Documentary Photography

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by jprice0609, Apr 6, 2007.

  1. jprice0609

    jprice0609 TPF Noob!

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    I am planning on doing a photo documentary of an observatory, which has two main telescopes and another main building.

    If anyone could give me some advice on how to go about taking these photographs, it would be helpful.

    Thanks,
    Julia:alien:
     
  2. astrostu

    astrostu Guest

    From my limited experience photographing telescopes themselves, you need a very wide-angle lens. This is because telescopes are usually large, especially if it's an older observatory with refracting telescopes (lenses instead of mirrors), in which case the telescopes will be very long. And, you won't be able to get far away from them while in the observatory (the domes are expensive so they're as small as possible) for a standard lens to work.

    Otherwise, you will need to resign yourself to doing stitching of several images into a panorama. Or just not getting the entire telescope. If the latter is what you plan, then you could try to get people standing next to the telescope to get scale, and then if the telescope extends outside the shot, peoples' reactions would be closer to, "Wow, that telescope is really big," as opposed to, "Why'd they only photograph part of the 'scope?"

    Otherwise, telescopes can be kinda boring. One of my favorite shots was not of an actual telescope, but of telescope domes silhouetted against a sunset, which might be a shot you could try (see my image below as an example).

    Good luck.

    [​IMG]
     
  3. jprice0609

    jprice0609 TPF Noob!

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    Thanks astrostu for the advice.
    The reason I would like to take picture of the inside of the domes especiallly of the telescopes is to show how they used what they had to make these domes and telescopes operational (i.e. one of the telescopes is the one that Pluto was discovered with, and has a boxing glove attaches, and the other telescopes opens and closes with truck tires to rotate the dome)

    Thanks,
    Julia
     
  4. astrostu

    astrostu Guest

    Is that at Lowell Observatory? That's the name that's coming to mind without looking it up. But even if it isn't, I would suggest doing a simple Google image search to see what other folks have taken (since it's a very famous observatory with lots of photos already out there). Those might give you ideas, as well.

    I still think you'll need a very wide-angle lens.

    Edit: And I'm pretty sure those are refracting telescopes, so they're going to be very very long.
     
  5. jprice0609

    jprice0609 TPF Noob!

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    Yes, I am talking about Lowell Observatory, and the major fascinating reason I have with the observatory is that I am a Physics/Astronomy major with a Minor in Photography so eventually I will get in the mood for Astrophotography.

    Thanks for all the help and the advice,
    Julia
     

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