Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Practice makes... Orion visible without a tracking mount

Check out my deep sky progress using the same camera (Canon 350D) to photograph the Orion Nebula. It's an easy target in the winter, and I've definitely been improving! It seems like every new technique I try produces the "best one yet!"

orion nebula with canon 350D
My first successful image in Deep Sky Stacker (DSS)

Well, here is my best Orion Nebula yet! It's a stack of 168 subs, 30 darks, and 30 flats bias (I finally figured out what those are). Each was shot in RAW at 1.6 sec, f/5.6, 300mm, ISO 1600. I stumbled through a couple tutorials on Deep Sky Stacker (DSS) and ended up stacking this a few times. The first time it removed all the color for some reason, the second time it wouldn't let me adjust the TIF in Photoshop, and the last couple times I actually got a workable image.

I blew the color and contrast way out because I'm new and I still think that looks impressive - even though it's exaggerated to the point of looking kinda fake.

Improvement in Orion photos
All taken with the same camera and different amounts of knowledge

Here are a couple tutorials that I found EXTREMELY helpful! I really can't stress that enough - I went from zero to DSS in about 24 hours! I never thought I'd be able to take photos like these without a tracking mount. I'm so pumped!

Update: I believe my 'flats' were actually 'bias' frames, I'm not sure how that may have affected my DSS session but I might try re-stacking with my bias frames in the appropriate spot.

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