Astrophotography at Saddell Castle

Astrophotography at Saddell Castle

This was my second attempt at Astrophotography at Saddell Castle within a few weeks. The first outing did not go well at all, I had all sorts of issues with my gear and software.

Focusing Issue

For my Astrophotography I use a Samyang 14mm f2.8 manual focus lens which up until my last efforts worked great.

On the evening of the failure I had got myself into position and happy with my composition. Snapped off a test shot and checked my focus, it was soft. Huh, I went to twist my focus drum round but it woudn’t go any further, it was wracked out.

I was kicking myself as I had taken my 24-70mm lens out earlier thinking I wouldn’t need it, how wrong was I. Anyway I carried on, hoping that it was just a display error on the LCD.

And now on to my next fault…

Magic Lantern Intervalometer

I have started to use Magic Lantern software as my intervalometer as for some reason the cheap third party intervalometer’s just don’t work on my Canon 6d, and on this evening neither did Magic Lantern’s. Oh man I was having a nightmare.

So to set the scene, I’m setup on the beach just outside the Castle which was filled with guests in the pitch black. The last thing I was wanting to do was spook any of the guests or young kids by starting to flash my torch everywhere. Things were just not going well.

I had my camera on bulb mode which is the only reason I could come up with at the time as to why it wasn’t working but eventually managed to get it to workin manual mode inputting the shutter time via the camera rather than the software, it worked so I was happy.

I had it setup for 100 images which would have taken roughly 48 minutes or so. 50 images in and my battery runs out, lol. That was it for me, I packed up and went home!!! When I got home I checked the images and they were all too soft, so the battery failure actually helped me out.

Focus Fix

Needless to say I scoured youtube for a solution to my lens problem and found this video which helped me out.

I would recommend the fix to anyone who doesn’t have much room for adjusting focus on this lens. Mine before the problem had no room to go past focus to come back again, now I have it setup the way I like it.

Take 2

So, we had clear skies for a few hours forecast so I headed out again to try my luck. I had checked the lens earlier in the day and all was good, I packed my 24 – 70mm just incase lol.

I positioned myself in almost the same location as the previous attempt as that was the best area for the image I had in mind. Checked focus in live view zoomed in at 10x, looked good, set up Magic Lantern for 100 images, at 25 seconds, 1 second apart and then sat back gazing at the stars for the next 40 odd minutes, jeezo it was cold ๐Ÿ™‚

Whilst chilling I decided I was going to do a Milky Way shot also, from the other side of the river with the 24-70mm lens. I was still a bit paranoid about the focus so wanting to have at least 1 image to show for my efforts.

Image below is my Star Trail image of 100 images at 25 seconds f2.8, ISO 6400 edited differently in post.

Star Trails Over Saddell Castle
Star Trails Over Saddell Castle

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next image was from my 24-70mm f2.8, ISO 6400, 25 seconds at 24mm, 2 images stacked.

Saddell Castle Milky Way
Saddell Castle Milky Way

And a little Time Lapse video of the Star Trails:

Conclusion

I’m not really happy with the Milky Way image. It would be better if the Centre of the Milky Way was there but unfortunately that wasn’t due to appear until 0430 and I wasn’t waiting up for that, plus it would be in a totally different location.

I like the patterns by the Star Trails, but there is a bit of effect from StarStax which I notice when I zoom in but I can live with that as I’m not intending on printing this image but will re-edit at some point in the future for next years calendar ๐Ÿ™‚

What a challenging image to finally capture but I’m glad I did as it tested me in numerous ways and I feel as though I’m getting better with Magic Lantern now.

Visit my previous visit to Saddell Castle a few weeks back.

Posted in response to Cee’s Photo Challenge ‘ Patterns ‘

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