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Capture the Cosmos

Dennis Mammana

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Sky Photography Examples
For some stunning examples of what’s possible with basic equipment, visit galleries of TWAN website and my website www.dennismammana.com, and please feel free to drop me a note if you’ve got any questions—or to share your celestial successes!

Night Sky Photography Rules of the Thumb
− If you can see it, you can photograph it.
− One can never have too much tripod
− Always use the slowest ISO you can get away with
− If you’re not outside, you’re not going to photograph it.
− The camera or lens does not a photographer make.
− One missed sky photo requires the purchase of two new pieces of gear!

Film Recommendations
− For daytime, sunsets, sunrises or during Civil Twilight, try Fuji Velvia (ISO 50 or 100)
− For shots of stars during Nautical Twilight, try Kodak Ektachrome 200 (E-200)
− For shots of the northern lights, try Fuji Provia 400 (400F)

Film Processing Tips
When cutting 35mm film, labs find a break between frames, cut, count eight sprocket holes to the next frame line, cut again, and so on. If frame lines are not visible—as in when shooting nighttime subjects, your film is in danger of being cut in the wrong places.
When shooting slides, there are two ways to avoid this.
1) If you prefer to have the lab mount all your slides, shoot a “normal” bright frame—perhaps in daylight or with a strobe—at the beginning, middle, and end of each film roll. This will allow the lab to find the frame lines and cut your film properly.
2) When shooting slides, always request that the slides be returned uncut and unmounted. You will receive the film exactly as it went through the camera—in a long strip—but you will be able to see the frame numbers along its edge, and this will help you when comparing the final images to your notes. You can then mount only the best of images in cardboard or plastic mounts available in most photo supply stores.

If you are having negatives processed and printed, always include instructions to “print every negative regardless of appearance.”, especially if you’re shooting stars. Otherwise you’ll most likely get negatives back with no prints, and a note saying there’s nothing but dust specs on your film.

Resource Material
− For sky maps and satellite predictions, as well times of Civil and Nautical Twilight, visit: www.heavens-above.com
− For predictions of solar activity and rare aurora displays that might be visible in middle-latitudes, visit: www.spaceweather.com
− For a listing of upcoming celestial events that can be photographed with basic equipment, visit this page at my website
− For planetarium software to predict celestial activity over your location and help plan your sky photography, visit: astro.nineplanets.org/astrosoftware.html
− For full-aperture solar filters for using your telescope or camera to photograph the sun safely, visit: www.thousandoaksoptical.com − For couplers that attach your camera to your telescope, visit: www.optcorp.com − To calculate the angular field of view of your camera and lens, visit: www.mat.uc.pt/~rps/photos/angles.html

   



Click to enlarge the photo




Click to enlarge the photo




Click to enlarge the photo




Click to enlarge the photo


 

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