Through the Looking Glass

Through the Looking Glass

Wrapping up June 2013

I had a good month of backyard imaging. Shot some RGB while the moon was still dark, and got to do some narrowband, too! I never shoot narrowband at CSAC because the New Moon cycle is "sacred" and I get most of my color during that time. I have three mounts; why am I not shooting NB at the same time? I think I need to look into this.


I plan on upgrading my narrowband filters soon. I purchase inexpensive Omega filters, and have artifacts, lines, uneven backgrounds, as well as not a lot of resolution. I need to upgrade the SII and OII to be on a par with the Custom Scientific 4.5nm Ha filter I picked up awhile back on AstroMart. Straton software has really streamlined the tonemapping process so I want to do more narrowband imaging! I am especially proud of the North American Nebula in HST palette from my backyard in June:





I have this one prepped to go to the printer soon! I have discovered with tonemapping, "Less is More". It is so easy to over-process the colors. I had to redo this image again and again, toning it down each time, to come up with a finished look like this. I have come up with a simple workflow to really make the tonemapping work.


Start with a simple mild DDP in CCDStack. Save the result as a scaled image. Do the same for Ha, SII, and OIII. No sharpening, stretching, etc. Open each file in Registar and register OII and SII to Ha. Now open all three in Straton and remove the stars. Follow the tonemapping work flow at Astro Anarchy at this point. Voila!


I am packing the truck for a week under the stars at CSAC starting July 5th. This time I will also be shooting some old school B/W 35mm film star trails with my Pentax Spotmatic, and maybe try some guided AP with it, too. I like to add new elements into the mix to keep from hitting the wall and burning out. I have several targets in Cass and Cepheus that I plan to capture in RGB. I can add the NB later from Abilene. Ideally, I will get the Bubble Nebula and Cederblad 214 (NGC7822) with the ED127, the Veil Nebula with the QHY8 and Pentax SLR lenses, and possibly more work in Sagittarius and Scorpius. I plan to stay busy!




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