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© Anthony Urbano (Manila, Philippines)

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5 thoughts on “Subscribe to Night Sky in Focus

  1. I really enjoyed your tutorial on the Milky Way photographs. I’ve been taking DSO images from my light polluted backyard for about three months now, one of the big obstacles is the fact the sky around here is so bad. In fact, I coordinated my sky conditions with a Bortle scale and was dismayed I live in a Bortle 7 zone! No big surprise actually so I went 20 miles up mountain (I live at the base of the Sierra Nevada mountains in California) to a darker location and was amazed at the difference in seeing conditions. I could actually see the band of the Milky Way stretching across the sky and disappearing about 40 degrees above the southern horizon. That is where the metropolitan area of Sacramento is located and hence I could not see the core of the galaxy.

    Unfortunately the location where I set up is a public overlook parking lot and is equipped with yellow colored street lamps. Without them around my conditions would have greatly improved. I took a series of ISO and long exposures just to get a feel of the results using my Canon 60Da and a Canon 24/105 f/4.0L lens. I had issues with focusing and couldn’t pick up much in live view or through the viewfinder. I should have pre-focused on the brightest star first off the tripod and then note the setting on the camera lens. Even though the lens has an infinity setting mark, this as you know is unreliable as a mark.

    I’ve had issues before during non tracking images of star rotation appearing earlier than I wanted. I’ve read tutorials of individuals taking tripod galaxy shots of up to one minute without star rotation. I find that hard to believe when I was picking up rotation at 20 seconds or even less. What was amazing is the fact I could see the Milky Way in the first place, it was beautiful even though it wasn’t really bright enough for good imaging. I’ve been to a black/gray zone and that is where you can see the galaxy horizon to horizon. I have plans to return to another location called “Lively Place” in Northern California later this summer because it is the ideal location for astro imaging because it’s not only a “black zone” but is a full service RV resort that the owner installed six concrete telescope pads with electricity to them. Every year the Stellarvue telescope company holds their dark sky party there and if you are into golf, they have a very nice golf course there so you can golf during the day and image at night, how good is that? I just hope I get my ZEQ25 hand controller fixed soon (it broke down the other night) and it’s not the mount that failed.

    My first galaxy imaging experience was a learning experience on several fronts, but since the location is so close to a city (fortunately behind where you generally point the camera) I have to find a better location if I expect to take better images. Once the Milky Way got close to zenith it was too dim to effectively image. Plus the parking lot lights threw off a lot of ambient glow. I noticed you used the best bang for buck lens, the “nifty fifty” 50mm f/1.8 lens which I also have, but I didn’t have enough time to use it. I think I will have better luck with a shorter focal length lens and I like the idea with the 50mm it’s a prime lens, just point and shoot. But, for now I have good enough equipment to get decent images, I just need practice and a darker location. By the way, in anticipation of my dark sky location adventures, I ordered a Kendrick Stargate astronomy tent, the one with an imaging room and adjoining separate “warm room” for sleeping and gear like laptop, etc. It also serves to keep the mosquitoes off you as your telescope is working and you’re trying to catch some sleep!

    Thanks again for the great tutorial and by the way, I’m half Filipino on my mom’s side. My grandfather was Leonardo “elbows” Garcia, a world class wrestler back in the day. He fought twice for the world championship before wrestling went Hollywood, it was brutal like MMA is today but worst. My mom was a dancer at the Chinese Skyroom in San Francisco in the late 40’s-50’s and so were her three sisters. Two of which danced in the same line during the heyday of Chinese American night clubs. She went by the stage name Penny Lim, but she wasn’t Chinese, white people didn’t know that, they think we are all Chinese, lol. I have some cool pictures of the night club scene I put together for a book that was written about that era called “Forbidden City” by Arthur Dong. I think you will get a kick out of some of my family photos from then, so if you want, I can send some to you, just let me know to what address.

    John

    • Hi John,
      I am glad to hear that you have rekindled your interest in astronomy and photography! If by any chance you’ll be back here in the Philippines, it would be nice to join us in our observations :)

  2. Good evening.
    I discovered your web page by chance, while browsing for photography tips, and I sure am glad. I’m Judge Ciriaco D Jabido Jr (Retired). In my younger days, I got into ham radio (Class C license, and photography. I even had a dark room, using our bathroom, to my wife’s irritation. Ham radio, now digital, is far too complex than my Ohm’s law, which leaves me photography, for which I’m thinking of the Pentax K-50 as entry level. Since a boy, I loved gazing at the night skies, which I still do until now on clear skies. In fact, I get notices from the NASA whenever the international space station passes over the Philippines. You can therefore see how Godsent my discovery of your website was. I think I will be enjoying my evenings more now.

  3. I love your blog! I’m going to attempt fabricating your telescope camera mount out of wood though. Any threaded pieces I’ll just purchase and glue in place.

    Do you have general measurements you wouldn’t mind sharing with me on your universal camera adapter for telescopes?

    Sincerely,

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