Newport State Park – Astrophotography

This is the moment I drove across the state for.  New camera lens, dark skies, clear weather.  Time to glimpse into outer space. (Reminder: Click each image for a larger full-screen view, best seen on a large PC monitor)

My first viewpoint was right on the beach at Europe Bay.  I saw more people here around midnight than I did during the daylight hours.  In any case, I spent a few hours here dialing in my camera & new lens and re-learning how to take photos again.  See that bright red “star” in the bottom left?  That is the planet Mars.  This is also the first image I have ever tried “stacking” on – 10 second exposures, 12 image stack using Sequator free software.  Plenty of room for improvement but I’m still learning. HUGE reduction in noise versus single exposure!

Now here’s where it would have been nice to know how my lens works.  Since it was so new, I was taking mostly 7 and 8 second exposures which I now know are too short.  This one was a happy little accident – 12 second exposure. More noise than stacking but aesthetically more pleasing in this instance.

Lastly is an example where stacking images doesn’t fix everything.  Took this series of 8 second exposures, yet the picture you see below is a single frame.  Why?  Notice the foreground of trees/leaves – if you use stacking, this muddles into a large blob.  Here again there is more noise but due to the foreground a single exposure is more pleasing to the eye.

I stayed up until the wee hours of the morning playing with the camera at which point I was too tired to hike 1 mile back to camp.  So instead I slept in my car at the parking lot (technically not allowed, don’t be like me).  This is why I had to hike back in & pick up the tent the next morning.  Horrible nights sleep but was worth it in my opinion for the chance to see the night skies.

Lat = 45.2373543 , Long = -86.9858856 -- Show at Google Maps

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