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Astrophotography – A First Attempt

Posted by on September 20, 2015

I’ve recently been admiring a friend’s amazing shots on Flickr and got the urge to try my hand on some astrophotography myself. I live in Dublin city where light pollution is pretty bad so my options are limited so while on a trip down the country I couldn’t resist a clear nights sky!

The photos were all taken at Woodstown Strand in Waterford, it’s a beach that doesn’t show up on many maps so if you’re in the locality stick the following GPS coordinates into your iPhone: 52.190827, -6.983683

The other aim for the trip was to try out the new Nikon 200-500mm f5.6E lens I recently received. When the moon shots were taken at 500m it was already far sharper than my previous attempts using a 70-200mm VRII with a 2x tele. When I added the teleconverter to the 200-500mm the moon suddenly filled the frame. My next issue was that the moon moves, and not just moves but races through shot pretty quickly if you zoom in on live view. As a 1000mm alternative to a telescope I was quite happy with the outcome of the moon shots. I can only imagine what an 800mm exotic lens would make if it all!

For a city boy I was amazed not only by how many stars were visible but also that I could easily make out satellites and shooting stars with the naked eye, indeed there’s plenty of streaks in the photos above if you look closely enough. I think the next steps will be invest in a star tracking rig and have one of my long lens aimed some of the interesting features in the sky!

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