Posts Tagged photo


atAw, man, I got this… this… coding problem. I keep finding myself writing things that only I would have a use for. So on my iPad, I found this App called “Emerald Observatory”, and I was so, so impressed. First, it’s pretty. Really pretty. Second, it’s full of astronomical data, useful stuff. And I thought to myself, wow… I really like some of this.

Then (oh, no…) I began to think about what parts of it I would like to use, that is, have directly available to me. So I wrote those nice folks, complementing them sincerely on what a nice App they had come up with (check it out, you won’t regret it), and suggesting they write what I had in mind, because actually, they sort of had the data in the app already, it was just a matter of organizing it differently. I got a nice reply, thanking me for the suggestion, but allowing as to how they had a lot to do, and so it would be “on their list.”

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So I sent my camera off to be modified…

…for hydrogen-alpha infrared. This mod will give it about 3.5 times the sensitivity to the glow of emission nebulas, and so enhance my ability to shoot astro photos.


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Astrotrac — Adding tracking to Astrophotography


So, after a couple of years of working with untracked astro photo techniques, and a fair amount of success, I finally gave in and got a tracking system. I went with the Astrotrac because of the advertised light weight, easy setup, and long, accurate tracking capability (2 hours, advertised.)

I’d seen some pretty spectacular astro photos, considerably better than mine. So I bit.
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Pixels Per Planet

In a fit of doing something that will be useful to almost no one, anywhere, I have created a calculator page that will tell you how many pixels a solar system planet, or an object of your own choosing, will consume in your final DSLR image.

In order to figure this out, you tell the calculator just a little bit about your camera, your lens system, and optionally, an object of particular interest to you.

If you actually use this thing, let me know in the comments. I suspect that I may, just possibly, get one comment. From me.

Here’s the calculator page.

…and of course, if you find any bugs, let me know.

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Untangling FOV and "reach" for Canon Camera Bodies

A lot of people seem to be quite confused about the idea of camera “reach.” This idea relates to how much variance in magnification you actually get between different camera bodies. I thought I’d take a few minutes to clear this up once and for all. I assure you the following information explains the issue correctly. Once you’ve read and understood this post, you’ll have a perfect understanding of reach.

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Canon leaks EOS50D details

Canon’s successor to the EOS40D is now a matter of public record.

The most important issue for me as an EOS40D owner is the degree of light sensitivity the new model camera offers; the 40D goes to ISO 1600 and will “push” to ISO 3200. The 50D goes to ISO 3200 and will “push” to ISO 12800, which is a huge improvement, particularly for wide-field astro photography which is an interest of mine, but also for low-light shooting in general. Higher ISO capabilities extend the range of situations any lens can be used in, a very welcome upgrade.

Among the sample images is one of a race car that was shot at ISO 1600; examining the dark areas of the shot, much less noise is evident than I would have expected based on my experience with the 40D. This is hugely encouraging.

The leak exposed a number of photos and diagrams that relate directly to the EOS50D; you can view those here, in a new flickr group I’ve created to support the camera and its users.

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Old Soldier

Old Soldier - Great Northern

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On Image Post-Processing for Enhancement

There exists a fairly vocal group of people who would tell us that a picture should be an exact representation of what you would see, as a human, had you only been there to see it. At least, as best as can be managed; that’s the goal. I find this to be only one very limited way to look at the world with tools of higher resolution and capability than my own. My own approach is… other.

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