Stephen Bay's Photography Blog

Comet C/2020 F3 Neowise From the Heart of San Diego

For some reason I like taking photos of astro subjects from the middle of the San Diego. Usually this results in a lot of pain because the objects are so dim and the light pollution from the city tends to wash everything out. To some extent, one can bring out these subjects with post-processing but there is a limit because the data (and information contained in the data) simply isn’t there.

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Equipment for Tracked Panoramas of the Night Sky

Probably the most technically difficult shot to achieve in landscape astrophotography is a tracked panorama. But if you can successfully pull it off, it will yield the ultimate in image quality. I’ve done a few when conditions allowed (i.e. I had extra time for setup and I was able to carry of all the required gear) and thought I would share my equipment setup:

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How to Choose a Paper for Printing Your Photos

I love to print my own photos but when I started printing I was overwhelmed by the incredible number of papers available. There are hundreds of options on the market and I was paralyzed by having too many choices. So I took the easy way out. There were a few sheets of luster paper included with my first printer, so I tried them, liked the result, and I just stuck with that paper for many years.

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Where to Photograph the Milky Way Around San Diego

As a night sky photographer, when I’m looking for locations to photograph, I pay close attention to the amount of light pollution in the skies. The stray light from building and roads in nearby urban areas can easily wash out the stars and make it hard to get clean images of the Milky Way. For example, look at the following two pictures taken with the exact same lens and camera:

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Diffraction, Aperture, and High Megapixel Cameras

While I was out on my last shoot, I did a quick test to show the effects of diffraction on image sharpness. If you don’t know what diffraction is, here is the dictionary definition: Diffraction is the process by which a beam of light spreads out after passing through a narrow hole or across an edge. Practically what this means is that when you use physically smaller apertures, the light passing through the lens spreads out more.

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