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Photographing Thor's Helmet

Photographing Thor’s Helmet from the City

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In this post, I’ll walk you through my process of photographing a jaw-dropping nebula in the night sky known as Thor’s Helmet. As usual, there were a number of challenges in my way, but it wouldn’t be astrophotography without a little stress now would it? I am using an imaging setup that I have used in a while, and I think you’ll get some great tips for your next project by following along. I sincerely enjoy sharing these nights of deep-sky astrophotography in the backyard with you, and I hope you enjoy the final image. Astrophotography vs. Daily Life I don’t know about you gu…

Why I Built a Backyard Observatory

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In this article, I'll explain why I built a backyard observatory, and how the entire project took shape this spring. Officially named "Black Dog Observatory" this structure will become the epicenter of my astrophotography operations in the backyard.  Below, is a photo of me standing in my new SkySked POD XL5 observatory. I expect many memorable nights in the observatory this summer.  My backyard observatory After 10 years of setting up my camera and telescope for astrophotography each night, I finally have a permanent setup to photograph the night sky. Because the base of t…

best astrophotography images

My Best Images & The Gear Used

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On this website, I do my best to share information and astrophotography tips that provide value. I could pat myself on the back about all of the great astrophotography images I took this year, but it is of little interest to anyone if I don't explain how I took the shot.  In this article, I'll share my best astrophotography images of 2020, and the equipment setups used for each image. This way, you'll have a better idea of what's behind each image, and how you can accomplish a similar result yourself. Capturing the images with the right set of gear is only half of the equation, of c…

Photographing the Lobster Claw Nebula

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The Lobster Claw Nebula (Sharpless 157) is a bright emission nebula. It lies near the edge of the northern constellation Cassiopeia, bordering on Cepheus. As you'll soon see in my long-exposure image, this bright HII region is surrounded by many more interesting deep-sky objects. It sits very close in the sky to another popular emission nebula for amateur astrophotography, the Bubble Nebula (NGC 7635). Although I have photographed the Bubble Nebula several times, it wasn't until this year that I focused my attention on the neighboring Lobster Claw Nebula.  The Location of the Lobste…

astrophotography images

The Gear Behind My Best Astrophotography Images

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In this post, I'll share my 10 best astrophotography images of the year, and the complete list of gear used to take them. I completed roughly 40 projects this year, and it was difficult to choose my favorite 10 images from the bunch.  The selection process involved remembering why each photo was so special. Why each one of these astrophotography images made me say "wow" as I opened the picture files on my computer. You may find it useful to see the exact imaging configurations used for each photo, as the gear used was deliberately selected to best capture each deep-sky object. …

NEAF

NEAF 2019

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As usual, I only scratched the surface of what NEAF has to offer. I attend the Northeast Astronomy Forum (NEAF) as an amateur astrophotography enthusiast looking to get an up close look at the latest and greatest gear, but NEAF is a lot more than just vendor and exhibitors booths. NEAF has been hosted by the Rockland Astronomy Club in Suffern, New York since 1991. This event has featured some incredible speakers over the years including Neil DeGrasse Tyson, Phil Plait, David Levy and many more. NEAF is the largest and most exciting space, science, and astronomy show in the United States.…

Astrophotography in Costa Rica (Carina Nebula)

|Nebulae|18 Comments

I’ve just returned from a vacation to Costa Rica with the goal of capturing some astrophotography images from the resort. Being so close to the equator, the night sky featured many new southern hemisphere deep-sky targets I had never seen before. Aside from astrophotography (including an impromptu Facebook Live stream from our balcony) my wife and I also enjoyed a private birding tour and some much-needed relaxation. The average temperature from home in Canada was around -10 degrees Celsius, in Costa Rica, 33. Despite the pleasant temperatures and an impressive number of clear nights d…

Astrophotography Gear Update

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Despite the excitement of a moving into a new house under Bortle Class 6 skies, I've had a rough start to the new year in terms of astrophotography. The weather has not been friendly, from -30 C nights to consecutive weeks of precipitation and clouds. However, this has given me some time to get my astrophotography gear organized in the garage for my next imaging session. My weather app shows that Saturday has a chance of clear skies for about 2 hours, and I'll be ready. In this post, I'll provide an update as to the astrophotography gear I'll be using next. My goal is that you find some…