All posts by Greg

Jupiter and Mercury

I took this image of Jupiter close to Mercury over the Forest tonight, just after sunset.  Jupiter is the brighter planet at the top, Mercury is the red planet at the lower right.

Noel Carboni (Florida, U.S.A.) did some clean up processing on this one before sending back to me – so this image has already been once around the planet 🙂  Canon 5D with 100-400mm zoom and x1.4 converter, ISO 400, 3-seconds, f#18.

I think that Jupiter and Mercury will be at their closest in 3-days time.  If you do want to see them – DO NOT – scan across the West with telescopes or binoculars until the Sun has FULLY set!!!!

Helicon Remote software

I have used Helicon Focus extensively with my photomicroscopy to give me huge depth of focus using focus stacking. I am now getting into using the associated Helicon Remote software which automatically controls a DSLR to again create a focus stacked image – this software is totally remarkable. I just plug my Canon 5D MkII into the USB port with Helicon Remote running – and it does it all for you! The software even works with the RAW files from the 5D MkII which is more than I can say for CS3!! Anyway – you set a low f# (you don’t need depth of field as you’re focus stacking) a low ISO for low noise, and your exposure time to suit. Using the software buttons in HR you set the near and far field focus points and let HR work out the best stack. Hit take the pictures and off it goes taking an image, shifting focus, and taking the next image until it’s completed the stack. Now comes the best bit – it now puts all the images into Helicon Focus where it focus stacks the lot.   Here is my first real go with this software – I’m going to have to go up into the loft to get the butterflies out again.

M109 and friends

Managed to get 4 and a half hours worth of imaging time on Phecda (star), M109 and at least 25 other galaxies in Ursa Major last night.  Should turn out to be a very nice image with ultra bright (blue) Phecda contrasting with all the faint fuzzies (galaxies) in the region.  Reasonably good seeing too – we’ve been very lucky with the skies at the beginning of this month – I think it is due to end soon according to the forecasts.

I am pretty impressed with the freezing power of the HSF “Ultra” units and the fantastic images they can give of water drop collisions.  BUT – the limitations of stills photography makes itself very apparent when you take high-speed video footage of the same water drop collision events.  In the following two HS videos Tony Allen of Panache Productions shows what can be done when you put a “Phantom” high-speed video camera in the right hands!

Video 1 Video 2

Check out my web site dedicated to high-speed flash photography.

International Space Station

A first for me, and the first new image for the Scientific Artist 🙂  Managed to capture the International Space Station crossing my southern horizon last night – Sunday March 6th at 6:57 p.m.  There will be another crossing tonight at 7:23 p.m. try to see it if you can – it is an amazing sight!

Caught using the Canon 5D with the fish-eye lens and ISO100 at f#8, 3-minute exposure which was the time of the crossing (long one!).  Tonight’s crossing will also be a long 3-minute one as well.

So this has now whetted my appetite – I now want to image the station itself, which is a MUCH more difficult job.  I will put the 5D onto the Megrez 80mm refractor with a x5 Barlow lens.  Focusing and tracking are going to be very tough, but hey the Scientific Artist is up to the challenge.  Let’s see how many goes it takes for me to get this image 🙂

Click on the above image to get a bigger version where the trail is more visible.