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Messages - jrista

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1051
Animal Kingdom / Re: Show your Bird Portraits
« on: January 27, 2014, 08:38:19 PM »
Great Blue Heron at sunset. Huntington Beach State Park, SC Canon 40D, EF 100-400 IS @ 400mm. 1/250, F5.6 with Better Beamer flash

Great shot! Superb use of the better beamer, he's lit exquisitely.

1052
Animal Kingdom / Re: Show your Bird Portraits
« on: January 27, 2014, 08:37:41 PM »



Great shot! Cute little ball of feathers.

1053
Landscape / Re: Deep Sky Astrophotography
« on: January 27, 2014, 06:57:58 AM »
Oh, and I live on the outskirts of Melbourne, where the skies are pretty dark. This one was taken from my house.

Check how your light pollution is with this map:

https://mywebspace.wisc.edu/dlorenz/web/astronomy/lp2006/overlay/dark.html

Yellow and up are bad. Green is ok. You really want to be in blue or gray areas, where the skies are really dark. Trust me, I've experimented very recently with how much light pollution affects results. I live in a brighter yellow area bordering on an orange area in Denver, Colorado. LP is pretty bad over my house, even though it doesn't seem as much to my bare eyes. Green areas improve quite a bit. Blue areas are amazing, the number of stars increases considerably, and astrophotography gets much better.
Thanks for the link, that's really neat. Looks like I'm pale yellow, moving into green. It's not bad, considering I'm an hours drive from the City. Last October I went to Tasmania for a week. The areas around Cradle Mountain were stunning for clear night skies. I'll have to head back later this year :)

I've just downloaded DeepSkyStacker. I'll go out and try again, now that Orion is up :)

Ah, that is really funny. Orion just set maybe an hour ago here. My favorite constellation...I don't have much time left to image it. I'm trying to find a good equatorial mount, an autoguider, and get some custom telescope rings built for my 600mm lens so I can use it as an apochromatic refracting telescope. I don't know if I'll find what I need before Orion sets for good...it is up near zenith by 8pm now....and directly overhead before 10pm...it's fading fast...

1054
Animal Kingdom / Re: Show your Bird Portraits
« on: January 27, 2014, 06:46:47 AM »
Princecookie, I love the very cute "yawning" swallow.  For newcomers/others, I think it's more fun when we can see your included settings as well as a few words of how/when/where or whatever.  Just my opinion of course. ;)

jrista, don't worry, there is scarcely a day goes by I don't express gratitude for being able to shoot with my 300, it is so convenient.  It's like a little point and shoot (well almost); doesn't seem awkward at all, especially with my Jobu gimble "handle" that I wouldn't be without.  And here's an example of the bokeh it yields - I do love it! :)

6D  300 2.8 II 1.4X III  1250th F8  ISO 640  not very heavily cropped

Jack

Aye! Now your getting the hang of it. You want to move your background stuff farther back, though. I'd say you want to blur it by about double to produce more pleasing boke. You can blur it entirely, and that's great. Sometimes it's nice to leave just enough complexity in the background that you see those nice large round boke blur circles for highlights. I'd move your background stands holding the pine fronds back until you can no longer really make out any detail, but close enough that it isn't just one largely flat-toned or very smooth single gradient. A little patchy blur is really nice, and ideally isolates your subject and it's perch...eliminates fighting between foreground and background.

1055
Animal Kingdom / Re: Show your Bird Portraits
« on: January 27, 2014, 06:44:35 AM »
My second post.

Cute pose. Love it when a teeny tiny bird yawns.

1056
Animal Kingdom / Re: Show your Bird Portraits
« on: January 27, 2014, 06:44:03 AM »
Playing with a Tamron 150-600 on a 60D... This is a heavy crop from the center of the image...
Seems a bit of chromatic aberration in the bird's head, but considering that was cropped, you still think it is a good lens?
Good catch! I posted it from a laptop with a tiny screen.... now that I am home, I see what you mean...

I went back into lightroom and turned on the correction for the lens profile and enabled chromatic aberration correction. Normally I do this automatically, this time I forgot.... top picture is without, bottom is with... ( and the crop is of about the center 2000 pixels of the image).

I like the lens, but like any tool, it takes time to learn how to use it.

Nice and razor sharp results. Looks like that lens will be a popular birding lens!

1057
Landscape / Re: Deep Sky Astrophotography
« on: January 27, 2014, 06:41:09 AM »
Oh, and I live on the outskirts of Melbourne, where the skies are pretty dark. This one was taken from my house.

Check how your light pollution is with this map:

https://mywebspace.wisc.edu/dlorenz/web/astronomy/lp2006/overlay/dark.html

Yellow and up are bad. Green is ok. You really want to be in blue or gray areas, where the skies are really dark. Trust me, I've experimented very recently with how much light pollution affects results. I live in a brighter yellow area bordering on an orange area in Denver, Colorado. LP is pretty bad over my house, even though it doesn't seem as much to my bare eyes. Green areas improve quite a bit. Blue areas are amazing, the number of stars increases considerably, and astrophotography gets much better.

Gray areas are just phenomenal. The two lighter regions of gray conform to Bortle Scale level between 2 and 1...very dark skies or "truly dark skies". You can see an unbelievable amount of stars, everything is crisp and clear, you might even get a glimpse of airglow. The milky way is brilliant, and at the right times of the year, you can see the zodiacal light (provided it isn't obscured by LP bubbles on the horizon. Blue and gray areas of the map above are really where you want to be for AP. Think of it like stops on a camera...Blue is about a stop worse than gray, green is about a stop worse than blue, yellow a stop worse than green, etc. Each time you get closer to the main source of light pollution, you lose about half your ability to deeply image the night sky.

You can expose for almost twice as long and all that as well (i.e. you can expose for maybe 10 minutes in a green region, but 20 minutes or longer in blue and gray regions) as you move out to darker regions. BTW, there are three levels of gray. The darkest gray are what they call "Exceptionally Dark Skies", and has a Bortle Scale level of 1. There are actually relatively few regions of civilized Earth that are still this dark. Australia appears to have more than normal. Canada also has large regions of exceptionally dark skies. There are small pockets of exceptionally dark skies in the US and Europe. Excptionally dark skies are where they put the big scientific observatories, especially when they are on mountaintops. If you have the opportunity to visit an exceptionally dark sky, it'll just blow your mind how clear and bright the night sky really is. It's a thing of wonder, and most people in the "civilized" world rarely ever see it. The milky way is so relatively so bright it will actually cast shadows, the zodiacal light (which I've never seen under these conditions) is apparently "annoyingly bright" (which came from an astrophotographer, so take that in context!), and the number of deep sky objects that you can see with your naked eye maxes out...magnitude 8 stellar objects are visible to the naked eye (which is really amazing, given that most people on earth are only able to see magnitude 6 and larger stars, a whole two orders of magnitude difference, and in cities magnitude four and larger is the limiting magnitude. If you live in a metropolitan heart, where LP is at its highest, you can only see things magnitude 0 and brighter, so mostly planets, the brightest stars, the moon....no milky way at all, no deep sky objects, you can't make out most constellations because there simply aren't enough stars visible. Light pollution is kind of a terrible thing really, a travesty against the natural state of night...massive waste of energy to light so much of the earths surface up like that when most of it is suburban regions full of sleeping families...they could all turn off their lights, turn of the street lights, etc.)

I have not had a chance to photograph in the night sky under exceptionally dark skies. I'm hoping to get up to the top of the continental divide in one of the couple spots where you have exceptionally dark skies and image the milky way and zodiacal light when the latter rolls around again this spring.

Anyway...if your on the outskirts of Melbourne, but are still under green, yellow, orange or red, try heading out to darker skies. The difference is worth it.

1058
Landscape / Re: Deep Sky Astrophotography
« on: January 27, 2014, 04:38:13 AM »
Last night was one of the rare nights this winter I've been able to use the scope, and only for about 3 hours at that, the seeing went to crap by 9PM.  A shot of M81 (bottom) and M82 (top).  The bright star in M82 is a supernova that became visible in January.  About 12 million light years away.....I may be front focusing a few million miles.  Taken with a 6D through an 8 inch scope, 1260mm effective focal length, f/6.3.  Stack of 10 shots, each 30 seconds.  I had some (operator) issues with my mount so there's a bit of trailing in the image.


Not bad! Kind of cool to capture a supernova in a distant galaxy. I always watch this blog for updates on interesting phenomena like that:

http://remanzacco.blogspot.com

They have a lot of info on solar system object, comets and asteroids and whatnot, but they also track extra-solar system events as well.

1059
Landscape / Re: Deep Sky Astrophotography
« on: January 27, 2014, 04:33:54 AM »
To all,

Here's a wide-field image of the Galactic Dark Horse Nebula.  Numerous dark nebula come together to form a horse if rotate clock-wise 90 degrees.  This was taken with a modified Canon 5D2 and a Canon 200mm f/2.0L stopped down to f/4.0.  It is an integration of 25 four-minute exposures.  It was calibrated using six dark frames, twenty biases, and twenty flats.  All calibration and processing was done in PixInsight.

Thanks for looking,

Wade

Wonderful! It just blows me away how many stars there are near and in the galactic core. The density is stunning!

So, with a modified 5D2, I assume that means the UV/IR cutoff filter (and maybe low pass filter) were removed?

1060
Landscape / Re: Deep Sky Astrophotography
« on: January 27, 2014, 04:32:49 AM »
Some really beaut pics in this thread. Unfortunately, I don't have a tracking mount, and I wondered what was possible with a 5D3 + 300mm f4. While it's nothing flash, I was impressed what could be recorded in a 1 second exposure @ 3,200 ISO :)

Orion Nebula.


Good start. The trick is stacking. Your single frame here is dim and noisy, as a single frame. Now, if you take about 100 of these 1 second shots, then align and stack them, you can greatly reduce the noise, and "fill in the blanks" and improve detail. Once you have a stacked image with lower noise and more detail, you will have MUCH more freedom to push the exposure around in ACR/LR or Photoshop. The grainy, poorly saturated example here could become a pretty amazing photo of the Orion nebula. :)

Another tip. If  you live in or near a city, head out of town by about 50 miles (preferably at least the same distance from any other city). That should get you much darker skies. Darker skies mean more nebula detail, less noise, and even better results after stacking.

For stacking software, I recommend starting out with DeepSkyStacker. It's pretty easy...the trickiest part is "stretching" the exposure after DSS is done doing it's thing. The curves editor in DSS is pretty quirky, and not the easiest thing to use. Play with it for a couple of hours, though, and you'll start to get the hang of it.

Trust me, though...with that lens and the 5D III, you can get MUCH, MUCH better results...just takes a little more effort.

1061
Animal Kingdom / Re: Show your Bird Portraits
« on: January 27, 2014, 01:31:39 AM »
Another flurry of very nice shots - thanks all!

Don, seems for the price especially that is a very impressive lens.  I guess a person has to evaluate all different aspects of IQ.  Being new to it all I tend to look more at resolution and sharpness and it impresses me.

Jack

As you get more seasoned, you'll find versatility often trumps IQ. It is sometimes the case that simply being able to get the shot is the most important aspect of choosing gear. The 150-600 has an f/6.3 aperture on the long end, which is going to make available light the biggest issue in many circumstances. It'll also limit how blurry you can make your backgrounds.

While IQ is certainly important, it isn't actually the sole reason I got a 600/4 L II. The big aperture, for both boke and available light, was really the most important reason. That's 1 1/3rd more stops of light, or 2.6x more light. VERY handy thing to have. I think you use the 300 f/2.8? Don't underestimate the value of that lens....it may not quite have the reach, but it guzzles light like nothing else. And, even at 600, you still have an f/5.6 aperture (and IQ that could probably rival the Tamron 150-600.

For the price, hard to beat Tamron's new lens, though. I suspect, if Don's images are any example of it's IQ, it'll become a very popular birding lens.

1062
Animal Kingdom / Re: Show your Bird Portraits
« on: January 26, 2014, 03:00:43 AM »
Great Blue Heron watching the sunset

Beautiful! Almost looks like Jupiter behind it. ;)

1063
EOS Bodies / Re: Patent: Canon 11-24mm f/4 Lens
« on: January 26, 2014, 12:18:28 AM »
F4 sucks, well it does for me personally. Sure I use the 17 TS-E, an f4, a lot, but it is specialised and no real issue as an f4. As a general purpose ultrawide upgrade to the 16-35 f2.8 the focal length is very interesting, but f4 kills it for too many situations. Iso performance does not replace aperture, neither does IS, I want all three.

If you need the wide aperture for boke, certainly. I would still like to see a 14-24 f/2.8 L from Canon at some point in the future. Especially if it can top Nikon's IQ corner to corner.

How about if Canoncan just EQUAL Nikon's IQ across the frame...I would settle for baby steps here!

Equal is fine, better is better. ;) As I said, I would like to see a 14-24 f/2.8 L from Canon at some point in the future. Regardless of whether it's IQ is better than Nikon's. However, I would especially love it if the IQ was better...corner performance of Nikon's could still be improved a little bit.

1064
EOS Bodies / Re: Patent: Canon 11-24mm f/4 Lens
« on: January 25, 2014, 09:19:40 PM »
If this lens is ever brought to the market, will it have a bulbous front element? and could that change with whether it is a f/2.8 or f/4?

It will be bulbous either way...that has to do with angle of view. The size of the element will change depending on f/2.8 or f/4. The front element is ultimately what's responsible for gathering the required quantity of light. The gargantuan Nikon 6mm fisheye could have been smaller if it wasn't f/2.8, even though the front element would have still been bulbous like that. The bulb is what allows ultra wide angle FOV, the diameter (or really, total surface area) is what affects total light gathering capacity.

1065
EOS Bodies / Re: Patent: Canon 11-24mm f/4 Lens
« on: January 25, 2014, 08:04:41 PM »
F4 sucks, well it does for me personally. Sure I use the 17 TS-E, an f4, a lot, but it is specialised and no real issue as an f4. As a general purpose ultrawide upgrade to the 16-35 f2.8 the focal length is very interesting, but f4 kills it for too many situations. Iso performance does not replace aperture, neither does IS, I want all three.

If you need the wide aperture for boke, certainly. I would still like to see a 14-24 f/2.8 L from Canon at some point in the future. Especially if it can top Nikon's IQ corner to corner.

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