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Jörn Reppenhagen

Astrophotography - ideas, suggestions, hints collection

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Hi there, Affinitists! :)

I do some astrophotography (deep sky objects, not milky way) somewhere between bloody beginner and intermediate level, would love to use Affinity for most if not all tasks except taking the photos.

Now Affinity is no specialized tool for astrophotography purposes, I am quite aware of that fact, so my expectations don't go ballistic.

I experimented a bit during the last days, things like stacking, stretching, and all that other tasks all around processing - but found myself reverting to Deep Sky Stacker for stacking; and surprisingly using Luminar for further processing. I just got the better results using that combination. But I am a bloody Affinity noob - thus I might just have overlooked some vital features.

Thus I wish to collect some opinions, hints, suggestions for Affinity use with AP challenges; and of course also consolidate feature suggestions.
I guess that's better than just flooding the respective threads with streams of thoughtless suggestions.

First suggestion: Gradient removal tool/filter. I know there's a plugin for PS, GradientXTerminator, also found a feature in Luminar (Remove Color Cast) doing quite a good job; at least sometimes. But I didn't find anything similar in AP; did I just overlook it?

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Maybe look at the Dehaze tool to see if that has any affect?


iMac 27" Late 2015 Fully Loaded, iMac 27" Mid 2011 both running High Sierra 10.13.6 - Affinity Designer/Photo, Publisher Beta 1.7.0.140, Illustrator CC, Inkscape, Blender, Sketchup, Pepakura Designer, MTC, Pixelmator & Pixelmator Pro + more... XP-Pen Artist-22E, - iPad Pro 12.9 B|  

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If you enter Astrophotography into the search box, you will get a good number of threads dealing with this. I have even contributed to some of them myself despite not being an astrophotographer.

John


Windows 10, Affinity Photo 1.7 and Designer 1.7, (mainly Photo), now ex-Adobe CC

CPU: AMD A6-3670. RAM: 16 GB DDR3 @ 666MHz, Graphics: 2047MB NVIDIA GeForce GT 630

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Oops! Didn't even notice this thread got replies. At least till now. :)

Thank you for your hints - but unfortunately it does not help.

firstdefence: The Dehaze tool does not remove a gradient. :|
Lee D: This is indeed a real helpful video (as most works of James "the voice" Ritson) are, but also does not deal with gradients. I also liked his amazing video about pin sharp stars.
John: I did, several times before opening this thread. :) By the way: You really should try astrophotography; it's one of that hobbies which really conjure a big fat smile on your face. Which sometimes even replaces the memories of the previous hours when you pondered about shattering all your equipment into pieces. :D
I also wrote a little poem about that hours in the dark. Unfortunately, it's very German, so I fear you cannot really enjoy it. But you never know ...

Doch manchmal am Abend vergess ich die Welt,
erhebe die Augen zum himmlischen Zelt,
schau Sterne, den Mond, die Planeten, das Licht,
in weiteste Fernen reicht dann meine Sicht.
Nah wie der Tisch scheint die funkelnde Pracht,
undenklich fern in unendlicher Nacht.
Ich schaue so weit, ich schaue das Sein,
das All und die Schöpfung und fühle mich klein.
Ganz klein im Anblick der Unendlichkeit,
ganz klein im endlosen Raum und der Zeit,
ganz klein unter dem, was die Schöpfung erfüllt,
ganz groß, weil es sich meinem Auge enthüllt.

Erm ... Back to topic. :D
I guess I should explain the term "gradient" in the light of astrophotography a bit.

Gradients are discolorations and brightness variations (similar to vignetting) often caused by light pollution (usually giving them an ugly yellowish color) and the special characteristics of the telescope/additional lenses/camera combination, often caused or increased by irregular sensor illumination.
There are means ("flat frames") for reducing that "picture pollution", but these sometimes are just impractical. Thus a software-based solution often is the key.

I'll show you the ugly face of a gradient.

First picture (lunatic settings for highlighting the problem) clearly shows the culprit.Gradient.jpg


Second picture appears to be a bit better. (That picture got just about 14 minutes of exposition, thus the quality is still very low.)
That gradient seems to be almost gone - but at the same time the fainter stars and masses of details also waved farewell.
Just note the nebular object in the upper left, the "running man" nebula. Almost gone; and not really for good.
Gradient2.jpg

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3 hours ago, Jörn Reppenhagen said:

By the way: You really should try astrophotography; it's one of that hobbies which really conjure a big fat smile on your face.

I was all set to react, when you wrote

3 hours ago, Jörn Reppenhagen said:

Which sometimes even replaces the memories of the previous hours when you pondered about shattering all your equipment into pieces.

Best stick to a Scotch mount - cheap and easily replaced!  I've no experience of processing deep sky images, but I've found working in LAB makes a huge difference to my Milky Way shots.


AP user, running Win10

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Haha, IanSG ! :D

To start with astrophotography, you need to stash away about 3000 to 4000 Euros clandestinely from the control of your spouse or bank.
Advertizing tells you slightly different things. "300 Euros for this brilliant telescope including sturdy mount of the professional grade - and you're all set."

Accompanied with various photos taken by the Hubble telescope, of course.
You're indeed set. For a heart attack after having a look at your first pictures.

Typical novice
dialogue in expert forums:

Me: I've got [SUPERPRO-EXPERT-ALL-IN-ONE-PACKAGE] for 300 Euros. Can't get into focus.
They: [facepalm] Throw away that sh... Buy a real telescope. Everybody knows that. Except you.
300 Euros plus.

Me: Got the real scope. Can't see much in the pictures.
Theys: [facepalm] Buy a larger scope. Everybody knows that. Except you.
500 Euros plus.

Me: Got the larger scope. Mount does not hold it, always tips over. Makes funny crunching and grinding sounds. I guess that's normal?
They: [facepalm] Forget that sh... mount. Buy a real one. Everybody knows that. Except you.
1500 Euros plus. Should have tried the Scotch mount.

Me: Got that real mount, bank is after me. Can expose up to 30 seconds. After that, stars become lines.
They: [facepalm] Two options: Buy a pro mount for just 15.000 Euros. Or buy an autoguider. Everybody knows that. Except you.
800 Euros plus for the autoguider, 150 Euros plus for the smaller scope the autoguider needs.

Me: Got the autoguider. Can expose for centuries. But stars outside the picture's center get blurred, look like comets.
They: [facepalm] You need a coma corrector, stupid! Everybody knows that. Except you.
200 Euros plus.

And so on ... :D
It's an endless story. But at least you've got something to do and to burst out in tears about after having a shy look at your bank statement.
But it still is a real fascinating hobby. Nothing compares to freezing four hours in the backyard protecting the blinking and whirring, that way shouting "steal me!" equipment from theft. Shotguns get pretty cold in winter.

I'll have a look into the LAB thing.
And will try my first milky way pictures as soon as the eternal German rain (you can tell the seasons by the rain's temperature, only) starts to fade.

Thank you. :)

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52 minutes ago, Jörn Reppenhagen said:

To start with astrophotography, you need to stash away about 3000 to 4000 Euros

A friend of mine does most of her astrophotography with a 175mm Starfire on a Software Bisque Paramount in one of her three (3) observatories!!!  The accesories are similarly high end.  But then she's not married!  There are times I wonder....:)


AP user, running Win10

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Hi Jorn

I started up an astrophotography thread about a year ago when I began deep sky imaging. I haven't been active for some time. Now winter is here where I have cranked up the gear again and hopped back onto these forums to garner more information re AP and Astro.

I have found that dedicated software ie DSS gets better quality stacks so I use that all the time. However Ive also found that Affinity can stitch them in a panorama (without the drama) better than PTGui (tho that might be my inexperience more than anything else) I did 6.3 hrs imaging to create 19 stacks which AP managed in a few seconds!! PTGui couldn't do it. For some reason it won't let me upload to my thread.

I only have Affinity for post Editing. All of it has been trial and error and working on suggestions made by members two of whom have commented here. I have developed absolutely NO work flow (post edit) and I wing it with each set of images i do.

So I'm reading your thread and I think I now have an understanding of gradient - cheers! I have found that the more you edit an image the worse its gets. I'll be following

Cheers again - Clear Skies

Dion

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