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Off the Deep End – How I started Deep Sky Astrophotography

In Astrophotography, General, Learning Center, News, Travel by jfischer1 Comment

My progression in photography started with a desire to spend more time outdoors, in the fresh air of nature and away from a computer screen. After a couple years of exploring the natural landscapes under the light of our nearest star – the sun, I began to explore and work some in the field of wide field astrophotography landscapes, capturing the natural world under the wide open night skies. Experimenting with different focal lengths ranging from the ultra-wide 14mm all the way to 50mm primes on my full frame Canon …

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Show and Tell: Old Rock Eclipse

In Astrophotography, Learning Center, Post-Processing, Show and Tell by jfischerLeave a Comment

St. Olaf’s Kirke, also known as the Old Rock Church in Cranfils Gap, Texas was built in 1886 by Norwegian settlers in the area. Since those days it has become known as one of the most haunted places in the Lone Star State. This reputation however has not kept it from becoming a well known and often visited astrophotography location by area night sky photographers who contact the care takers for permission to shoot on its grounds after dark. As was the case when a friend and fellow photographer friend …

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Show and Tell: Red Rock Milky Way

In Astrophotography, Learning Center, Show and Tell by jfischerLeave a Comment

I’m about to break a few hearts, but hopefully also blow a couple minds. This is a composite. Not only is it a composite, the foreground was taken at 5pm, not 5am as it might look. Taking an image that I shot on my way out to Valley of Fire State Park in Nevada on my last day of my 2018 Death Valley trip, and pairing it with a Milky Way exposure I took previously on the trip without a good foreground, I took the best of two photos and …

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Show and Tell: Trails on the Prairie

In Astrophotography, Learning Center, Show and Tell by jfischerLeave a Comment

Seeing as one of my most popular articles here in the Learning Center is my ‘Stacking Star Trails in Photoshop CC’ – decided to share this non-stacked single frame star trail to show what can be done with a single exposure – as well as the challenges in capturing them. Where most star trails are shot at around 30-60 seconds per shot and then stacked with either Photoshop of another specialized application such as StarStax, this photo was taken in a single 2100 second exposure… doing the math, that’s 35 …

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Show and Tell – Railcar Milky Way

In Astrophotography, Learning Center, Show and Tell by jfischer1 Comment

When a good friend on Instagram messaged me about a group planning a trip to Galveston for an all-out blitz of a weekend with little sleep, little in the way of plans other than astrophotography and the beach, I wasn’t about to pass up the invite. What I didn’t plan on was hitting north Houston traffic at 5pm on a Friday afternoon. Needless to say, by the time I crossed over the bridge onto Galveston Island, I needed a beer more than I needed to shoot a marginally interesting sunset. …

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Astrophotography Lenses – Beyond the f-number

In Astrophotography, Learning Center, Tips and tricks by jfischer4 Comments

Just getting started in Astrophotography?  Please check out my introductory article, ‘Astrophography – Seeing the Light in the Darkest Places’ first before you dive in here.  It’s been recently updated for 2017! Astrophotography is a wonderful, and at the moment wildly popular, style of photography. From the peace that comes from sitting in the still darkness taking in the sights of the night sky, to the wonder of seeing far more than the eye can behold light up the back side of your camera’s screen after each click – there …

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Star Trails – Astrophotography in Motion

In Astrophotography, Learning Center, Tutorials by jfischer1 Comment

Photography, as they say, is about capturing a moment in time. Some moments are a fraction of a second, like a batter swinging for the fences, or a Kingfisher as it dives for its breakfast. Other moments might capture a full second of time, such as a waterfall flowing over Niagara Falls. Some moments are longer yet, such as letting light flow through the camera long enough to capture eddies in a river, or soften a raging surf into a misty fog. When you start dragging out the length of …

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Astrophotography – Seeing the Light in the Darkest Places

In Astrophotography, Learning Center, Tutorials by jfischer2 Comments

I remember vividly the wonder, and the frustration, in trying to capture my first astrophotography photographs.  I was standing on the edge of the road in the middle of Yellowstone National Park, taking in the arch of the milky way as it reached overhead.  It was one of the first times in my adult life, or ever that I could recall, that I was able to see the band of stars that make up our galaxy from the general star field stretching across the sky.  The problem was, I knew …

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Star Trail Stacking in Photoshop CC – the fast way

In Astrophotography, Learning Center, Post-Processing, Tips and tricks by jfischer5 Comments

For the first year after I started working with Star Trail photography, I’ve used StarStax to blend my individual frames together into the trail photo.  Unfortunately, StarStax has some limitations, and I have suspected that the resulting star trail image wasn’t as high of quality as the input images.  So I started researching other options, including stacking manually in Photoshop.  The root of the idea is to set each of your layers above the bottom layer to blending mode = ‘lighten’ – so the bright starts shine through on each subsequent …

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Show & Tell: Star Trails at Tyler State Park

In Astrophotography, Learning Center, Show and Tell, Texas State Parks by jfischer4 Comments

An usually warm end of January, even by Texas standards, presented me with a unique opportunity in 2016. With clear skies in the forecast a chance to get an early start to both my camping season and astrophotography year was too good to pass up. On a previous trip I had scouted a location along the shore of Tyler State Park which I felt had potential for a star trail sequence, so the race was on to get a camp site as close to the shoot location as possible.  With …