May 22, 2022

Eric Baker Gets Us Starry-Eyed with His Colorful Stellar Photos

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We frequently presume just the very best, latest equipment can get us superior outcomes for night photography. Many people like myself prevented crop sensing unit electronic cameras even for this factor. Eric Baker shows you can make excellent images even with main video cameras if you understand what youre doing.

“Im constantly excited to head out,” says Connecticut-based astrophotographer Eric Baker about his passion for night pictures. He proves equipment isnt necessarily a barrier to taking good images. A few of his most remarkable night photos have actually been caught with an entry-level Canon Rebel T2i, and he informs us how hes attained this.

The Essential Photo Gear Used by Eric Baker

Eric told us:

Eric Baker: Hi, my name is Eric. My first video camera was a 110 when I was only a few years old. A lot of PBS, science, design rockets, walks in the woods, and gazing at the night sky.

The Phoblographer: Please tell us about yourself and how you got into photography.

The Phoblographer: What was your journey to astrophotography like? What prompted you to point your lens at the starry skies?

Eric Baker: I didnt think of astrophotography until 2019. I was out in Wyoming a year earlier, and this man had a telescope showing onto a laptop screen the most remarkable live image of Jupiter. I really took some astronomy classes in college (numerous, several years earlier), where we had the opportunity to utilize the observatory on campus. I was amazed at what this amateur might see relative to what I kept in mind at the observatory. I informed my partner I desired a telescope for Xmas, and it progressed very quickly from there.

The Phoblographer: What cam gear do you count on for your astrophotography work?

Eric Baker: For planetary, my processing normally consists of tidying up the video files in pip and after that using Autostakkert or Registax for stacking. Then I usually use Lightroom for post-processing/cleanup. For nebula, I use Pixinsight for stacking and some processing (color balancing, cropping, noise reduction, etc) and after that Lightroom for additional color enhancement and noise reduction.Some of the usual things I do is some star decrease to pop the structure, rise saturation and contrast and even utilize some targeted masking to pop or minimize artifacts out detail I wish to highlight.

The Phoblographer: There are most likely numerous technical obstacles in this field; what are a few of the common ones you deal with during your nights out?

The Phoblographer: Most astrophotographers begin out shooting the Orion Nebula. What was your first astrophotography effort?

Eric Baker: Usually, if I do not get everything on a good glide path after an hour (for whatever factor), Ill pack it up. When I prepare to be out but cant be, Ill often use the time to recall and maybe reprocess old data.

The Phoblographer: Aside from the complex method of getting direct exposures for astrophotography, there is most likely a fair bit of post-processing required. What are your preferred strategies to make your images more stellar?

The Phoblographer: All nights cant be the same. What do you do on night outs when the skies dont comply? How do you recuperate and refresh for the next shoot?

Eric Baker: My first target was Mars. At first, I was not using a Barlow lens and I was utilizing my alt/az install with limited tracking capability.

The Phoblographer: The Canon T2i Rebel isnt the very first video camera I d think about for astrophotography. When you began with it, were you uncertain about the kind of outcomes you would accomplish?

Eric Baker: Actually, the Rebel T2i is a desired camera body for planetary imaging offered its special high frame rate 640 × 480 crop video mode with a 1:1 pixel resolution. This suggests that there is no resampling of what you are catching, which is perfect for your exposure and makes it a terrific candidate for lazy imaging where you take high frame rate video and use software such as AutoStakkert! to stack the video frames to separate the information (more details here).

Eric Baker: My setup today includes a Celestron CGEMII equatorial install holding a whole mess of stuff. I either mount everything at the same time using a T-bar so I can have two scopes at as soon as or individually. For nebula and larger targets, I utilize a Meade 80mm triplet APO with a Hotech field flattener connected to a Canon Ra I acquired last summertime. For alignment of the install, I utilize Celestron star sense (which aligns using some expensive plate fixing and conserves a great deal of time). For directing, I utilize a ZWO mini guide scope with an ASI462mc astro web cam. I utilize a ZWO EAF focuser.

Whatever on the planetary setup is connected to the mini PC, and I likewise utilize the exact same positioning and directing approach. I frequently use a 2x Barlow lens on the planetary setup.

Eric Baker: Everything wants to mess up your image. Temperature level differentials can cloud up optics, dew can be a real problem, and you have to be wise about what you insulate; often, you have to let equipment acclimate after bringing it out of the house. (rather within your control), a great polar alignment if an EQ install is crucial, and the further off you are, the more minimal you will be in your captures.

The Phoblographer: Does it get tiring at times? Or is there always some excitement and anticipation for you?

The Phoblographer: With video camera tech advancing every day and sensing units improving and much better at low light, how can astrophotographers assist make their work stick out from their peers?

I either install everything at when utilizing a T-bar so I can have two scopes at once or independently. For alignment of the install, I use Celestron star sense (which aligns using some fancy plate fixing and conserves a lot of time). Eric Baker: For planetary, my processing normally consists of cleaning up the video files in pip and then utilizing Autostakkert or Registax for stacking. For nebula, I use Pixinsight for stacking and some processing (color balancing, cropping, noise reduction, and so on) and then Lightroom for extra color improvement and sound reduction.Some of the usual things I do is some star decrease to pop the structure, push up saturation and contrast and even use some targeted masking to pop or reduce artifacts out information I desire to highlight.

At initially, I was not using a Barlow lens and I was using my alt/az install with limited tracking ability.

The Phoblographer: Have you caught any rare phenomena on a shoot? Tell us which one was your most unforgettable.

Eric Baker: Nothing rare per se. I think one of the coolest things that took place is that I mistakenly caught an image of the Orion nebula through the trees.

All images by Eric Baker. Used with permission. Take a look at his Facebook and Reddit pages to see more of his work..

Eric Baker: Im constantly thrilled to go out. Every image that comes through is just as remarkable as the one before it, so I wouldnt state I ever get bored.

Eric Baker: It is fantastic how fast things are advancing– however I think its truly a benefit for everybody. Although its getting easier and more accessible, I think the work that stands out will constantly be a function of the artists individual eye, structure, and creativity.