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I am not an astrophotographer, although I hope to get into it someday in the future.   While shooting outdoor Christmas light displays in a small northern Kansas town, I snuck a few frames of the sky.  Away from the light pollution of Wichita, the stars were beautiful.  This is the constellation Orion.  Even though there were many stars visible, the camera was able to image many more than were seen with the naked eye.  This was shot on my D700, at ISO 1100,  f/2.8 for six seconds.   You can clearly see the bright glowing pinkish gases of the Orion Nebula (a.k.a. The Great Nebula, a.k.a. M42)   in Orion’s sword.  This was shot at 58mm, I would like to experiment with longer focal lengths.   My time was limited on this excursion but it only makes me want to try this again.   This is just the camera on a tripod, no fancy piggyback telescope mount or anything like that – but that sure would be fun!   I’m pretty sure the oddball colors on the tree branches are due to the Christmas light displays below, not some color temperature wackiness or other factor.

8 responses

  1. Vey cool. Keep experimenting–I love to see what you create! Happy New Year!

    January 6, 2012 at 1:29 am

  2. Cool shot – I live in a city and can only just see Orion on a clear night ..I forget how many other stars are out there!

    January 6, 2012 at 6:12 am

    • It’s a shame light pollution ruins the night sky experience for so many people.

      January 6, 2012 at 3:37 pm

  3. ken bello

    This is absolutely fantastic. This is something that I have never attempted. We don’t usually get clear skies here so a sight like this is unlikely to happen very often. And if it does, I’m surrounded by large trees (and other houses). Still, it makes me want to try something like this, but I’ll wait until it gets a little warmer.

    January 6, 2012 at 7:51 am

    • I continue to be impressed by the low light performance of these new DSLRs, the D700 especially with it’s full frame sensor. Although I believe Canon’s are preferred by the more knowledgable astrophotographers who use DSLRs. Can’t remember why though…I’m old!

      January 6, 2012 at 4:34 pm

  4. Nice work! I wonder how long an exposure you can do before you start seeing movement in the stars. I’d love to do something like this on the night of a meteor shower. Unfortuntely, I live in Dallas and have to go a long, long way before I get out of the light pollution.

    Thanks for sharing.

    January 6, 2012 at 3:15 pm

  5. Thanks Bill. I took another exposure at 13 seconds and that one was beginning to show some star trailing….although I expect the focal length and even what part of the sky you are shooting would also be variables in that equation.

    January 6, 2012 at 4:36 pm

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