A few hours before I was at work in an ordinary office in the city (actually Rio Tinto's remote mining operations center). A few hours later I'm here at my favourite nightscape location at the Pinnacles in Nambung national park, Western Australia - beholding the core of the galaxy rising above the desert and monoliths.
This is my favourite time of year, as the milky way's core is close to the horizon and I can use my higher zoom lenses without an impractical number of shots / mosaic (in this case an 85mm prime lens). The higher the zoom, the more "dominating" it makes the galaxy appear in the sky (i.e. bigger).
Some of the photos are included in this post - otherwise check out my nightscape gallery for the rest.
It's been months since I last did some nightscape photography, and I'm getting restless. In the meantime I've reprocessed a scene that I did last November, sorry for re-posting it but often my first attempt at processing is rushed as I'm too impatient and usually can't wait to share it with everyone. Anyhow, this one I spent more time to improve the colour balance and trying to enhance the milkyway from the significant atmospheric effects when close to the horizon.
Hangover Bay being around 30 degrees south latitude means that the setting galaxy is horizontal when it is reasonably close to the horizon. This makes for some great opportunities - but the closer to the horizon the more faded the galaxy as you end up shooting through more atmosphere (pesky atmosphere - what is it good for :). In Western Australia, this also means shooting over the Indian Ocean - if only I could get the waves to stay still in between shots, makes post-processing the mosaics of the foreground "interesting".
This is a large mosaic of 25 shots with a 50mm f/2 lens on a Canon EOS6d. I took 10 x shots of the foreground with a large amount of overlap, and 15 x shots of the sky (using a tracking mount). All shots were at ISO1600 for 30 seconds. The original final image was a whopping 17391 x 6010 pixels, but google can't handle that so had to reduce it significantly. But zoom in, there is a lot of detail.
I'll put this revised version at full resolution shortly in my gallery, available to download.
This is my image of the Rosette Nebula taken a couple of nights ago. This nebula is around 5000ly from earth, and is a haven for new born stars. Whilst the cluster of stars is easily visible with binoculars, the nebula itself can only be viewed with long exposure photography.
This image is stacked using 12 subs, 21 dark frames, and 21 bias frames. Dew was a major issue being a hot humid night so I had to be quick. I managed to get some other targets in this night but they were all a bit "foggy". Time to by some dew heaters me thinks...
With all the great photos of the great Orion Nebula being posted recently, this humble effort of mine seems a bit redundant. However, probably what sets this apart (a little) is being able to reveal the darker dust clouds around the nebula despite the fact that all the images were taken with an unmodified DSLR. It took a fair bit of processing (which is why it may seem a bit over-done), and you can see at the top and bottom left the bias noise sneaking through even though I used bias frames during stacking - pretty much stretched it to the max.
View this in greater detail, and download a full resolution for free (if you want) from my gallery.
There can't be many people who don't recognize the great contellation of Orion (the Hunter). With its bright stars, the blue-white super-giant Rigel, and the red super-giant Betelgeuse, the jewel that is the Orion nebula (M42), and much loved horsehead nebula (IC434), and the faint sweeping red nebula of Barnard's Loop (the barely visible arc at the top half of this image). Alas, with my DSLR unmodified (i.e. still has its IR filter), some of the deep red of Barnard's loop is hidden...but most of this mighty constellation is now revealed in this image.
You can download a full resolution copy of this image from here.
Been meaning to image this one for a while, but its taken a bit of effort to get my skills (and equipment) up to scratch, as this one's a bit of a harder target - at least in my mind. Taken last night at Gingin, Western Australia, in between high level clouds and distant lightning storms (which fortunately stayed at a distance, but periodically lit up the clear night sky).
M45 Pleiades (or the Seven Sisters) is an open star cluster containing hot B-type stars, and is easily spotted with the naked eyes. The luminous nebula are dust clouds which were once thought to be related to cluster but are actually unrelated interstellar medium (well, thats what Wikipedia says...).
The image is available for download from here.
Project Manager and Engineer (control systems) with over 18 years of experience, Will Vrbasso has also spent the past few years developing his skills in astro and nightscape photography, and has interests in astronomy and spaceflight in general.