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FORUMS Photo Sharing & Visual Enjoyment Astronomy & Celestial 
Thread started 03 Nov 2010 (Wednesday) 12:57
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What is needed to do Time Lapse of the Milky Way Galaxy.....

 
The ­ Loft ­ Studios
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Nov 03, 2010 12:57 |  #1

Hi All,
I will be heading out to the Texas Hill Country this weekend and would like to do some time lapse photos of the Milky Way Galaxy. I'm looking to do a 10-12 hour Time Lapse Shoot. I've read pretty extensively about what I need and what I need to do, but I still have a couple of questions.....

How would I find out which direction (North-South-East-West) to point my camera in order to get the "rising" of the Milky Way Galaxy? Sample Video HERE (external link)
How would I find out what time the Milky Way Galaxy will "rise"?

BTW, here's the equipment I'll be using.....
•Canon 5DMII
•Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L Lens
•Canon Remote TC 80N3
•Heavy Duty Manfrotto Tripod
•Heat Pads (to prevent the lens from collecting dew)

Any other Equipment and Tips & Tricks would much be appreciated.....
Thanks!
-Mark


MARK

  
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dugpatrick
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Nov 03, 2010 13:55 |  #2

I like the free software from stelarium.org. You can see the position of the Milky Way and just about anything else you might want to photograph. And you can speed up time, or set a different time, for cases where you want to see how the stars will change.

You mention 10-12 hours of exposure, but I think you'll reach the point of diminishing returns much sooner. Do you have a motorized EQ head? If not then the individual frames will be limited by star drift. You can get some experience photographing stars in your backyard and then you'll be prepared for the outing.

Wide angle is recommended. Do some test shots to see how the lens handles stars. Stars are always overexposed and some camera lenses perform better than others. Even though you have a great photography lens, you might find that a simple prime lens will do better when overexposing stars. Some trial and error would help identify the best focal ratio for the lens. Without a motorized mount you would want full-open, but maybe the CA or other aberations would force a slower speed.

It sounds like fun!

Doug




  
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mtbdudex
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Nov 03, 2010 14:08 as a reply to  @ dugpatrick's post |  #3

The guy who does this a lot has great website, plus is a semi-regular here, http://timescapes.org/ (external link).

A earlier post of his, "Stairway to Heaven"

Have fun doing this.


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Footbag
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Nov 03, 2010 14:39 |  #4

That TSP video is amazing. What you do is take a sequence of photos pointing at the milky way. I don't know if you've taken star trail photo's before, but this is pretty much the same routine, but instead of pointing at Polaris, you're pointing towards the milky way.

I'd probably suggest going as wide as your lens will go. This will keep the Milky Way in the frame for the longest possible time. The TSP video was take with a fish-eye, so you won't have the same FOV.

To start, take about a 20-30 second exposure. Make sure your photo is properly framed and focused. Also pay attention to any landscape that will be in the photo. Make any necessary changes adjustments and recheck it. I would suggest a laptop in the field, because you can only see so much on a little LCD, but I'm not saying it cannot be done, but it makes it a lot easier. Once you're framed and focused, point your camera at the desired area.

To determine the correct area, I'd use Stellarium. It's a free planetarium software, and allows you to see what the sky looks like at any time. You can also run through the hours to see where objects rise and set. If you cannot tell which way is north by the big dipper and Polaris, then bring a compass.

Now, you're pointed at the correct region, in focus, and dialed in. Begin your shooting routine. Your desired exposure every so many seconds. I leave 7 seconds between exposures to ensure enough time to write the file. I use EOS utility for this, but a remote timer will work, or even manually if you are very patient. After your first 3 or 4 shots, review the screen and make sure they are looking good. I will once again suggest a laptop, because any time you touch your camera from this point on, you risk losing your framing or focus.

Do this for a couple of hours. If you want to go over a couple of hours, you may need an AC adapter to a bigger power supply. Changing the battery messes with framing, and will likely cause a skip in the video. But, within a couple of hours or maybe a touch more, the Milky Way may already have moved out of your field of view.

When you are done, you will have a bunch of images. Use a program like startrails (www.startrails.de (external link)) to animate the images. This is the easy part. Then post your results.


Adam
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jsc230
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Nov 04, 2010 17:19 as a reply to  @ Footbag's post |  #5

Unfortunately, the milky way will already be about half way across the sky when the sun sets. You can get it setting probably.

I also recommend stellarium. Try to get out and mess around before the day of the shoot, a lot can go wrong, I know. Plus you need to make sure you know what setting work best for your camera/lens combo.

Generally when I do a milky way time lapse I use 20 second exposure at f/2.2, iso 3200. My break between photos is 10 seconds. Here's a link to one of my time lapses with those settings http://www.vimeo.com/1​3969406 (external link) I still need to learn more about post processing the images.

Let me know if you have more questions.

Joe Conklin


Joe Conklin
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the ­ jimmy
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Nov 04, 2010 19:17 |  #6

jsc230 wrote in post #11225874 (external link)
. Try to get out and mess around before the day of the shoot, a lot can go wrong, I know. Plus you need to make sure you know what setting work best for your camera/lens combo.

The last thing you want is to be in a great location (dark skies) and do a time lapse of 30-60 minutes and then discover it isn't good for one reason or another. Like others have wrote, do some tests shots before you go.




  
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jsigone
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Nov 05, 2010 12:59 |  #7

do everything from home and learn the ropes, sucks to drive 2 hours for bad data.

Milkway is overhead by the time sunset. If tripod, used the lens at shortest FL to get the most exposure time in. You should be able to get 30-45secs @ 24mm w/o much tailing. Just have to try it out. Best option from home is hook it up to a laptop via USB cable, use the canon software to remote control the camera and setup the interval timer through the software and just sit back and enjoy the stars.


My Flickr (external link)

  
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dpayne1
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Nov 06, 2010 17:28 |  #8

A couple of tips:

Use 24mm
Use Manual settings
White Balance 3800 to 4200
ISO at 3200
Exposure no more than 30 sec or you will get "saucer stars"
Aperture 2.8 (wide open)
Focus is critical -- use live view and zoom in to 10x to manually focus
after your first shot zoom in to check focus and adjust as needed

Test before going out as the others have said

Here's a shot I took last week at yosemite using the above settings (except with a 24mm F1.4 prime and 20 second exposure):

IMAGE: http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4062/5126785346_f7823bb670_b.jpg



  
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Celestron
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Nov 07, 2010 00:19 |  #9

dpayne1 wrote in post #11237020 (external link)
A couple of tips:

Use 24mm
Use Manual settings
White Balance 3800 to 4200
ISO at 3200
Exposure no more than 30 sec or you will get "saucer stars"
Aperture 2.8 (wide open)
Focus is critical -- use live view and zoom in to 10x to manually focus
after your first shot zoom in to check focus and adjust as needed

Test before going out as the others have said

Here's a shot I took last week at yosemite using the above settings (except with a 24mm F1.4 prime and 20 second exposure):

QUOTED IMAGE

Thats a beautiful shot worth wall hangin !




  
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The ­ Loft ­ Studios
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Nov 07, 2010 23:41 as a reply to  @ Celestron's post |  #10

Thanks Everyone for your input.....
Unfortunate because I live in Downtown Houston, I have ABSOLUTELY no way to do exposure test before I depart. Which is why I did extensive research on exposures and had already decided what I was going to do. My most important question was which way to point my camera to get the Milky Way Galaxy as it (or the Earth) rotated giving the illusion of the Milky Way "rising". But when I was ready to shoot (as someone mentioned) I noticed that the Milky Way was already up in the sky. But for some reason my images don't show the "DETAILS" of the Milky Way as I've seen in other images. I was in Fredricksburg, Texas which in about 2 hours West of Austin, Texas. So I was a long way from any Metropolitan Cities. Do I need to get even further away? What did I do wrong, Post Processing, maybe? Anyway,as soon as I get a hold of Quicktime Pro, I will then put together a slide show of both nights of photography. So basically without any experience and little knowledge and absolutely no way to practice, this is what I came up with..... Please feel free to CC!

FIRST NIGHT:
Set-Up Time: 1:00am
Exposure(s): Time Lapse 1:15am - 6:15am in 1 min intervals using the Canon Remote TC 80N3 - Total Time = 5hrs.)
Direction: North/Northwest
Camera: Canon 5D Mark II w/Grip
Lens: Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L (set to 24mm)
File Format: Small JPG (decided on this rather than Large JPG or even RAW)
ISO: 3200
Shutter: 30 sec
Aperture: f/2.8
Triopod: Manfrotto Neo Tec
Misc.: Four 8hr Hand Warmers rubber banded to Lens and Camera Body to keep warm in the 35-40 degree temperture and wrapped in a Fleece Blanket to prevent any Frost or Dew.

IMAGE NOT FOUND
IMAGE IS A REDIRECT OR MISSING!
HTTP response: 404 | MIME changed to 'text/html' | Byte size: ZERO


SECOND NIGHT:
Set-Up Time: 8:15pm
Exposure(s): Time Lapse 8:30pm - 6:30am in 1 min intervals using the Canon Remote TC 80N3 - Total Time = 10 hrs.
Direction: North/Northwest
Camera: Canon 5D Mark II w/Grip
Lens: Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L (set to 24mm)
File Format: Small JPG (decided on this rather than Large JPG or even RAW)
ISO: 3200
Shutter: 30 sec
Aperture: f/2.8
Triopod: Manfrotto Neo Tec
Misc.: Four 8hr Hand Warmers rubber banded to Lens and Camera Body to keep warm in the 35-40 degree temperture and wrapped in a Fleece Blanket to prevent any Frost or Dew.


IMAGE NOT FOUND
IMAGE IS A REDIRECT OR MISSING!
HTTP response: 404 | MIME changed to 'text/html' | Byte size: ZERO

MARK

  
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evorgsumaf
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Nov 08, 2010 00:57 as a reply to  @ The Loft Studios's post |  #11

I like the first picture. I would be very happy with the turn out.


Brandon

  
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jsigone
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Nov 08, 2010 11:44 |  #12

Not bad, you can still see the light pollution from the city even at 2hours out. You need to go farther, higher or get a LP filter for that lens. They can be pricey but you'll be able to shoot in the city with them as well.

The details you see in other images are from stacking images and/or from REALLY REALLY dark sites.

If I were to do a time lapse, I'd still stack images. Its hard to tell with the images posted but doesn't look like tailing too bad and corners aren't pulled from the lens being wide open.

I'd break the time lapse down into parts, each part image for say 20min, that should be good enough to gather signal for details with F2.8. So if you're running 30sec subs, you need 40x30sec subs per part. Wait 20-30mins for the milky way to move before starting the next 20min interval. In between the interval you should be taking darks, simply put the lens cap on and shoot 30-50% of light exposure. So you need 7-10mins worth of darks. These help cancel out noise and bring more details. These are temperature based so they can match well with the lights.

Here is a good link I've been passing around for stacking and basic editing. Oh and shoot in RAW.
http://astrochat.co.uk​/forum/viewtopic.php?t​=13241 (external link)

You can still stack your images you go and play with them.


My Flickr (external link)

  
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dpayne1
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Nov 09, 2010 17:49 as a reply to  @ The Loft Studios's post |  #13

I like the first one. you can bring out the details in post processing, but that is more difficult for a set of images instead of a single one. If you use lightroom, you can do some automated PP against the batch. It takes some trial and error.

I would be inclined to learn/perfect how to take single frames or stacked images before moving to timelapse but that's strictly your choice.

By adjusting your WB between 3800 -4200 you can get more of a blue sky - but if you shot raw you can adjust WB in PP.

Great start keep on it!




  
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Casper ­ Smit
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May 01, 2011 03:08 |  #14

Mark,

your equipment is top shelf,

+1 to the advice posted,

here are some links I found very informative some are for startrails, which is not that far removed from milkyway timelapse photography

http://theamusing.com …startrails.html​/?w=flickr (external link)
http://www.fredmiranda​.com/forum/topic/72576​9/0 (external link)

to see the effect of "jsigone" pp link
https://photography-on-the.net/forum/showthre​ad.php?t=913657
https://photography-on-the.net/forum/showthre​ad.php?t=980240

have fun


Casper B Smit

5dii, 5d, 20d, 16-35L, 24-70L, 580EX

  
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The ­ Loft ­ Studios
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May 01, 2011 16:56 as a reply to  @ Casper Smit's post |  #15

Thanks Casper.....
AWESOME links!!!


MARK

  
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What is needed to do Time Lapse of the Milky Way Galaxy.....
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