AstroCapetown is one year old and to celebrate, I’m bringing out a calendar based on the best images I have taken over the past year. These images represent a total of more than 100 hours of imaging time and probably an equal amount of time put into processing them. It’s been great fun and I’ve learned a huge amount in the process.
I have submitted a version of this calendar to the online retail store Calvendo. It is currently on review and hopefully will be available for purchase soon in hardcopy form. If you are willing to print it yourself, I am offering a downloadable version for free.
To get hold of a copy click here
Seasons Greetings and Clear Skies!
Ten months ago I embarked on a new journey and entered the exciting world of astrophotography. In many respects I have got into the hobby backwards, having spent much of my life as a professional theoretical cosmologists scribbling down equations rather than staring down the eyepiece of a telescope or spending long nights in the control room of a modern observatory. So in May 2017 I took the plunge and started taking pictures, not of the beautiful mountain or seascapes which dominate Cape Town, the city I have made my home, but of distant emission nebulae and galaxies.
Early morning view across the Atlantic from Lion’s Head.
My primary imaging rig.
Looking back, it’s clear that I knew almost nothing when I started this venture. I stumbled into this hobby blissfully ignorant of how much I needed to learn in order to start producing images I could be proud of. Astrophotography is hard, but that’s what makes it so rewarding. There is nothing more thrilling than taking a stack of hundreds of sub-frames or subs for short, that you have painstakingly accumulated over several nights and applying that initial auto-stretch to reveal a detailed image of a deep sky object. Those of you who have experienced this know exactly what I am talking about!
Unstretched stack of the Lagoon Nebula
Stretched stack of the Lagoon Nebula
The idea behind this blog is to attempt to demystify the art of astrophotography and share what I have learnt (and still learning) about this wonderful past time. Over the coming weeks and months I will provided detailed information about my set up, the cameras, equipment and software I use and some of the processing tricks I have learned to improve the quality of my images. I hope that some of these posts will help others avoid some the mistakes and pitfalls I have encountered along the way and help them get on the road to producing breathtaking images of the universe.