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A look at Astronomical photography - Never Seen Star Wars? (or the Milky Way) - part 7 of 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

by Mike McNamee Published 01/12/2016

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This type of sophisticated tracking device complete with a GOTO feature may be purchased for around £1,000 and that includes the tripod!

Our first star trails were obtained from the back garden a week later and represent little more than a starting point (and no, we are not going to embarass ourselves by printing them!)

At the outset of this venture we spoke to local photographer (and fellow retired microscopist!) Rob Devenish, having noted his postings of star trail shots on Facebook. Although he modestly proclaims to be a novice, he has made far more progress in the intervening time than we have made at Imagemaker! We therefore asked if we could publish some of his images as examples of what can be done with very 'modest' gear. Rob has been using a Canon EOS 1Dx with a 17mm TS lens and a Sony ILCE-7RM2 with a 50mm f1.8 lens - no telescopes or tracking devices involved. We put his better progress down to superior skill and perseverance for he has certainly put in more hours than us and it is starting to pay off - he has apparently written to Father Christmas requesting some more specialised gear. Not only has he bagged the Milky Way, he also managed to image a spiral galaxy on just a 50mm lens. His tree and lighthouse images here are just the sort of example we were referring to at the outset of the feature and could be used commercially.


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Realising that our own ventures to date are at little better than primary school level (although we do not know many youngsters who own a 14-24mm Nikkor!), we investigated the options for going forward. It soon became obvious to us that the images from Hubble, released by the likes of the European Space Agency, have cornered the market in high-quality deep space imaging - no matter how much you spend, your images are never going to better that which is freely available from the web. This has led to the evolution of a subgroup of enthusiasts who spend their time taking Hubble images (or other professionally made large telescope imagery) and then assembling them using Photoshop. One of the leading experts from this creative imaging group is Robert Gendler, whose work may be seen at (www.robgendlerastropics.com). Gendler is a Connecticut physician who has created some iconic images which have gone on to win major awards. As well as being decorated with lots of beautiful images, Gendlerís website hosts quite a number of essays on stars, galaxies and nebulae, and tutorials on technique - it is well worth a visit.


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1st Published 01/12/2016
last update 30/01/2018 12:09:32

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Updated 30/01/2018 12:09:32 Last Modified: Tuesday, 30 January 2018