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Running Man and the Great Orion Nebula
1st PlaceRunning Man and the Great Orion Nebula
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Photograph Information Photographer's Comments
Challenge: Free Study 2017-09 (Standard Editing)
Collection: Portfolio
Camera: Canon EOS-7D Mark II
Location: Goshen, CT
Date: Sep 23, 2017
Aperture: f/5.6
ISO: 1600
Shutter: 60 seconds
Galleries: Astrophotography
Date Uploaded: Sep 30, 2017

My favorite photo from the 2017 Connecticut Star Party. Clouds rolled in on the first night and I went to bed early, but woke up around 3am and peeked outside my tent to find crystal clear skies. Despite over 50 people camping with telescopes, I was the only one awake. With Orion rising high in the east, I immediately went after this winter gem.

The Orion Nebula is a massive star forming region about 1350 light years away from us, and 24 light years in diameter. This image was taken through a 4.5" apochromatic refractor and consists of eighteen 60 second frames stacked in Pixinsight, and another 49 frames at shorter 5 second exposures to tone down the bright central stars around the Trapezium. Pixinsight is terrific for bringing out the fine details, and I made further adjustments in Photoshop (curves, levels, color balance, and star reduction), plus a little noise reduction with Noise Ninja.

I know that non-aurora astrophotography doesn't score well here, but I like it. After a year and a half of effort, this is the first photo I've ever set as my computer desktop background.

Yay! After 13 years, I finally won a Free Study... and all it took was $4000 in new gear, 18 months of practice with insanely complicated processing software, and standing out in a field alone in the dark at 3am. Despite all my camera and Photoshop experience, I was incapable of producing this shot even a year ago. Outtakes from the Star Party are posted HERE.

Statistics
Place: 1 out of 119
Avg (all users): 7.0308
Avg (commenters): 8.4000
Avg (participants): 7.1633
Avg (non-participants): 6.6250
Views since voting: 765
Views during voting: 104
Votes: 65
Comments: 28
Favorites: 6 (view)


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AuthorThread
10/13/2017 12:53:26 PM
Wow, congrats !

Glad to see a DSO win a free study
  Photographer found comment helpful.
10/12/2017 10:03:51 PM
Simply fabulous. I understand the technical challenge of just getting the camera images for this.
The software and processing make it a terrific image.
I'm just guessing, that this was done with an 8" Celestron CAT.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
10/12/2017 03:44:08 PM
Oh WOW! Congratulations, what a great image. I didn't realize you could photograph this without being in a planetarium or similar. Its one of my favorite nebulae (no, I know absolutely nothing about them, except that I love seeing pics of them :-)).
  Photographer found comment helpful.
10/11/2017 11:54:08 PM
wow
  Photographer found comment helpful.
10/10/2017 10:02:20 AM
Excellent! If this was a cell phone shot I'd be really impressed!
  Photographer found comment helpful.
10/09/2017 06:56:01 AM
Congrats on the blue. Awesome!
  Photographer found comment helpful.
10/09/2017 02:10:26 AM
Sheeesh!!
Two blue ribbons for effort and skill..
It is an outstanding image. Mind boggling.
Thank you so much for sharing it.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
10/08/2017 08:19:20 PM
how freaking cool!!!
  Photographer found comment helpful.
10/08/2017 03:32:57 PM
Originally posted by MAK:

Top draw, I would love to try this kind of work.

Too bad you're not closer. I'm teaching classes on astrophotography next month.
10/08/2017 03:27:01 PM
Top draw, I would love to try this kind of work.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
10/08/2017 03:18:14 PM
This is beautiful. Congrats on the blue!
  Photographer found comment helpful.
10/08/2017 01:07:48 PM
Out of this world! Amazing effort to create this masterpiece butt worth it for sure. This photo will have miles. Congrats
  Photographer found comment helpful.
10/08/2017 12:05:06 PM
Congrats, Shannon!! I knew you had it in you!

Your perseverance and investments paid off. This is indeed, a gem.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
10/08/2017 11:42:03 AM
Congrats on this wonderful image!
  Photographer found comment helpful.
10/08/2017 11:19:38 AM
Huge congrats on the blue Shannon! I was hoping this would ribbon. Extremely well done!
  Photographer found comment helpful.
10/08/2017 10:21:51 AM
Congrats on the Ribbon, What an awesome image!
  Photographer found comment helpful.
10/08/2017 09:33:37 AM
Quite awesome! Congrats on the accomplishments!
  Photographer found comment helpful.
10/08/2017 08:02:25 AM
Beautiful!
  Photographer found comment helpful.
10/08/2017 07:22:34 AM
Congratulations on the blue, a magical image
  Photographer found comment helpful.
10/08/2017 01:31:30 AM
Amazing image. It was a 10 from me.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
10/08/2017 01:01:14 AM
Congrats! Truly ethereal!
  Photographer found comment helpful.
10/08/2017 12:17:45 AM
What a beauty. An absolutely first-rate product, man!
  Photographer found comment helpful.
10/08/2017 12:02:54 AM
Congrats. This is amazing
  Photographer found comment helpful.
 Comments Made During the Challenge
10/07/2017 06:09:51 PM
Amazing!
  Photographer found comment helpful.
10/07/2017 09:57:31 AM
Stunning. Incredible detail, exceptional processing.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
10/05/2017 05:40:01 PM
Fantastic. What equipment did you use for this to see? Bump!
  Photographer found comment helpful.
10/04/2017 01:22:14 PM
Holy *&^%! What an incredible image.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
10/01/2017 05:18:06 AM
too fabulous !!!!
  Photographer found comment helpful.


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