This week’s video covers the topic of image stacking, including how to use it in order to take high-quality astrophotographs without any special camera equipment.
If you’ve ever wanted to photograph the Andromeda Galaxy, Orion Nebula, Pleiades, or any other deep-sky subject – but you don’t have an expensive astro tracking head – this is the technique you should use. (Of course, you can also combine image stacking with an astro tracker, and it gets you even better image quality; this is a very versatile technique.)
Even if you don’t want to do deep-sky astrophotography, but simply regular wide-angle Milky Way shots with a foreground, you’ll also find image stacking to be quite valuable.
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Thank you for this video!
I am new to astrophotography and I am looking for some guidance on eyepiece projection using a canon eos rebel t7. I am hoping you might have some ideas of where to look for this information. I have tried google and I am not finding a “beginner” enough starting out video.
I am a teacher in California and I am starting a astronomy club to hopefully bring some excitement to my distance learning classes. I recently purchased an explorer scientific 127 mm apochromatic refractor with a goto equatorial mount and I am hoping to take some nice enough pictures to get the students interested.
All my best and thank you for any guidance you can share!
can you recommend some alternative software, preferably freeware, as a substitute of Start Landscape Stacker?
Sequator is an excellent free option that stacks photos well when there is a foreground, but it’s Windows-only (though Mac users have plenty of slightly complex ways to get Windows-only software to function, of course, though I have not tried Sequator on Mac yet myself). Unfortunately, for dedicated Mac software, I have yet to see any freeware that stacks when you have a foreground. If you’re shooting stars only, though, I recommend the free software Lynkeos. That’s actually what I used to stack the Orion Nebula photo here. Hope this helps!
great video as always thanks ! Some comments:
– with ISO-invariant camera (Nikon, Sony, Pentax, Fuji,…) it is not necessary to bump up the ISO, around ISO 800 is usually fine and keeps a wide dynamic range to avoid burning highlights (especially useful for the Orion Nebula, whose core is very bright)
– currently the best free stacking software for pictures without foreground is Siril (free-astro.org/index…p/Siril/fr), very clean results and an excellent color calibration tools to get star colors accurate
– the best bodies for astrophotography without tracker are Pentax DSLRs thanks to the Astrotracer function, here is what I get with 30sec. exposures www.flickr.com/photo…ed-public/
– one the best affordable lens for this kind of astrophotography is the Samyang 135, even wide open at f/2 it is really sharp with very little coma.
All excellent points, thanks for adding, Dan!
Spencer already mentioned Starry Landscape Stacker. Here are a few of the many stacking applications out there.
* Starry Landscape Stacker: stars and foreground
* Starry Sky Stacker: stars only
* Sequator: stars and foreground
* Deep Sky Stacker (DSS): stars only
Once you start down the path of night sky photography you will want to try other techniques. As Spencer mentioned in the video, another way is to use a star tracker to get much longer exposures at lower ISO and then blend those with the foreground using Photoshop, GIMP, or similar layer-based programs.
Absolutely! Thanks for adding these. Another one I want to mention is Lynkeos for Mac. It’s free and does a great job stacking when there is no foreground. (Unfortunately haven’t found any freeware for Mac that stacks when there is a foreground.)
Star trackers are excellent, and next time I’m out I’m planning to use mine in combination with image stacking to go even further with image quality. Multi hour stacks of something like the Orion Nebula would be simply incredible!
Awesome video as always, thank you for explaining this! As a new person in the photography world, image stacking was something I’d heard of but didn’t know what it was. Excited to give it a try!
Much appreciated, Adam! Best of luck when you’re trying out image stacking yourself.