Winters Coming …..


And no not the winter in “Game of Thrones”, but rather the southern hemisphere winter is coming.

I am still mulling over what camera to buy for long term photography. However in the shorter term I have decided upon either a Fuji XA series camera or Fuji XT 10 or XT 20 for astrophotography. Quite possibly one of the XT cameras as the X-trans sensor found in these units has a great deal of sensitivity to the Ha part of the spectrum. This means that the camera is much more sensitive to the red part of the spectrum and is ideal for delivering better detail from nebulae and diffuse objects found in the night sky.

iOptron CEM 26 telescope mount.

Coupled to the camera will be a Skywatcher ED 80 Apo Refractor telescope. This will be mounted on either the Skywatcher HEQ5 Pro mount or the iOptron CEM 26 mount. To complete the setup there will be a dedicated guide scope complete with auto-guiding capability for computer controlled tracking for long exposure photos. The whole setup will look very similar to this unit featured in Ruzeen Farsad’s you tube channel.

Ruzeen Farsad’s ED 80 Mounted on a Skywatcher HEQ5 Pro mount & setup for astrophotography. Click this image for Ruzeens YouTube channel.

Given the amount of interest and the availability of equipment you may wonder as to why bother when it seems like everyone else is already doing astrophotography. The answer is reasonably straightforward, theres nothing quite like or as rewarding as obtaining great results from your own efforts. Its easy to sit back and enjoy a myriad of excellent images done by others, but the challenge of doing it for yourself and then getting to enjoy your results makes it all the more worthwhile and personal. The images you take with your own equipment and time hold a good deal more worth to you personally. Something obtained freely and without effort really doesn’t have any great personal meaning.

Skywatcher ED 80 optical tube assembly.

This may all sound very altruistic, but the immense satisfaction derived from ones own efforts is not to be underestimated. As with all our photographic endeavours we all take pride in doing for ourselves and astrophotography is no different. It does however take a good deal of effort and time to get great results. For those who follow YouTube astrophotgrapher Trevor Jones of ” Astrobackyard” will know. A good deal of the images he produces require a lot of time and effort.

Trevor Jones takes us through his small refractor astrophotography rig. This is similar to my intended setup, just with a different camera and slightly larger telescope.

It may not seem in keeping with the Frugal Photography ethos that I have been trying to stick to over the past couple of years, however astrophotography can be considerably cheaper to start with if all you have is a tripod and a couple of lenses. As you will see from other articles on this site, many good images are to be had with what you may well already have in your photographic kit. However if you are wanting to step it up a bit then theres few alternatives that arent going to necessitate the expenditure of some cash. Astrophotography at a more serious level very quickly can become an expensive endeavour. Which is why I’m looking at a setup that will still cost less the a New Canon R5 camera body here in New Zealand. I could easily spend considerably more than I intend to in the pursuit of astrophotography, it would be easy to do so. However doing so would mean a permanent dedicated astrophotography setup and I want the rig to be portable. It will not be a dedicated grab and go type setup, but rather a relocatable system than can be moved with relative ease when necessary. If for example we decide to spend a couple of years exploring areas of our country we haven’t been to, I want to be able to transport the astro rig without too much effort.

The telescope and mount is of course only part of the equation. Once you have taken a series of images, possibly over the course of several nights you need to process them. As I have already detailed this process I wont bore you with the details, suffice to say processing is equally as important as the equipment used to image the objects of interest.

As things progress I will detail my progress and processes, in the meantime there is a massive amount of information available on YouTube to wet your astrophotography appetite. Spending time on Ruzeens channel or Astrobackyard to name just a couple mentioned here will set you up with more than enough info if this is a pursuit you wish to explore.

Until next time

Happy Snappin’

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