Starlink Photobomb

After what seemed like an eternity, I was lucky enough to have two full clear nights over the weekend for the new moon. An opportunity I was looking to fully make use of. I had two great nights under the stars in a total of three different locations to watch the Milky Way rise in the East in the wee hours of the morning. Upon a quick scan of the photos I saw the regular plane trails which I generally like to leave in as it gives a sense of scale against our galaxy, besides they are usually out of frame quickly enough. It wasn’t until a few days later when looking at the longer exposure shots of my Panasonic GX85 (a camera not renowned for it’s low light capability) that I noticed something significantly more. I wasn’t too worried about the images from my GX85 as that was only for something to do, so I quickly checked the images from my Sony A7R which I had setup on a slider. Sure enough, of the 325 images I shot on my main camera that night, 65 of them had been photobombed by Starlink.

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Bulk layer edits with GIMP

If you are already familiar with shooting the stars, then you’ll know that most of the imaging magic happens in post processing. You’ll also likely know that the vast majority of popular online tutorials will use Adobe Photoshop which is both expensive and subscription only, with monthly photography plans starting from $14.29AUD upwards. Being neither popular nor prepared to spend that sort of cash on subscription based software, I find myself free to explore the alternatives. As far as open source software goes, Gnu Image Manipulation Program (GIMP) is enormously powerful and supports layers which is critical for common processing tasks such as star trails and light painting. Unfortunately though, GIMP has no functionality via the GUI as of the time of writing this article which allows you to modify layer attributes in bulk or as a selection of layers. In this article we’ll take a look at one way in which the extensibility of GIMP can assist with this specific issue.

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Lighting the path

Spent the Christmas 2019 break on the south coast of Victoria and took the opportunity to shoot the local light house. Coastline here is pretty rugged with plenty of loose rocks, dips and crevasses to really do a number on your ankle. Then there is always the very heavy surf and tide to be thinking of. Really just highlighted for me the importance of scouting your intended location for shooting astro in the daylight hours so you can get the lay of the land to plan your compositions safely.

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