This is easily the best astro shot I’ve managed to date. Taken using a combination of the cross filter and the new didymium / red enhancing filter which really draws out the nebulosity in Cygnus. The North America nebula, Pelican nebula and Butterfly nebula can all be seen in this 1000 second (10×100 seconds) exposure.
I’ll probably try the same shot again, but without using the cross filter. I think it can work well in single exposures, but Deep Sky Stacker has a hard time with multiple exposures, and the effect gets a bit too distracting.
Details: Nikon D7000, Nikkor 50mm/f1.8 at f4. 16 minutes 40 seconds (10 x 100 seconds) at iso 800. Using cross filter and didymium filter. Stacked with Deep Sky Stacker and tracked with barn door tracker.
A few days later I had a go at imaging the North America nebula with the Nikkor 18-105mm/f3.5-5.6 lens. I accidentally took the photos as 70mm, so there isn’t much difference to the 50mm; just a lot less light gathering power!
Details: Nikon D7000, Nikkor 18-105mm/f3.5-5.6 at 70mm and f5.2. 18 minutes (12 x 90 seconds) at iso 1600. Using didymium filter. Stacked with Deep Sky Stacker and tracked with barn door tracker.
Since purchasing the Nikkor 180 f2.8 lens I’ve had another go at the nebulosity in the Sadr region. I’ve been experimenting with ISO settings, taking this image at ISO 6400. However I think I’ll stick to lower ISOs in the future (1600 and below) as the results at higher ISOs begin to deteriorate.
Details: Nikon D7000, Nikkor 180mm f2.8 at f2.8. 7 minutes (14 x 30 seconds) at iso 6400. Using didymium filter. Stacked with Deep Sky Stacker and tracked with barn door tracker.
Rummaging through some old camera gear, I found a neglected looking cross filter from back in my old film camera days. I guess it’s more of a novelty effect filter, but I was intrigued as to what it might do to my star shots. It polished up nicely with a microfibre cloth, so I laid it on the 50mm lens (the filter size is way too small) and took a few shots straight upwards in the direction of Deneb.
I think the effect works well as long as there aren’t too many bright stars in the frame. Here’s another shot I took of Cassiopeia with several more bright stars, which perhaps gives it a slightly cheesy/tacky look. I think using a 4 cross filter instead of an 8 cross would improve the effect, but overall I like the result. The colours of the stars really stand out with the diffraction of the filter.
As an added bonus, the barn door tracker worked really well tonight, even with longer exposures the stars showed up as sharp pinpoints, without a hint of trailing.
Details: Nikon D7000, Nikkor 50mm/f1.8 at f3.5. Single 30 second exposure at iso 1000. Using cross filter and didymium filter. Tracked with barn door tracker.