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PostPosted: Wed Dec 10, 2008 1:14 pm 
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I've been getting cold feet in more ways than one recently. I have been looking at other people's sky images, and the best like Greg's are amazing. While I'm sure if I spend enough time/money I could get up to that level, I'm wondering what's the point of re-doing something that's been done unless I can either do it much better (unlikely) or something different enough not to have been done (also unlikely).

This thought came about when I found out one telescope supplier is offering interest freee credit for a year, which puts some relatively large scopes within immediate budget. Due to availability of dark skies, it has to be right now or much later like next winter. We have maybe a few more months before the days start to get much longer again, and I'm certainly not going to stay up late at night for this with my current job.

Maybe I can turn it around a bit. Instead of going to "best ever" I still haven't reached "best possible with current kit". I think I'm going to have to go down the webcam route and some serious stacking for that. What would be the best quality that can be obtained at various cost points? I wonder how far could you go with photographic lenses?

Ok, this post has ended a mind dump but I'd appreciate any comments on any of the points raised.

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Canon DSLRs: 7D, 5D2, 1D, 600D, 450D full spectrum, 300D IR mod
Lenses: EF 35/2, 50/1.8, 85/1.8, 135/2+SF, 28-80 V, 70-300L, 100-400L, TS-E 24/3.5L, MP-E 65, EF-S 15-85 IS
3rd party: Zeiss 2/50 makro, Samyang 8mm fisheye, Sigma 150 macro, 120-300 f/2.8 OS, Celestron 1325/13
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 10, 2008 8:11 pm 
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Hi pop, that's a good philosophical photography question right there...

What is the point in shooting something that's been shot before?

I feel that way when faced with, say, the Grand Canyon or the Taj Mahal. You take your photos, but always realising there's been millions before you, including many by the best in their field. Of course with subjects like these, you can move around them, wait for different lighting or even seasonal changes - or simply pop your partner in the front to get a different shot.

With astrophotos we don't have that kind of luxury. But while one photo of the Orion Nebula may be similar to another with the same kit and skies, you can still stamp your mark on it. As you know there's a lot of patience involved, not just taking the photos, but waiting for the right time. There's also a lot of expertise in using the equipment to its best. Then there's the processing afterwards.

But yes, I came to a similar conclusion with my own astrophotos and started looking at different routes. One of the most satisfying can be seeing what you can get from fairly modest equipment rather than attempting to compete with the big boys with big budget kit. High power webcam work can yield some amazing results. Another can be to actually pursue some scientific research on, say, double stars, galaxies, supernovae, comets or transits. Ultimately, find a specialist area which appeals to you...

Gordon


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 11, 2008 9:42 am 
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A definite poser here.

For me taking the shot gives me some sort of satisfaction, yeah sure its been done before but I have actually taken this one, I feel proud of my achievements. It also gives me something to work towards and a point of reference to improve my work.

As for what route to go down I have often pondered the webcam route and have seen some good result form a Philips Toucam. Unfortunately money is tight at the moment and I am still dreaming of upgrading my telescope. (although I do not know what to go for!!)

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 11, 2008 12:55 pm 
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Thanks for the thoughts.

I feel there's quite a difference between conventional photography and astrophotography. With conventional, there are many more variables you can make use of. What is the weather like? The angle of the sun? Could you move around for different angles? With astro, when you can see it, you see what everyone else sees, give or take equipment variations. So in that sense, they are much more similar.

I have to say the first time I try something, even if badly, I do get a sense of excitement over it. Maybe I get better over several tries, but then it reaches the point where to get much better needs a more radical change. I think I'm nearing that point now. At what point do I draw the line on if it is worth progressing in. The webcam route is low cost. But much bigger scopes really start to add up.

Maybe it's more the practical side of things. I don't have unlimited time to image. My house isn't in the darkest area by any means. I don't know anywhere near (30 mins drive) I can get to easily that's much darker or clearer. It's cold. Weather is limiting and unpredictable. The last one is the biggest annoyance. My best moon image so far was taken on the 6th. Since then the sky has been quite cloud free at night, but I've not managed to approach that quality since due to all the movement.

So I think all things considered, I'm going to look at the webcam route. So unlike a DSLR approach, I'm not taking single shots that need to be great. Instead it will be practically uncomparable shots from which I can pick and choose the best. I'm exchanging high res high noise for low res low noise.

The money I could have spent on a bigger scope I'll likely point in the direction of the 5x macro lens in future... guess I like playing with extremes. Astronomical to near microscopic... might have to remember the bit in between now and then too.

_________________
Canon DSLRs: 7D, 5D2, 1D, 600D, 450D full spectrum, 300D IR mod
Lenses: EF 35/2, 50/1.8, 85/1.8, 135/2+SF, 28-80 V, 70-300L, 100-400L, TS-E 24/3.5L, MP-E 65, EF-S 15-85 IS
3rd party: Zeiss 2/50 makro, Samyang 8mm fisheye, Sigma 150 macro, 120-300 f/2.8 OS, Celestron 1325/13
Tinies: Sony HX9V.


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