Thursday, April 04, 2019

readied for flyover (Bradford)

I settled into the backyard, well away from the house. Canon DSLR atop Mamiya tripod. ASUS netbook driving the Canon camera software for remote control shooting. Had the camera and lens preset to manual mode (so RAW format), ISO 100, f/5.6, with a 2 minute exposure.

I was joined by the bunnies again. Looking for carrots?

8:29 PM. I started test shooting. Discovered the white balance was wrong.

Examined the first shot. Accidentally closed the preview. The framing was OK. Dropped the ISO to 100. As low as I can go. But I knew it was early and I may well have to go to 200 or more. It was just over 30 minutes from the flyover...

I just remembered a lesson from before. You want to avoid really small apertures which can multi-pointed stars, from diffraction. I wasn't planning on changing the f-stop from 5.6.

8:34. Checked the latest image. Zoomed to 200%. I could see stars. But it seemed a teensie bit soft. Blinked the first and second image. I turned the focus ring about 0.5mm to the left or counter clockwise, from the back of the camera.

My Google calendar event alarm went off. 30 minutes out from the start. (John Repeat Dance was running 1 minute fast.)

8:38. Blinked the first three images. Focus looked worse. So I went clockwise 1mm. Heard the GO train rolling in.

8:43. I thought the focus looked good. Done! I reviewed the mental checklist. Framing was good. Exposure was OK (for now). Changed the ISO to 125.

A new photo appeared. It was nice! Pleasing colours.

8:46. Now at ISO 160. Told myself I was not going to open the lens wide. It would be soft. Battery level OK, still, but low.

Aside: I discovered inside there was no f/4 detent for the Rokinon lens. It went straight from 5.6 to 3.5. Huh. Didn't know that. Never noticed it before.

8:49. ISO 200. About 14 minutes to go.

notifications from Lume phone

Andromake beeped. Oh, an alert from the Heavens-Above app.

8:55. ISO 250 showed a somewhat bright sky. I decided to leave it now. I predicted the exposure would be appropriate as the sky darkened. 10 min to go.

Heard the woman next door with a dog. The canine, curious, ventured into backyard, hearing me, not seeing me. She coaxed it back.

8:57. I decided not to risk running on the low batteries. It would be maddening if the camera died half-way through the pass... I swapped in freshened cells into the battery grip. I waited for the Canon app to restart, ready to check the settings.

It was a hazy sky. No good for astronomy but fine for my project. Noted the Big Dipper, all stars visible. Could only get three stars of Ursa Minor. Auriga with bright Capella. The Gemini twins up high. Part of the Winter Hexagon.

I was happy to find all the camera settings retained. WB OK, ISO still 250, RAW of course. And now a full battery icon.

Made a note to shoot darks and flats.

I waited. Switched to the live view in Heavens-Above Android app. Noted the icon moving on app, glacial. Watched the north-west sky... Got it! Waited a few seconds for Space Station to clear the tree then starting the timer run with EOS Utility.

Sat back and enjoyed the view.

Just west of the Big Dipper, it was very neat when the ISS went over some cloud. Invisible to me but the station developed a halo.

Very happy that I finally caught the Space Station with a Canuck on board.

No comments: