LCP Photo Challenge: Water

In response to Leanne Coles’s Photo Challenge 3 – WATER. You can find all my entries in the LCP Photo Challenge category.

Jupiter Moons with a Smartphone and Binoculars

Jupiter and three of the moons (Ganymede, Europa, and Callisto) captured with a smartphone and binoculars. Io is too close to Jupiter to be visible. Also, the double star Alpha Librae (also known as Zubenelgenubi) is visible on the bottom right.

The Moon with a Smartphone and Binoculars

Waxing gibbous moon on 25.05.2018

Since I was not able to get a better quality shot of the moon with my current camera and objective, I tried using binoculars and a smartphone instead. Finding the right settings and focusing were much easier since the moon appeared larger on the screen, but working with the phone was quite uncomfortable since I had to use the tripod and the display was pointing downwards.

The first image is stacked from a one-minute video with 1888 frames. I used PIPP to crop and the frames and Affinity Photo to stack and post process. The video’s resolution is much less than E-PL7 sensor’s, and the moon does not appear much larger, but more details are visible.

The second image is a stack from four JPEGs (1/1000 sec. f/1.7 4.2 mm ISO 50 B) and was processed like the video. Unfortunately, I did not have enough time capture more frames, and I had to add extra noise reduction in Affinity Photo. The moon is more prominent since the resolution is better, but the image quality is not better due to the small number of frames. I will try a different photo application, with better options for taking a series of photos, in the future.

The third image is a one taken with PEN E-PL7 and 45 mm objective for comparison. The photos taken with smartphone and binoculars show a clear, and I hope that I can get even better quality by switching to RAW and having a decent amount of frames to stack.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Rise/Set


In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Rise/Set”. You can find all my photo challenge entries in the Weekly Photo Challenge category.

The Pleiades captured with binoculars and a smartphone

Recently, I got an itch to buy a telescope, and after some research, I wanted to get a rich field refractor like Skywatcher 102/500 StarTravel. However, I decided to start with 10×50 binoculars due to lower price and portability. I live in a city and dragging a telescope and mount around in public transportation could kill the interest in the hobby quickly.

The current weather is not well suited for stargazing, and so far there has been only one clear evening after I got the binoculars. Light pollution was a smaller problem than I anticipated, but bright lights at eye level make it hard for the eyes to adjust appropriately.

I had not much time to prepare for my first observation and just went to a nearby plaza to look at whatever was visible at the time. The moon was almost full, and
the Pleiades were visible and I tried to do some astrophotography by putting the binoculars on a tripod and attaching my smartphone to the ocular.

Capturing the moon did not go too well. I was not able to get exposure and focus just right. With the Pleiades, I had better luck and the result – along with a reference view from Stellarium – can be seen in the gallery above. I also tried to fill in the names of the stars. Hopefully, I did not make too many mistakes.

I prepared to final image from five one second ISO 800 exposures with Samsung Galaxy S7 edge (f/1.7 4.2 mm). I used AutoStakkert 3 to stack the images and edited in Affinity Photo. The quality of the result is not very good, but there are quite a few stars visible along with colour.

I am now waiting for good weather to get a second round of astrophotography. I am better-prepared setup my smartphone for astrophotography, and I also plan to try using my Olympus PEN mirrorless system camera.