Saturday, June 24, 2017

Doubling Down !

In April of 2007 I converted most of my astrophotography efforts to use medium format film.  The acquisition of the Pentax 67 soon brought forth amazing images of the Milky Way as well as night landscapes under the light of the Moon.  The Pentax 67 is a great system and I soon had a lens collection to offer near unlimited flexibility in my compositions of the starry realm.

This past April I came across a deal I could not refuse.  I added a second body and two lenses.  The lenses were duplicates to what I owned, but an idea floated around in my head.  The recent addition of a new german equatorial mount made it possible to configure many possible arrangement of cameras and telescopes.  I purchased the necessary Losmandy plates and gathered an old Televue Ranger to be used as a guide scope.

Two Pentax bodies and matching 105's make a formidable team.  Simultaneously exposing two frames will make lighter duty of combined framed images and mosaics.  

The Meade LXD75 and secondary systems holding the two Pentax 67's and guide scope


I do not believe this has ever been done or if it is workable.  I believe it is.  I have the freedom to use lens pairs or two different focal lengths if desired.  It will make mosaics much easier.



The two Pentax 67's with 105mm f/2.4 lenses


The image below is an example of two frames using the 105mm.  The two frames were exposed  sequentially.  The new mounting and camera configuration will make this a "one shot" effort!


A mosaic of two frames with the 105mm f/2.4 lenses


This image was done with two frames using the 165mm f/2.8.  This is another possibility using the two camera setup.


A mosaic of two frames with the 165mm f/2.8


So planning continues.  I will give it a try later in the summer.  Skies darken very late in June and time to shoot is very limited.  I prefer late August to begin film work. Skies darken early enough to get a good session in prior to midnight. 

When the year started I was looking for direction as to where I would go in my efforts.  The digital workflow has made me lazy and I was never 100% happy with the colors and textures.  It appears I will still work with film for some time to come.

There are plenty of digital astrophotographers out there.  They do good work.  This is my story.  I'll tell it a bit differently.