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Jimmy Zhang's picture


My first venture into deep sky photography with a dslr and basic tracker. Photographed at a farm just outside of town in a yellow/orange sky zone two weeks ago on a rare clear night with my Nikon D750 and 300mm F4 lens. Tracked with an IOptron Skytracker. 27x90 second light frames (iso 800 at f4), 10 dark frames, 21 flat frames, 21 bias frames. Stacked in DSS and processed in Adobe Photoshop. I had hoped for at least an hour's worth of light frames but with no idea what I was actually doing, I wasted a lot of time setting up and figuring out how to track. It was a great first deep sky experience and I hope to get out a few more times by the end of the year

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Wow. Just wow. Makes me want to look into deep sky photography.

Jimmy Zhang's picture

It's amazing what a little bit of equipment and research can do! I definitely didn't expect any usable results from the first session and my setup is a far cry from the telescope based setups the real deep sky guys use but it's definitely doable

user-146450's picture

Wow I never knew you could get this with regular photography equipment. Well done. Can you explain more about 10 dark frames, 21 flat frames, 21 bias frames? How long did you track Andromeda?

Jimmy Zhang's picture

Thanks! In a nutshell, the dark and bias frames serve to reduce different kinds of noise from your light frames, and the flat frames work to reduce vignetting, smudging, and dust on your lens. Overall I tracked Andromeda for at least 2 hours, but being my first time using my tracker, my alignment was inprecise and I took over 40 exposures, with only 27 being sharp enough to use in the final stack

Ryan Luna's picture

When DSOs are done to my liking, like this, they are awesome! It fires my imagination and desire to better comprehend the universe outside our solar system. Thanks for sharing!

great job on the post processing!

Orions sword would be another good wide-field DSO, but will need a lot more integration time if your camera is not modded.

It will be my target starting around midnight once the moon has nearly set.

Jimmy Zhang's picture

In a few weeks when Orion rises a bit earlier it's my next target for sure! Hoping to get at least two hours on it when I get out there

This is 2.5 hours from last night, I need a full night imaging this. Will probably get my 6D astro modded first.