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  • Lightning last night. I've spent four days at the Argyle diamond mine, had high hopes for lightning, as is normal for this time of the year. Finally had some last night. The colours were very red--not long after sunset, and a long red afterglow that really persisted





    " Lightly Seared On The Reality Grill"

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    • Probably should ask on a photography forum, but what the hell. On photo's like that, how do you set the focus ? When I've wanted pics at dark, I've set the camera on a tripod during the daylight hours, manually focused on the sky and then waited for it to get dark. Wondering if there's a smarter way that I'm missing ?

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      • it's pretty easy, really. Find out where your sharpest Infinity focus is. I would recommend zooming in (assuming you are fnding a zoom lens) on a distant cloud, get the sharpest point, mark it on your lens. And make sure you keep it there, easy to move it off when you are moving the camera or changing focal lengths, I've ruined a good shoot like that. keep a headlamp with you. i generally just set , once it is competely dark, at ISO200, f5.6, and 20 sec exposure. generally no problems using 30 secs, except you will likely get more cloud blurring.
        To me, the hardest part of the whole thing is discipline in deciding exactly where you are going to point it, and at what focal length. A really focussed cell isn't so hard, but, when it's scattered, you have to make a choice. I normally use an 18-125mm Sigma zoom, and usually settle round 35 mm. 18mm is just too wide, unless it is right on top of you. Try and zoom in too tightly, and you can guarantee it will be brilliant half out of frame. better to go a little wide and crop.
        Having built-in Interval shooting ability is very useful, I just set for Minimum interval so it is pretty continuous. Otherwise, you'll need a remote to open the shutter as soon as you hear it close.

        This is a folder of my lightning work. The first 4, IIRC, were just snapping with a point and shoot. After that, all DSLR, and getting better as I sharpened the technique.
        Enjoy
        https://ranmar.smugmug.com/Lightning/
        " Lightly Seared On The Reality Grill"

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        • Some very impressive shots in there! Well done!
          Trying to think of a wise and sincere signature quote, but the only words that leap to mind are, "TITTY SPRINKLES"

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          • First Milky way attempt with the new 14mm f1.4 Samyang. This was actually just a trial shot, for composition, so I casually dialled up ISO 25,600 at f1.4, for 10 seconds. I'd made to sure to buy it before I went to NZ , hoping for clear summers nights. What I got , at night at least, was overcast. Until the last night, just two days ago. You have to wait until at least 10.30 for darkness at Christchurch, this time of year, due to being so far south and daylight saving. But then fog started to roll in, and the lens fogged over, so that was it.
            The original shot was very over-exposed, but PP in Lightroom bought it back. there was a large amount of noise, naturally, particularly colour noise. I'm not saying that thisis a great shot, just amazed that anything shot at ISO 25,600 is actually half-useable

            " Lightly Seared On The Reality Grill"

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            • wow nice must be a super expensive lens as I din't realise samyang did a 14mm f/1.4!

              cool stuff ! what body is it mounted on pushing 25k iso?

              Originally posted by ranmar850 View Post
              First Milky way attempt with the new 14mm f1.4 Samyang. This was actually just a trial shot, for composition, so I casually dialled up ISO 25,600 at f1.4, for 10 seconds. I'd made to sure to buy it before I went to NZ , hoping for clear summers nights. What I got , at night at least, was overcast. Until the last night, just two days ago. You have to wait until at least 10.30 for darkness at Christchurch, this time of year, due to being so far south and daylight saving. But then fog started to roll in, and the lens fogged over, so that was it.
              The original shot was very over-exposed, but PP in Lightroom bought it back. there was a large amount of noise, naturally, particularly colour noise. I'm not saying that thisis a great shot, just amazed that anything shot at ISO 25,600 is actually half-useable

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              • The lens is actually vey cheap, compared to most wide angle primes. It is a totally manual lens, rated very highly for its optics, but as I bought it for mainly night work, and some timelapses, auto focus is of no use anyway. I got it from HK for under A$400 delivered, Australian prices can be up to around $700. The camera body is my trusty Pentax K-x, punches well above its weight for a mid-range camera.
                " Lightly Seared On The Reality Grill"

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                • This is one I got in Sandy Cape while camping for New Years


                  Haven't done any PP yet, this is just the straight JPG. Was really just playing with it trying to get focus right, finding the right. Still needs more work, but for a first go it was fun to play with.

                  D7100 + Sigma 18-35 F1.8

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                  • Also I came across this for a good list of lenses when doing astro shots. Lots of options, and don't have to break the bank with some of the Rokinon/Samyang gear.

                    https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets...A43ecJcuS0nCJ0

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                    • Originally posted by ranmar850 View Post
                      The lens is actually vey cheap, compared to most wide angle primes. It is a totally manual lens, rated very highly for its optics, but as I bought it for mainly night work, and some timelapses, auto focus is of no use anyway. I got it from HK for under A$400 delivered, Australian prices can be up to around $700. The camera body is my trusty Pentax K-x, punches well above its weight for a mid-range camera.
                      Do you have a linky for where you purchased? I get too much coma aberration from my 16-35 Canon lens to be completely happy with results and I keep hearing good things about the Samyang/Rokinons. What is it like at the edges for stars?

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                      • Originally posted by claymen View Post
                        This is one I got in Sandy Cape while camping for New Years


                        Haven't done any PP yet, this is just the straight JPG. Was really just playing with it trying to get focus right, finding the right. Still needs more work, but for a first go it was fun to play with.

                        D7100 + Sigma 18-35 F1.8
                        PP is where it's at for night sky shots. As long as you have a decent sensor, and of course, do your best with exposure to start with, enormous gains can be made under PP. ifthat is just the jpeg, with no PP, the edited result could be very good.
                        " Lightly Seared On The Reality Grill"

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                        • Originally posted by Skut View Post
                          Do you have a linky for where you purchased? I get too much coma aberration from my 16-35 Canon lens to be completely happy with results and I keep hearing good things about the Samyang/Rokinons. What is it like at the edges for stars?
                          I read some detailed reviews before settling on the Samyang. It rated very highly for lack of distortion in the corners with stars. One review gave actual magnified examples vs another big name, more expensive lens, and it stacked up very well indeed.
                          Link to ebay seller https://www.ebay.com.au/itm/Samyang-...72.m2749.l2649
                          " Lightly Seared On The Reality Grill"

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                          • Sorry, correction on that lens, its a f2.8. Full model # is Samyang 14mm f2.8 ED AS IF UMC
                            " Lightly Seared On The Reality Grill"

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                            • Originally posted by ranmar850 View Post
                              Sorry, correction on that lens, its a f2.8. Full model # is Samyang 14mm f2.8 ED AS IF UMC
                              Ahh yes that makes sense, I had thought you were referring to the Sigma 14mm as that is an astro killer at f/1.8! I believe it is the current benchmark for UWA astro primes.

                              Re best lens for coma at a budget, a lot of pano astro-ers swear by the Samyang 24mm f1.4

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                              • Originally posted by Tron View Post
                                Ahh yes that makes sense, I had thought you were referring to the Sigma 14mm as that is an astro killer at f/1.8! I believe it is the current benchmark for UWA astro primes.

                                Re best lens for coma at a budget, a lot of pano astro-ers swear by the Samyang 24mm f1.4
                                Yer the Sigma would make for a mint lens, but then articles like this make me think a tracker could be an even better option https://petapixel.com/2017/07/19/don...os-less-money/

                                So rather than running the shutter for longer, use tracking to mitigate the star trails.

                                The Rokinon plus the tracker would be a pretty cool combo. Makes me wonder how a Tokina 11-16mm F2.8 plus a tracker could work... then again need to look at the coma etc on that (haven't checked off hand).

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