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Posts for: CraigFair
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Feb 23, 2017 18:43:25   #
Marc G wrote:
Thanks Sonny. Zillions of stars.
Weather been up n down here too.

Marc as you can tell by all of Sonny's rants we are having a rare clear night here in So Cal. And Moonless too boot.
Feb 23, 2017 12:28:18   #
Marc G wrote:
Following on from my efforts earlier in the year of the Orion Constellation, I had to give this photograph another go.

This time I selected my Nikon 105mm F2.8 Micro instead of the 50mm.
Upon the 105mm I placed my recently purchased Hoya Red Intensifier.

Settings & Equipment:

Nikon D90 (unmodified)
Nikon 105mm F2.8 with Red Intensifier filter
ISO 800
400 light frames @ 45 s
200 dark frames (same settings as above)
Tracked not guided on the Sky watcher Star Adventurer.


Clarkson ARC calibration to light frames (Lens profile, CA correction, black point setting & a slight luminance noise adjustment)
The lights & darks were then taken to Sequator for stacking, (auto brightness, LP uneven, enhance star colour 50%)
The stacked Tiff file was then taken to CS6.
In CS6 I adopted some of Clarkson's recommendations, mixed with my own adjustments to curves & levels.
During the million or so micro incremental adjustments I used an anchored curve stretch. This type of stretch retained the star colour, avoided star bloating & clipping to the high channels, but raised the mid & lower channels.
Once I was happy with the curve & level stretches I applied a luminance layer constructed from the RGB file as follows:
Duplicate image, desaturate, lower white level slightly in curves, image set to luminance & merge down.
The final adjustments to the final photograph were performed using Carboni actions (Local Enhancement, increase star colour, make stars smaller & deep space noise removal)

So here we are with my second take of the Orion Constellation.
Following on from my efforts earlier in the year o... (show quote)

Great job Marc. I love the Red Intensifier filter.
Feb 22, 2017 17:27:02   #
CO wrote:
I would recommend an SB-700. Your D7100's pop-up flash can trigger it off-camera. Go into the D7100's menu and set it to commander mode.

The SB700 will give you all the versatility you're talking about and still be a reasonably priced unit. The SB910 is a professional flash. I had one and sold it for the SB700.
Feb 22, 2017 15:43:25   #
SonnyE wrote:
I saw a truck loaded down with flattened cardboard boxes.
That guy is going to be rich! Housing for the homeless.

Ammunition. Brass is the new gold.

So far, so good with the equipment outside.

I'm partly cloudy here in Santa Maria. hoping for clear skies tonight.
Thru night should be gold here.
Feb 21, 2017 17:20:45   #
SonnyE wrote:
Honestly, I just found the capability of file transfer in Tight Vnc. I did do that in Teamviewer, and it was pretty cool to bring an image in wirelessly. I could do whatever I wanted with it while the next one was cooking.

When running the laptop connected, I got use to having an SD card in its slot, or a USB thumb drive where the pictures were saved to.
Since things are running today I think I'll explore the transferring capabilities.
So far, it works like gang busters.

OK. Got to go paint. I hate to paint.
Honestly, I just found the capability of file tran... (show quote)

I do 90% of my viewing and photography at the Observatory or on
the Mountain so I don't need the wireless remote computer setup.
But it sure sounds like a great capability. Good luck with it Sonny.
Feb 20, 2017 18:44:07   #
SonnyE wrote:
Hi Craig, Thanks!

I've forgotten why I did that. I think it had to do with getting something to line up.
But in actual use, the guide camera simply locks onto one star and guides from it. And when the mount is guiding it gets all sorts of kitty-wampus, laying on one side or the other. And twisting around like a cranes head.

Any images I can turn in PP. Often I try and orient them the way I see them in Stellarium during the session.

I'm really looking forward to some clear skies one of these days. Probably never will again.
Hi Craig, Thanks! br br I've forgotten why I did ... (show quote)

I am really hoping the forecast is correct, Wed & Thurs clear nights for us in So Cal.
Feb 20, 2017 16:00:03   #
SonnyE wrote:
EAA - Electronically Assisted Astronomy. My rainy dayz project.
The direction I headed when getting into this maddening sport. Often I said, "All I want is the Hubble."
Plain and Simple, can't.
But I'm a function sort of guy. I like taking a pigs ear, and trying to make a silk purse from it. Getting the most I can from whatever it is I'm doing.
A mutual friend of ours mentioned a new method to me. I took the ball and ran with it. Especially once the CFO here told me to go ahead.
I've finally arrived at being ready for the weather to give us a damned break so we can go back out and shoot some stars.

Electronically controlled focusing and Stick Computers. My next natural steps towards mount independence. Or going wireless, or in my case wires less. Because after all, things need power. So I do have 2 - 12 volt circuits from my big battery, and a 5 volt, 3 amp circuit feeding up the mount. But the Stick Computer running Windows 10 is alive and wirelessly in control perched up on top of my telescope tube Velcro mounted. (It's not just for shoes anymore. )

The focuser is an Arduino project where an electronic programmable logic controller (USB2), controls a motor driver circuit board and a small geared stepper motor to adjust the focuser in or out to adjust my telescopes focuser. In a nutshell... The Focuser Project came from here.

The stick computer is essentially a Mini, fully functioning, Windows 10 OS computer. Its intention is to plug into an HDMI port in a big screen TV display, and turn it into a functioning Windows 10 computer, and to (once set-up) Bluetooth connect to a wireless keyboard and touch pad or mouse. (It requires a USB keyboard (wired) for inital start-up. $10 at Walmart)
But we are in dark waters here and following paths of those who have ventured before us.
The Stick has WiFi, Bluetooth, and two USB ports. I went low buck, but there are pricier versions and more power and RAM memory available. I've also put one of my mini SD cards (64Gb) in my stick and programmed it to store everything there. (It can use up to a 128Gb mini SD card.) (My point there was to keep the Sticks hard drive light and unburdened)
With a hub (I used a powered hub) connected to the USB2 port (works for my 2.4 MHz router), it connects through a WiFi extender to my router. And that let's me log into it with Tight Vnc giving me the Sticks desktop and full function wirelessly of the Stick computer.

It has a noticeable lag in function, but it works. And I'm in day 4 of long run testing of function (12 to 16 hours a day). I have my typical programs open and working as much as they can without actually guiding and imaging objects. But my cameras are running and imaging capped scopes, the mount, Stellarium, and PHD2 are running, and all appears well.
I had my USB3 hub plugged into the Stick's USB3 port at first. But a guy recommended I connect via the USB2 port and that cured all my problems. USB3 works better over the new C type connections and 5 MHz WiFi. Which this church mouse doesn't have. I have a 2.4 MHz G type wireless router. (Hot item in its day)
Set-up, or tear down consists of 4 plugs (Cables) to free the telescope of the mount, or to mount it. (12 V, 5 V, 1 USB, and 1 RJ-11) Hense, why I say Wire Less. Or Less wires.
The 1 USB (white), and RJ-11 (Guider) simply jump down to the AVX. So only the 12V (2 wires) and 5V (1 wire) actually exit the mount.

Some folks are doing a portable router for remote locations set up. Sitting in their warm car, running their mount outside, wirelessly. (I don't see me doing that, I like being home.)

So... this to get rid of what? USB cables for one. And to free up my laptop and dragging it out and back every night. But there is a caveat here, I can connect my desktop, and I can connect my laptop, and recently discovered I can even connect my phone... all at the same time. And any of the 3 can be used to run the equipment wirelessly through my (antiquated) wireless network. (Password protected, of course)
Something that held me back was, to go wireless at the mount would eliminate the visual the laptop afforded. Now, a laptop can log on to my network, connect through Vnc, and there is the mounts computers desktop.
Folks are sitting in their recliners in their living rooms, and running their mounts wirelessly. It sounded appealing to me.
Fine adjusting the focus, and doing anything I used to sitting out in my yard I will be able to do now (except filter wheel changes, and the manual adjustments of an All Star Polar Alignment) from my wireless devices. I've already been doing wireless alignments, just for fun and to experiment.

OK, so no pictures = didn't happen. The hardware:
(The out-of-place looking white USB cable is connected to the NexStar handset of my AVX)
EAA - Electronically Assisted Astronomy. My rainy ... (show quote)

Pretty cool setup Sonny, one question I notice that the Orion Star Shoot is rotated 90*????
Feb 18, 2017 16:40:04   #
JimH123 wrote:
Our Lake Anderson Dam is now in overflow stage. Image 1 shows this morning which I took in light rain. (We always have rain). The entrance to the overflow is on the far side. Image 2 is the water flowing down the overflow ramp. I haven't seen this since 1997.

Image 3 is looking down from the top of the dam to the normal water exit which is flowing at max capacity. Image 4 is a closeup of the dam water exit from the parking lot. And finally, image 5 is the water fall created by the water going down the overflow ramp.

This dam, holding back 90,000 acre-feet of water, has some cracks and is in need of some massive rework. They have set a limit of 60% capacity until the fixes are made since they tell us that an earthquake of mag 6.6 would cause the dam to fail and send a wall of water through Morgan Hill about 38 feet high and then a short time later, about 9 feet high in San Jose. Meanwhile, they are emptying it as fast as they can, but water is entering faster than it is exiting.

Sort of like the dam in Oroville, except our lake is only 39 times smaller.
Our Lake Anderson Dam is now in overflow stage. I... (show quote)

Wow Jim H, pretty spectacular shots. Santa Barbara has had mudslides and small flooded streets.
LA had sinkholes and flooded streets. 1 idiot got themselves killed.
Feb 17, 2017 11:16:06   #
SonnyE wrote:
JimH123 got to retire!


Hoist a coffee cup to a long and happy retirement.
(Well, after the rains quit... )

Yes to hoisting one to Jim H.
Hurray. Craig
Feb 17, 2017 11:13:45   #
Europa wrote:
Going to have to retry this one from scratch. But since everyone is under cloudy skies, I figured I would post it anyway.

Both of them are pretty awesome Brian.
Feb 17, 2017 11:05:08   #
Albuqshutterbug wrote:
Now your just being greedy..

No I hope you got the shots. Sonny, Brian, Jim H and I have to wait until next week for some clear nights.
Feb 16, 2017 14:06:49   #
Albuqshutterbug wrote:
I setup the Celestron C8 SCT on my AVX and did a dirty solar system alignment to save time tonight.
This is my source of alignment, lovely Venus. I shot 5000 frames at 640 X 480 and 150 frames per second to minimize movement.
Seeing was pretty darn good and I stacked the best 250 frames. I brought the TIFF up in Photoshop CC 2017 and did adjust the black level only to remove over shoot of the rim.

This got me feeling cocky and I swung over to the Orion nebula and did 100 frames at 1 second each. I stacked 30 frames and played with the results in CC allowing the program to adjust the levels, then I added the color.
Not wonderful but it was just a test I thought I would share.

I setup the Celestron C8 SCT on my AVX and did a d... (show quote)

Looking forward to tonights shots.
Feb 15, 2017 16:58:45   #
SonnyE wrote:
Looks like it might clear up for the Full Moon...

Oh Joy! Oh Rapture!

I agree ROTFLMAO. Maybe next week.
Feb 13, 2017 14:57:39   #
skylane5sp wrote:
Hanga Roa, Rapa Nui. (Easter Island) Southern Hemisphere.

You have to be right skylane the Southern Hemisphere is the only place to get it upside down.
Feb 13, 2017 14:20:56   #
jkoar wrote:
This was the one clear night and I was in town so the light was poor for night sky photos. Notice anything different?

How did you get Orion upside-down????
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