My Astrophotography Equipment

Because several has asked, here is my current equipment.

Camera Bodies

I currently own a Canon 6D and a modified Canon T3i. The 6D is my main camera for most things I shoot. It is full-frame and is the most affordable full-frame DSLR that I am aware of. For astrophotography I mostly use it for wide-field shots. Here is an example with the 6D.

milkyway

Milky Way over North Georgia

The T3i for shooting deep-sky objects as it has a modified sensor that makes it more sensitive to hydrogen-alpha light. Objects like the Orion Nebula really pop with this camera. It also does a really good job with daytime shots, but it is a crop-sensor camera. I primarily use this camera with some kind of tracking when I want to shoot long exposures of nebulae, galaxies, and star clusters. Here is an example taken with the T3i.

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North American Nebula

Lenses

  • Bower 14mm f/2.8 manual focus lens
  • Rokinon 8mm f/3.5 fisheye manual focus lens
  • Canon 24-105mm f/4
  • Canon 40mm f/2.8 pancake lens
  • Canon 50mm f/1.4
  • Canon 135mm f/2
  • Tamron 150-600mm

Telescopes

  • Williams Optics 102mm APO Refractor
  • Celestron 9.25″ Schmidt-Cassegrain
  • Orion Short Tube 80mm Refractor
  • Celestron 90mm spotting scope

Mounts

  • Orion Sirius EQ
  • Vixen Polarie
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Summer is almost over. Thank goodness!!

Summertime is a weird time for astronomers. We love the objects in the sky, especially the Milky Way and wide variety of Messier objects we can find in or near it. But the downside is the weather. Lots of rain, and even when it doesn’t rain it gets very muggy and dew becomes a big problem. We only get a few dry days during the summer when viewing conditions are optimal, so we try to take advantage of those precious nights. Here are a few shots I was able to get this past summer.

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Summer Milky Way

Eagle Nebula

Eagle Nebula

lagoon

Lagoon Nebula

crater

Copernicus Lunar Crater

comet

Comet C/2014 E2 Jacques

cygnus

Cygnus Region. North America Nebula at bottom-left.

A New Project for Different Lenses

I’m doing a new photo project, which will also help with getting some really good exercise. I’m going to hike up and down Kennesaw Mountain several more times over the next few weeks, and I’ll be taking my Canon 6D with a different lens with me each time and only shooting with that lens. This past Monday I shot with my 24-105mm zoom lens, which allows for wide angle and medium telephoto shots. Here are a few photos from that shoot.

On Thursday, I took my 200mm prime lens, which offers more magnification but no wide angle options. It’s interesting to see how being forced to use a different lens makes you think differently about the shots you take. Here are some shots from Thursday.

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My First Visit to the Tennessee Aquarium

I had a great time visiting the Tennessee Aquarium today. I had heard nothing but great things about it, and it did not disappoint. Of course I took a camera, and I decided to take my Olympus E-M5. It’s a small mirrorless camera and I’ve been using it a lot lately. It’s also a micro four thirds camera, and it has a 2x crop factor. So if I use a 20mm lens, it’s really like using a 40mm lens.

Here is a link to the entire set of photos from the visit.

Photographing an aquarium is not easy. You have to deal with a wide variety of lighting conditions. Some of the exhibits were in rather dark rooms, while others were like being outside. Also, since you’re looking through a lot of glass you will often have to deal with light reflections.

For this outing, I only used two lenses. One was my 20mm f/1.7 pancake lens. It’s really small and the large aperture makes for good shooting in dark conditions. The other lens was a 12-50mm zoom. The aperture isn’t very large, but in the brighter exhibits I was able to zoom in tighter than I could with the 20mm.

Here are a few of my favorite shots.