5, ISO100, 10mm lens, 1800 second exposure (30:00 minutes).

Venus Startrails

I then turned to another part of the sky – and took some shorter exposure images. This was one of the best – you can see the LMC and the SMC to the left. Settings: f4.5, ISO 3200, 10mm lens, 46 second exposure.

Milky Way and Venus 1

 They are the images that I’m happiest with from the night. Here’s one that I wasn’t happy with. I was photographing in a dark area of sky, no Venus, sunset, or Canberra ‘glow’ to light it up.  It was so dark – but I didn’t want to lengthen the exposure, I was looking for stars, not star trails.  So I upped the ISO to 6400 with an exposure of 19 seconds.  It’s very noisy (grainy) just doesn’t have any nice ‘features’ that stand out.


Lastly here’s a image of our setup and location for the night! The ‘glow’ in the background is from Canberra – which is about 45 minutes from the site. It’s a nice shot – you can see the beautiful view, the LMC and the ‘track’ left by an aircraft to the left of the image.

Set Up

Now that was a fun night! Next I’m just going to see if I can get some more star trails – this time for a bit longer, they seem to be turning out quite nicely so far.

Clear skies