A First Attempt

These photographs show my very first attempt at any sort of astrophotography! It was the first few clear nights in May, and it was coming upto the super moon on the 6th May.

I managed to take some photographs of the waxing gibbous and the full moon with my 55-250mm at 250mm. I then cropped these in closer to allow the moon to fill the majority of the image. Luckily, my 600D is an 18MP APS-C sensor, so I didn’t lose that much detail by cropping. I first tried stacking multiple images of the moon to get more detail and reduce noise, but at the time I was only using DeepSkyStacker which in hindsight was completely the wrong program to use. In the end, I just took single photographs and edited them in Photoshop CC.

With the moon at 75% on the 2nd of May, I was severely restricted with what I could try and photograph. I first tried the nifty-fifty 50mm prime lens, which gives about a 80mm effective focal length at F/1.8. Being quite wide-field, it was easy to find, frame and follow the Beehive Cluster in the heart of Cancer without any sort of tracking mount. I managed to capture 100 x 4-second exposures at ISO 400, giving a total exposure of 6 minutes 40 seconds. All the photographs were stacked in DeepSkyStacker, and stretched in Photoshop CC.

While this photograph doesn’t look like anything special, I was absolutely ecstatic that I caught my first ever ‘deep sky object’, if the beehive cluster can be classed as one.

On the 6th, I was competing with not only a full moon, but a super moon! I decided to photograph the beehive cluster again as it was easy to find. I decided to use my 55-250mm at 250mm and F/5.6. I managed to take 55 x 1-second usable exposures; at 250mm without a star tracker, more than half of my frames were thrown out because of star-trails. This photograph clearly shows again the prominent stars within the cluster. I could have done with some more exposure time to match that of the 50mm shot. Even so, I was really pleased with what I managed to capture.

These photographs just show what you can capture with bare-basic equipment; no tracker, no light pollution filter, literally just the camera!

Clear Skies!

  1. Good results, Adam – and good advice about focusing. It’s true that the biggest and brightest object in the sky…

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