The Milky Way Over The Sierra Thread

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fishmonger
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Re: The Milky Way Over The Sierra Thread

Post by fishmonger » Tue May 12, 2015 6:10 am

exposure data on mine is under the image (on the Flickr link) - tripod used, remote trigger, mirror up before shutter. All in-camera, no composite. Lake of the Lone Indian is just north west of Silver Pass.

High ISO here, 6400 for the image above, as always with these non-trail star shots. The wider the lens, the longer you can expose (500 rule - 500/focal length = sec of exposure) before getting star trails, but the less light each star produces. My shot above was taken with a 30 year old 16mm f/3.5 fisheye at 24 seconds, the best and sharpest fisheye Nikon ever made, but like any ultra wide, it really could use a longer exposure. Then you need a star tracker, and fake the landscape back in with Photoshop. Don't really care to get that deep into night sky shots, given I go places where even the gear I bring now is considered rather heavy.

Next time up there I may bring a 24mm f/1.4 or 20mm f/1.8, which collect a lot more light and still are very wide. Thing is, I can't justify buying them just for this use, and they are rather heavy lenses. Otherwise, I have those focal lengths fully covered. Where I live, star photography is completely useless.








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Re: The Milky Way Over The Sierra Thread

Post by Jimr » Tue May 12, 2015 9:34 am

Thanks Peter. I assume for a crop sensor it would be 500/focal length * crop factor = seconds of exposure. For 17mm, 1.6 crop factor that gives me only 18 seconds. I have some playing to do between 18 and 24 second exposures.

I made a barn door tracker so I could take pictures of past blood moons and it worked like a champ. I considered making one out of a triangular hinge instead of wood for backpacking, but there is no getting around the need to replace the foreground. May be worthwhile though.
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Re: The Milky Way Over The Sierra Thread

Post by fishmonger » Tue May 12, 2015 1:56 pm

If you're close to the Sierra or other places where you can do such photography, hauling a tracker setup up into the dark sky places for a day or two wouldn't be so bad. I don't think I'd be able to build anything accurate enough to be satisfied (I have seen many DIY instructions, just have no clue how to align these things with anything), so I'd just go rent a setup with spotting scope to find the proper alignment - like this one that retails for over $1000 I think:

http://www.lensrentals.com/rent/support ... ing-system

and while at it, I'd probably include a Rokinon 24mm f/1.4 (the 24mm/f1.4 of choice for night sky work) and a D810a, the new "astronomy" modified body from Nikon. that rental place is dangerous - you get cool gear for a few days, then you want to use it more, or even buy it... :D

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Re: The Milky Way Over The Sierra Thread

Post by Jimr » Tue May 12, 2015 6:36 pm

For the wooden barn door tracker, I taped a 1/2" dia tube (actually, it's a report binding comb) to the top of the hinge or the bottom depending. I have a little program that shows exactly where DNC (the celestial center) is with respect to Polaris then I can put Polaris right on the perimeter of the binding comb (If DNC is at 12:00 with respect to Polaris, then Polaris just touches the bottom of the tube perimeter). I have a clock drawn out on the board and a Popsicle stick as a pointer mounted on the bolt with a string on the end to hold when I move it. I use a metronome app on my phone set at 60 beats/minute so I can hear the seconds and track with the clock. I can get about 20 minutes worth of rotation out of the bolt.

For backpacking, I'd build one out of about a 12" strap hinge. I'd probably cut a small circle out of a milk jug for a clock and velcro it to the hinge. Haven't thought to far into that one. Haven't convinced myself yet that it's worth the effort, but maybe.

I'm seriously looking into a 10 - 22 mm 3.5 - 4.5 zoom. I'll have to get rid of the kids before considering L series lenses or tracking contraptions, but I can pick up that lens for under $400.
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Re: The Milky Way Over The Sierra Thread

Post by Brien » Tue May 12, 2015 8:56 pm

Great pictures.

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Re: The Milky Way Over The Sierra Thread

Post by alpinemike » Sun May 17, 2015 4:18 pm

Should be a pretty familiar spot to many.. I'll let you all guess. This was taken in June of 2014. Single exposure. ISO 2000 only. F/3.5 with a fixed 20 mm on a Nikon D7000. For not being full frame this camera still delivers with incredible detail for things like this..
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Re: The Milky Way Over The Sierra Thread

Post by ExploreABitMore » Mon May 18, 2015 9:05 am

alpinemike wrote:Should be a pretty familiar spot to many.. I'll let you all guess. This was taken in June of 2014. Single exposure. ISO 2000 only. F/3.5 with a fixed 20 mm on a Nikon D7000. For not being full frame this camera still delivers with incredible detail for things like this..
Nice shot alpinemike. The scenery does look familiar, but I can't quite place it. Is this somewhere in/near the Ritter Range? Either way, looks like a great backdrop for a Milky Way photo :thumbsup:

edit: lake ediza?
Last edited by ExploreABitMore on Mon May 18, 2015 9:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The Milky Way Over The Sierra Thread

Post by dbourke » Mon May 18, 2015 5:13 pm

14237094030_ffc2ca587b_o.jpg
Here are a couple from Thousand Island Lake, taken last June. I am hoping to go up to Sabrina Basin at the end of this month, and I am hoping for clear skies.
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Re: The Milky Way Over The Sierra Thread

Post by ExploreABitMore » Mon May 18, 2015 9:51 pm

Welcome to the forum dbourke and thanks for sharing the photos! I'm liking that one with the clouds :thumbsup:
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Re: The Milky Way Over The Sierra Thread

Post by dbourke » Wed May 20, 2015 3:21 pm

ExploreABitMore wrote:Welcome to the forum dbourke and thanks for sharing the photos! I'm liking that one with the clouds :thumbsup:
I like the clouds shot as well. Still enough moonlight to see them, and the Milky Way sort of just looks like another cloud, but acts as that hidden element that creates more interest.

Both are single 20 second exposures at 15mm APSC f4 ISO 2500, and pushed in Lightroom, by the way.

I have been scoping out places near my house in Alpine Meadows to get the Milk Way lower and more horizontal in the sky. I think I will need a moonless night to do this, but it has cloudy cloudy here for the last week or more. I may miss my opportunity for this spring.

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