ASTRO and LIGHT PAINTING
I always love a challenge! And the best challenges for me are when it involves learning something completely new. This time it was around astro photography, or photographing the night sky to capture the starry night. There was a conversation in a group I belong to about the suitability of Micro 4/3 cameras for shooting astro. The cameras I photograph with are Micro 4/3 (Micro 4/3 is reference to the size of the sensor) so of course I saw this as an opportunity learn something, and help to answer the question.
I am also an Olympus Visionary, so am tasked with pushing boundaries. And I can tell you that this weekend away certainly did that for me, the gear and my clothing, it was COLD!
The new moon was last weekend, and I immediately booked the ferry to get across to my favourite local location, the Remarkable Rocks on Kangaroo Island here in South Australia. Below is a short video about the experience, and then a selection of images. Enjoy.
IMAGE GALLERY AT BOTTOM OF PAGE
I was really happy with the results I achieved. I know there are folks who dedicate a lot of time focusing to astro and could no doubt improve vastly on this set, but for a newbie to the genre I was stoked.
The Olympus EM1mk2 performed beautifully paired with the 17mm F1.2 Pro Lens. The lens just gobbled up light, it was amazing! Obviously that wide open, it was tricky getting, and keeping everything in focus, but once I got my head around that, it was a breeze. Having the width of the 7-14 F2.8 Pro was certainly amazing, but required a bit more attention to get the same amount of light. It was, as always, amazing to use.
So what have I learned from the weekend, and can I answer the question that started the whole trip, "is a Micro 4/3 camera suitable for astro photography?"
I truly believe with all photography, that the first person that must enjoy the image is you. Did you enjoy the process of creating it, the journey? Did you learn something, grow as a photographer? Then if you are trying to please others, is your image a wow! image? Will people look at it and initially be blown away? When I look at the images below, I think I have achieved a few of those things. I didn't just point the camera at the sky and capture the stars, I tried to get something else in the image, the rocks, to give some sense of place and scale.
Are the images technically good? I think so. I could not believe the amount of starlight I was getting. Every time I looked at the back of the camera I was in awe. Someone asked the question after I posted one of these online, "how was the noise at iso1600?". Well, I was amazed. I don't really look at, or think about noise. I passionately believe that if someone is using the word noise when either asking about an image, or considering it when looking at the image, they don't really care about the actual image.
If you see noise in any of the images above, thats fine, because without noise, we would not have an image, it is as simple as that. If you are thinking about that when looking at my images, then the image is not good enough, because you should not be able to see past the WOW!
I learned a lot, and had a massive amount of fun. I am a newbie to astro and really look forward to having another go, and getting better at it.
I hope you had fun.
Here are links to all the gear and tools used in the video:
- Olympus EM1mk2
- Olympus 17mm F1.2 Pro lens
- Olympus 7-14 F1.2 Pro Lens
- The Ball of Light Tool
- Arclight Blades
- Klarus XT11s Torch
- Black Fibre Optic Brush