first atempts to astrophotography...

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by mentos_007, Nov 10, 2004.

  1. mentos_007

    mentos_007 The Freshmaker!

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    Hi
    Nowadays we are having great night sky here in Poland, so I'm planning some night shots of the sky. You know, all this star trails etc.... I just want to experiment a bit. What kind of film should I use? B&W or color? And what iso? 400 or 800 or more or maybe less?

    I just don't want to make some obvious mistakes, although I'm aware that astrophotography is a kind of trial and error method. I already have my Zenith with bulb, remote releaser(???) (I've no idea how to call it... but I hope you know what I'm talking about) and a tripod. I 've also found a nice place, that is not light polluted. Please give me some advice, about the film and so on.
     
  2. Nikon Fan

    Nikon Fan TPF Noob!

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  3. Hertz van Rental

    Hertz van Rental TPF Noob!

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    The Kodak article just about says it all. God bless those guys.
    Watch for condensation - you can get it on the lens and the film. Let the camera get cold in an unheated room first and still let it cool outside for a good ten minutes before you start.
    Condensation can be a problem when you have finished too so don't move it straight in to a warm room either. Let it warm up slowly.
    There isn't mutch colour in the stars so black and white is a good thing to start with (cheaper). Long exposures on colour film can cause all sorts of problems anyhow. But reciprocity can be a problem on bw too so I suggest you read the tech sheet on the film you choose to see how to deal with it. They are easy to find at Kodak.
    T-max 400 would be my choice to start. Then just experiment with exposures. Shoot a roll with a range of exposures - 1 min, 1+1/2 min, 2 min, 3, 4, 6, 8 etc. Keep the f-stop at around 5.6 - 8 cause the lens performs at optimum then and focus on infinity.
    Standard process in the developer of your choice and evaluate the contacts to see which times works the best for you. If you use a logical time sequence like suggested above you will be working at 1 stop intervals and it's easy to remember which times are which on the negs.
    Remeber - astrophotgraphy is working at the limits of your lens so if it has any weaknesses or faults they may show up in strange ways.
    Good luck and let us know how you get on.
     
  4. malachite

    malachite Heavily Medicated For Your Protection

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    I can get you started with the film selection but the "and so on" would go on and on and on and so on :wink: So I'll just blab about film for a bit.

    Use color slide film. Print film works but the chances of the lab printing them right the first time are slim. Slide film is cheaper in the long run anyway compared to getting prints from a roll at a 1 hour lab.

    Use 100 speed film. 50 is good too but your exposure times get too long. 200 is fine too but not really needed and the cheaper stuff starts to get grainy with the longer exposure times.

    Films I've tried and liked and keep using: Fuji 64T (tungsten) a little more expensive and slower to expose but gives you the best 'realistic' colors. Fuji Provia works well with reciprocity leaning towards blue. Kodak 100VS is fun for neon blue skies (full moon week only) and mars like color warmth for foreground objects. And I haven't shot too many rolls of it yet but I like what I've seen so far is Kodak 100G and 100GX...less warm and weird than the 100VS but outstanding clarity and no unexpected reciprocity failures. But like I said, I don't have too much experience with this stuff yet.

    As far as exposure times......I usually do all my shooting within a week of the full moon. At f/5.6 my exposure times are anywhere from 5 to 20 minutes. For star trails you'll want atleast 20 minute exposures to get the effect but I stop down to f/8 if I'm shotting during the week of the full moon. If it's any other time I'll stick to f/5.6 and expose from anywhere from 30 minutes to a few hours. You can't really overexpose with no moon.

    It's a lot of guess work at first and 90% of all this can only be learned by personal experience no matter how much you read. But my main things are to stick with 64-100 speed slide film and f/5.6 as a constant and I adjust my exposure times. Remember to bracket everything at first......one stop more than 5 minutes is 10 minutes....and one more stop is 20 minutes. Just get yourself a cheap digital kitchen timer and log everything down on paper. With a few rolls under your belt you'll have the hang of it and know more than anyone can tell you right from the start.

    Now that I have you totally confused prolly....feel free to ask anything and if I don't know.....I'll bet I know where to find the answer.

    Good luck and have fun.........

    Edit: almost forgot.....for the best star trails.....try not to go any wider than 28mm (35mm format) the trails start to lose their impact at 24mm in my experience. Also...if you're really interested....search out some of the stuff I've posted here. I give exposure times and film type for most of the stuff I've posted. If not I can always dig up the info.
     
  5. mentos_007

    mentos_007 The Freshmaker!

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    thank you guys! I hope I'll soon post some nice pictures... but firs I have to practise a bit :)
     

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