Astrocinemagraphy (not a real term)

AAT cinemagraphHere, I just had a stab at making a cinemagraph of the Anglo-Australian Telescope (AAT) using frames from colleague Ángel R. López-Sánchez‘ excellent time-lapse movie “A 2dF night at the Anglo-Australian Telescope”.  Ángel is an astrophysicist at the Australian Astronomical Observatory (AAO) and spends a lot of time using the AAT for his research.

As for the image, I made it with Adobe After Effects.

Aligning sun images using Python

Sun RAW frame collage

Fix it in post. It’s a common phrase in photography and one which is widely recognised as landing you in hot water if you’re not careful. Fix it in post-production, fix it after the fact. “Hm, I’ll just fix that in post.”

Well when I spent a day taking a few hundred photos of Venus crossing the sun last year with the intention of creating a time-lapse but without a tracking system, “fix it post” was my mantra by necessity. For 7 hours I followed the sun across the sky just by nudging my camera mount this way or that. As a result the sun was in a different place in every photo. The fact I wasn’t standing on the equator at the time meant it rotated too. Continue reading

Transit of Venus 2012 time-lapse

Venus passed in front of the sun on 6th June 2012, and all the while I was happily photographing it from tropical North Queensland.  Here is the time-lapse of all the photos I took throughout the day.  The music is by Kevin Macleod – thanks Kevin! Continue reading

Graphically verifying time-lapse intervals using ExifTool (and Excel)

Timestamp plot - annotated

Here’s a quick and easy way to check time-lapse intervals using a combination of ExifTool, (a great command-line application for reading and writing image EXIF data) and a program such as Excel to process and plot the data. Continue reading

Canon 5D Mark III astrophotography

The Bulge

“The Bulge”; Single exposure, ISO 5000, 24 mm, f/2.8, 20 sec

If anything shows off the low light capabilities of the 5D Mark III, it’s astrophotography. For me this doesn’t go any deeper than wide angle shots of the night sky, but luckily I got to try out the camera on some really dark nights at Siding Spring Observatory earlier this year. What strikes me about the 5DIII’s high ISO noise performance is how much colour and contrast detail you can retain. Bear in mind all these shots are at f/2.8.. if only I had a 1.4! Continue reading

Canon 5D Mark III built-in HDR mode

HDR sunset 1

Canon 5D Mk III HDR mode; ±3 EV; “Art Vivid” style

I thought I’d try out the in-camera High Dynamic Range (HDR) mode on my 5D Mk III during a recent trip. In this mode, the camera takes three different exposures and blends them together in order to capture a wider range of brightness levels in the scene.

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Photographing the Transit of Venus 2012

Transit of Venus 2012 sequence

The transit of Venus 2012: Six frames at equal intervals throughout the transit, starting here with second contact (top left), then along each row until third contact (bottom right). The sun is shown with its south pole at the top, and in sunny false colour of course :)

On 6 June 2012, Venus passed directly between Earth and the Sun. This ‘transit’ won’t happen again until 2117, so I’m happy that I got some photos of it! I was asked to write a few words on my experience for the August 2012 issue of the AAO Observer newsletter, so in lieu of rehashing the same story, here’s what I wrote for the article.

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