Tuesday, August 01, 2006

More Experiments In Cheap Digital Photography

I just couldn't leave well enough alone.
I decided that I had to try photographing the Moon one more time with the little Mercury point-n'-shoot digital camera. However, this time I chose to use one of my home made neutral density filters. This time... success... sort of.
Most of my image editing is done on my PC, an HP Pavillion running Windows ME. The problem is that computer is currently down; it runs for about ten minutes and then goes unstable, possibly due to some bad RAM (near as I can tell). So, I have to use what image editing software I have on my Macintosh G3 Blue & White, "Alcyone" (yes, I name my computers, too). While Macintoshes are superb graphics machines, I lack the funds to buy the proper software at this time, so I am forced to use some free alternatives, namely Futurepaint 2.1 (running in Classic mode under 9.2), NIH Image 1.63 (which is actually very nice for black and white image processing, also under Classic mode) and Preview in OS X.
Still, the results weren't bad. The first image was taken with "Bianca" (my 60mm) through a 20mm Kellner.

Using Futurepaint, I resized the image and did a little sharpening. After I did that, I used Preview to change the image's attributes, though I should mention that the image is still a mirror image Moon, much as you would see through an eyepiece. I'll correct that later. The results weren't too shabby.
The next image was taken with the addition of a 2x Barlow.

This time, I chose to use NIH Image for the processing alone. The results weren't bad at all. However, you can't really save images in NIH as JPEG's, so again Preview was used to convert the image. I should mention that I have used NIH Image before for grayscale image processing, and the results were always great (In the next month or so, I should have another computer set up specifically for image processing running Ubuntu and Gimp).
There are a lot of ways to record your astronomical adventures inexpensively. Certainly, the day is coming when I will be asked to write a webpage on my methods. Until then, I will always share the fruits of my labors.

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