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Night sky shooting info, overwhelm!

 
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peter k



Joined: 26 Dec 2009
Posts: 167
Location: Sedona Az

PostPosted: Sun Apr 28, 2013 2:54 pm    Post subject: Night sky shooting info, overwhelm! Reply with quote

Going to Lost Dutchman State park later this week, and suddenly got the concept of shooting the night sky, in b&w, using Arista EDU Ultra 400 (Foma 400) sheet film.

Never having done this before I Goggled, and there is a wealth of information on the net, but most of what I checked seems to concern itself with digital and color. Its just overwhelming all the info. Can't go through all of it. Will be shooting with an ole Speed Graphic, which simplifies, but please:

Can anyone point me to a more specific site, that better suits the need.

Thanks... (boy its good to be back shooting again, after being corralled into scanning (film images of oil paintings he has done over 50 years) for a friends art book.. I didn't know it was going to be 405 images, phew.. but now we gots a film war chest. Yahoooo... )
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Billy Canuck



Joined: 04 Apr 2006
Posts: 155
Location: Calgary AB Canada

PostPosted: Sun Apr 28, 2013 4:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It might be worthwhile to check out APUG (Analog Photography Users Group). Search "night sky" or post a question. Many helpful forum members on this site:
http://www.apug.org/forums/home.php
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45PSS



Joined: 28 Sep 2001
Posts: 3244
Location: Mid Peninsula, Ca.

PostPosted: Sun Apr 28, 2013 7:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The night lights from Phoenix and surrounding slumburbs will most likely bleed into any sky shot and wash out the star trails.
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peter k



Joined: 26 Dec 2009
Posts: 167
Location: Sedona Az

PostPosted: Sun Apr 28, 2013 7:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bill... yes good idea, and will go there, but trying here first, as there is a lot of hidden talent and experience lurking in the wings.

Charles:
Yes, waht you say is true, but its on the east side of PHX, and the night sky to the north and east is very dark, with the moon now in its wane. That, and the fact that its to late for the spring flowers, and we have already shot about everything down there that we want to in the past, leaves... ah the night sky.

Besides, its b&w, self development and worth the try, for the new learning curve.
After all, Ya never know what you may learn, at the cross road, from the direction you where headed for, changes and discover, what you never set out for.
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45PSS



Joined: 28 Sep 2001
Posts: 3244
Location: Mid Peninsula, Ca.

PostPosted: Sun Apr 28, 2013 8:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I read somewhere, probably photo.net, that you need to be 100 miles from the nearest large city to prevent light pollution from washing out the sky or surrounding area on long exposures.
Those full circle star trail pictures you see are several hours exposures.
Keep your camera back toward the city and front tilted up no more than necessary to keep the outer edge of the lens angle of view just beyond the light pollution fall off area.
Expose for 30 minutes to a few hours.
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peter k



Joined: 26 Dec 2009
Posts: 167
Location: Sedona Az

PostPosted: Sun Apr 28, 2013 9:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Expose for 30 minutes to a few hours.

Charles.. for all your replies, to myself and others, with your very helpful replies, that is the first time, you ever have been so ... ah... what's the word?
Ah.. Lose as a goose. Ah.. Unspecific..

Ha.. If I don't research it more, that's probably what I will end up doing.
Get set up, make a guess estimate... and go to bed... after all will be shooting with a 400 film that you normally shoot at 200. Its a wild cowboy thing. I'll be down dar, fer three nights... maybe I'll bring one of the single shot ABS tubes down, that I made, and develop, to see if there is any response on the neg.
You can't be anymore unspecific and unscientific than that.. lose as a goose, free and easy.
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45PSS



Joined: 28 Sep 2001
Posts: 3244
Location: Mid Peninsula, Ca.

PostPosted: Mon Apr 29, 2013 1:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

There are no "do this" rules for such photography just general guidelines to get "usable" results.

1. place an imagining device on a stable platform, stationary to the point on the planet the platform is placed on.
2. adjust its photon of energy collecting device to form the type of image you want on the imagining device's recording medium plane.
3. according to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Earth%27s_rotation this planet rotates 1 360 turn every 23 hours, 56 minutes, and 4 seconds, that's 360 in 1436 minutes dropping the seconds or .25 every minute.
4. determine what arc length you want in your image and calculate your recording time.
5. install the recording medium on your imaging device.
6. start the recording and end it at your calculated time.

too complicated for your gray matter?, then get a P&S device with a PHD button or get a GPS device, find your coordinates at your desired shooting position and input them into http://www.stellarium.org/ that you have installed on your portable high speed switch machine and use its features to determine the star paths and arcs.

film manufactures only list reciprocity information for their films from 10 seconds to a few minutes if they list any information at all. That leaves it to the user to experiment on their own.

I have not done any such photography as I would have to drive 150 to 200 miles to get clear of the bay area light pollution and evening marine layer (aka fog) that occurs on a nightly basis. then there would be the grizzles to deal with.
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PaulK



Joined: 15 Aug 2008
Posts: 9
Location: Galesville, Wisconsin

PostPosted: Wed May 01, 2013 2:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Star trail shots are easy to do, but they do only work under dark skies. I think they look best when the north star is in them, as there are then concentric arcs going out from it. Here is a shot I took several years ago:

http://seeingstarswi.files.wordpress.com/2010/03/trails.jpg

Notice the brown color on the bottom? That's light pollution, from a town of a few thousand people, about 20 miles away. The nearest big city is hours away. Still, it's just for fun, so give it a try.

Since the lens will be open for minutes to hours, it should be stopped down to about f/8 or smaller. My image is at least two hours long. I used a 6x9 back on my Speed Graphic, and I think my Schneider 210mm Symmar; Fuji Provia 400 transparency film.

Also, I think star trails work best with color film, as you can see in the shot.

To freeze the motion of the sky, you need a tracking mount, like those used for telescopes. One that would hold a Speed Graphic steady would cost a few hundred dollars.

A great place for more information is a sits called Cloudynights.com. They have a forum just for film astrophotography.
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peter k



Joined: 26 Dec 2009
Posts: 167
Location: Sedona Az

PostPosted: Wed May 01, 2013 2:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the reply.. excited about it. Yeah, where going to give it a try, in fact, going to use all three formats, with B&W and color. Short exposures, and long ones.

What the heck.. will be down there for three nights, so I'll keep notes, and go with the flow, see if its something that gets me captured.

It will be interesting with all the light from the west, on how bright the crags of the Superstition Mountains will be, from the reflected light, and how dim the stars may be in comparison.

Don't know until we try.
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PaulK



Joined: 15 Aug 2008
Posts: 9
Location: Galesville, Wisconsin

PostPosted: Thu May 02, 2013 6:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, once you give it a try, it might be hard to stop. There's a lot up there in the night sky to photograph!

Good luck!
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