Deanne's first light photos

16 December 2019

This is a first light photo with a difference.

First light photos are photos taken with something new. They might be taken with a new scope, or a new camera, or something else. In this case, it was a first photo taken with any telescope. No kidding. But there’s a story.

Deanne is already an accomplished photographer, being in the Australian Institute of Professional Photography. She has a number of awards already, and has taken wide field shots using a wide lens. On a visit to Mt Burnett she met Andrew Campbell (of Andy's Astropix) and through him, discovered astrophotography through a telescope.

She was hooked, but as with other astrophotographers, Dee found that she had to wait before she was able to afford the equipment she wanted. Finally, however, Dee turned up at the shop and came away with a big saxon 250DS Newtonian and a saxon AZ-EQ6 GT Pro.

Dee joined the ASV, and the learning started. After she put the scope up at home and became familiar with it, Dee and her husband Bill (er, that’s another Bill) came up to the ASV’s dark sky site to swap theory for practice. I happened to be there on the night so was able to help out a bit too.

After learning about finderscope adjustment, the SynScan Pro iPad app, three-star alignments, polar alignment and tracking, Dee attached her camera. Using a Nikon D800e she experimented with various settings to see what worked.

At home, the processing started. Dee is an expert, using Lightroom to enhance light effects and sharpening details, and Photoshop, to bring out depth and colour definition.

Just look at the results – the Great Nebula in Orion and the Carina Nebula. Unbelievable – and Dee’s first shots taken through a telescope.

Dee wants to create something unique, and to do this she’s going to need to keep learning. Being a photographer, she sees her scope as a lens, and realises that new techniques and kit will get her towards that goal.