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Old 27-12-2011, 07:19 PM
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naskies (Dave)
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Comet and Crux from Blackbutt, QLD

Chris (hotspur) graciously hosted Anthony (Grimmeister) and I last night for an evening of beautiful dark skies. Then the clouds moved in just as the comet tail was rising above the horizon - despite SkippySky's forecast for clear skies (not happy, Jan!).

The comet tail has substantially lengthened since my Christmas morning session and now reaches Crux - but it's also much fainter.

I'd been super inspired by all the amazing images here on IIS, but I think I was experiencing a "regression towards the mean" after those epically dark and cloud-free skies in Roma Here are a few shots between clouds:

1. Using the clouds to my advantage - I really like how thin whispy clouds make the constellation stars stand out like little globes. 2x 30 sec 50 mm f/1.8 ISO 3200 with a Canon 5DmkII mounted on an Astrotrac.

2. Wide field of the comet tail sweeping past Alpha/Beta Centauri all the way up to Crux. The Lamba Centauri and Eta Carina Nebulae are visible near the top-right of frame. I was happy with how well defined the dark dust lanes turned out... got to love dark skies 4x 121 sec 50 mm f/2.0 ISO 800 with a Canon 5DmkII mounted on an Astrotrac.

3. The clouds finally cleared to give us a full view of the comet after it started becoming washed out by the twilight. 4x 30 sec f/2.0 ISO 1600 with a Canon 20D mounted on an EQ6.

After 18 hours of highway driving and two all-nighters in three days, I think I'm all done! Time to sleep for three days straight
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  #2  
Old 27-12-2011, 07:28 PM
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Octane (Humayun)
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Go-go team, 5D Mark II. What a camera. :wipes tears:

Your first image has that wonderful Akira Fuji look to the stars. Quintessential.

Love the last image, particularly, though, with its exquisite framing.

Top job, Dave.

H
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Old 27-12-2011, 07:39 PM
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Great shots, Dave. I like them all...no fav's there
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Old 27-12-2011, 09:08 PM
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Thanks H & Carl!

H - Thanks for the Akira Fuji reference. I knew I'd seen the effect before (and I happen to really like it), but I couldn't remember where. I'm really, really, really happy with the 5DmkII - it delivers the goods. By the way, I see that you have a Tak FS-60CB... ever used it with the 5DmkII? Any thoughts?
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Old 27-12-2011, 09:52 PM
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Hi mate,

The FS-60CB is used as a guidescope when the STL can't find a guidestar through the FSQ (which is rarely ever). So, at the moment, it's relegated to its box that it calls home.

If this weather ever clears, I'll go about getting the right adapter and throw the camera on the FS-60CB for a laugh.

To get an idea of what the 5D Mark II(/FSQ) are capable of: http://members.optusnet.com.au/mrozy...ke_Nebula.html

That one got an honourable mention in this year's Malin's.

http://members.optusnet.com.au/mrozy...rk_Doodad.html

From memory, these are the only two astro images that I've made with that combination.

Cheers.

H
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Old 27-12-2011, 10:08 PM
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Thanks, H - they're fantastic. It's inspiring to see the the 5DmkII has so much potential. I'm thinking the 5DmkII + FS-60CB + Astrotrac + dob will be the perfect portable dark sky imaging/viewing kit for me.

I'm still intoxicated by my really-dark-sky experience on Christmas morning... these are single exposure, straight-out-of-camera shots at ISO 1600, 3200, and 6400 with the Astrotrac roughly pointed at the SCP. Un-freaking-believable.
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Old 27-12-2011, 10:37 PM
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The comet and crux, it's worth the bucks
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Old 27-12-2011, 10:37 PM
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Quite speccy.

It's a great, great camera.

What lens did you use there? Looks like the field of view the 50mm would give.

H
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Old 27-12-2011, 10:40 PM
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Great shots again, Dave!!

Look like 50mm??

What F and exp' length??
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Old 27-12-2011, 11:37 PM
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I love the star colours - they are fantastic Dave.

High cloud can do wonders for stars if caught right.

Lovelly collection there!

Darrin...
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Old 28-12-2011, 02:52 AM
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Thanks guys!

H & Carl - those three DSO shots were taken with a Canon 135 mm f/2L at f/2. LMC was 10 sec, ISO 6400; Eta Carina was 15 sec, ISO 3200; Crux was 60 sec, ISO 1600.

I think my 135 mm shots only look like they're 50 mm relative to all the 14 mm wide fields I've been posting!
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Old 28-12-2011, 04:23 AM
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lol, so true.

Lovely work, all the same.

H
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Old 28-12-2011, 10:03 AM
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Congratulations Dave-these images are pure magic!-amazing how high cloud can add to an image.The skill and gear used here by Dave is truly great.

I do hope you come back and visit when we have better skies.

cheers Chris
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Old 28-12-2011, 11:12 AM
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Haha .....they do look like 50's Maybe the lens is masquerading as one!!!
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Old 28-12-2011, 11:36 AM
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Outstanding views Dave the comet and other shots. Thanks for the views.

All the best.
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Old 28-12-2011, 09:47 PM
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Thanks guys! Chris, your skies rock
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