Need advice for Milky Way shots in Death Valley....

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Dark frames are used in the stacking process - assuming you are using DSS. Typically the number varies but 10-20 at same settings. They are used to filter out thermal noise from the sensor heating up during long exposures. As I suggested, doing a pause as long as your exposure would negate the noise and I think using them no necessary. Most of darks, flats and bias are more targeted toward the long exposures for deep space (e.g. 1-2 minutes or more).

Kay - your photos are very good but that is cheating.... you live in Thunder Bay...lol. I bet you have some nice dark skies. I am in the shadow of Chicago with all its lights.
 
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Dark frames are used in the stacking process - assuming you are using DSS. Typically the number varies but 10-20 at same settings. They are used to filter out thermal noise from the sensor heating up during long exposures. As I suggested, doing a pause as long as your exposure would negate the noise and I think using them no necessary. Most of darks, flats and bias are more targeted toward the long exposures for deep space (e.g. 1-2 minutes or more).

Kay - your photos are very good but that is cheating.... you live in Thunder Bay...lol. I bet you have some nice dark skies. I am in the shadow of Chicago with all its lights.
Hahaha Thanks! Thunder Bay is quite amazing for dark sky... literally 20 mins out of town, I get into bortle scale 3. (An hour drive would put me to 2 or 1 lol)
And we get to frame milkyway and aurora in one pano if lucky!
 

Butlerkid

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Dark frames are used in the stacking process - assuming you are using DSS. Typically the number varies but 10-20 at same settings. They are used to filter out thermal noise from the sensor heating up during long exposures. As I suggested, doing a pause as long as your exposure would negate the noise and I think using them no necessary. Most of darks, flats and bias are more targeted toward the long exposures for deep space (e.g. 1-2 minutes or more).

Kay - your photos are very good but that is cheating.... you live in Thunder Bay...lol. I bet you have some nice dark skies. I am in the shadow of Chicago with all its lights.
DSS....?
 
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Stacking astro images is a little different in DSS than PS (or Pixinsight - light years ahead of DSS but not cheap and learning curve is worse than Photoshop). For celestial objects, you load all of your lights, then add (or not) flats, darks and bias. To simplify the process, the lights are calibrated based on darks, flats and lights then 'aligned' geometrically and stacked. I have never used it when landscape involved, so no idea what would happen.

Take photos, change settings and have fun and ignore the stacking, darks etc... I have seen some great pics with just Photoshop.
 
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Great thread. Looking forward to seeing your results, Karen.

I've tried this type of photography a couple of times. Failed miserably due to lacking the one thing that no-one has yet mentioned.....

Patience.

Good luck...:)
 

Butlerkid

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Great thread. Looking forward to seeing your results, Karen.

I've tried this type of photography a couple of times. Failed miserably due to lacking the one thing that no-one has yet mentioned.....

Patience.

Good luck...:)
Once it gets dark, I prefer to be tucked in somewhere.....safe and warm.....preferably in my jammies. No party girl here............
 
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Well I promised to post some notes about my workflow from my planned Milky Way shoot during the wee hours of Sunday morning. The plan was to scout the location in Eldorado National Forest by daylight on Saturday then return after moonset and spend a couple hours before dawn enjoying the view and photographing the core of the Milky Way as it rose. But the last day of winter had something to contribute to my plan. Most of the drive was uneventful but the last few miles before reaching the planned location looked like this:
9FDF69B9-08BB-4C92-B869-BC7F4A3BA435_1_105_c.jpg
Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

During daylight, with temperatures above freezing, I still pressed on to see the spot I had in mind for my nightscape. This location takes in the eastern horizon, where the core rises this time of year, and there are no foreground trees obstructing the view.
ADAF7A13-ACB1-450A-B8ED-44F0262AEF89_1_105_c.jpg
Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

With not a single snowplow or guardrail anywhere in sight and the temperature falling, I figured the risk of negotiating the twists and turns to return after nightfall seemed unreasonable. Still, it was a pleasant afternoon of enjoying the outdoors. The scouting and planning effort will endure until the right day comes along.

Since a couple people did seem interested, I did recall a few techniques that I've used in the past and don't seem to have been mentioned so far in this thread:
  1. If you are going back to your car/tent/camper while your camera is getting exposures, it can be hard to find in the dark. A small LED light or glow-in-the-dark material positioned on the rear leg of the tripod and facing aft from the camera is a big help.
  2. To achieve critical focus by reviewing test exposures, as Kevin has suggested, there is no need to use long exposures. Just crank up ISO to the maximum and reduce exposure time by four or five stops; you can nail the focus in literally a fraction of the time that way.
  3. If the intervalometer becomes cumbersome to program, a regular remote release and burst mode is a good alternative. Of course you won't be able to let the sensor rest and cool between captures, but if ambient temperatures are low, it is a viable option.
  4. Speaking of ambient temperatures, as they drop, condensation can be a factor on the front element. Some time ago, I purchased a warming strap with velcro material that can be wrapped around the lens barrel. It is powered via a USB cable, so portable battery, such as the kind used to recharge smart phones is sufficient to run it for a couple hours. It is very rare that I have needed it, but there have been occasions when it really helped.
 

Butlerkid

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Well I promised to post some notes about my workflow from my planned Milky Way shoot during the wee hours of Sunday morning. The plan was to scout the location in Eldorado National Forest by daylight on Saturday then return after moonset and spend a couple hours before dawn enjoying the view and photographing the core of the Milky Way as it rose. But the last day of winter had something to contribute to my plan. Most of the drive was uneventful but the last few miles before reaching the planned location looked like this:
View attachment 1680948
During daylight, with temperatures above freezing, I still pressed on to see the spot I had in mind for my nightscape. This location takes in the eastern horizon, where the core rises this time of year, and there are no foreground trees obstructing the view.
View attachment 1680950
With not a single snowplow or guardrail anywhere in sight and the temperature falling, I figured the risk of negotiating the twists and turns to return after nightfall seemed unreasonable. Still, it was a pleasant afternoon of enjoying the outdoors. The scouting and planning effort will endure until the right day comes along.

Since a couple people did seem interested, I did recall a few techniques that I've used in the past and don't seem to have been mentioned so far in this thread:
  1. If you are going back to your car/tent/camper while your camera is getting exposures, it can be hard to find in the dark. A small LED light or glow-in-the-dark material positioned on the rear leg of the tripod and facing aft from the camera is a big help.
  2. To achieve critical focus by reviewing test exposures, as Kevin has suggested, there is no need to use long exposures. Just crank up ISO to the maximum and reduce exposure time by four or five stops; you can nail the focus in literally a fraction of the time that way.
  3. If the intervalometer becomes cumbersome to program, a regular remote release and burst mode is a good alternative. Of course you won't be able to let the sensor rest and cool between captures, but if ambient temperatures are low, it is a viable option.
  4. Speaking of ambient temperatures, as they drop, condensation can be a factor on the front element. Some time ago, I purchased a warming strap with velcro material that can be wrapped around the lens barrel. It is powered via a USB cable, so portable battery, such as the kind used to recharge smart phones is sufficient to run it for a couple hours. It is very rare that I have needed it, but there have been occasions when it really helped.
That first photo is BEAUTIFUL! I might be tempted to take that shot.....then get sleep during the night and forgo the night sky! I do NOT think I'm a natural at night photography........:eek: :oops:
 
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  1. Speaking of ambient temperatures, as they drop, condensation can be a factor on the front element. Some time ago, I purchased a warming strap with velcro material that can be wrapped around the lens barrel. It is powered via a USB cable, so portable battery, such as the kind used to recharge smart phones is sufficient to run it for a couple hours. It is very rare that I have needed it, but there have been occasions when it really helped.

I have a couple off these I use - one around my 8 inch telescope and another for my nikon lens. I don't use in cold weather but if dew is forming then they can save you. Kendrick in Canada make the ones I use.
 
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I might be tempted to take that shot.....then get sleep during the night and forgo the night sky!
You're so right - I should have just worked that scene during the day rather than lament the lack of a Milky Way opportunity later.
 

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