Took these using my Canon SX530HS controlled by AstroKam. Other software used: CHDK, PHD2, ASPS, DSS and StarTools.
This is a short tutorial on how to use the CHDK hack with your Canon camera to freeze birds in flight. The setup I use is shown below.
First download the CHDK MDFB2013 script and add two minus signs to the start of line “
set_prop(props.FLASH_MODE, 2) -- flash off“. This will allow the flash to fire.
Use CHDK Enhanced Photo Operations to select the maximum flash power and set Tv to a low value such as 0.0003s. I use Av mode with a wide open aperture and ISO 100. I focus on the feeder in Macro mode and then switch to manual focus. Set the flash to always fire.
I then leave the MDFB2013 script running for a while. I found that the script is not fast enough to catch the birds landing so most of the shots are of the birds on the feeder. However, you should get several shots of the birds taking off like below.
Click on an image below to see some results.
I left AstroKam running overnight with my SX530HS recently and it worked great. I had set up an 8 target observing list in Cartes du Ciel and imported it into AstroKam with 60 minutes per target and 300 seconds per exposure. Darks and biases were set at 1 per 5 lights.
AstroKam automatically controlled PHD2 autoguiding and plate solved each target using All Sky Plate Solver to provide spot on aiming.
The next morning I used the sort module to remove any duff shots and satellite trails and then generate Deep Sky Stacker project files. These were then batch processed in DSS and processed in StarTools. Final touchup in Paint.Net and I got the results below.
These were all shot at 25x zoom so I can still zoom in to 50x for more detail.
Here is my first attempt at deep sky with my new (second-hand) Canon SX530HS compact camera. I shot this with a beta version of AstroKam that I hope to release soon. I only used about a third of the optical zoom range so there is plenty of scope (pun) to chase smaller targets.
Still messing with settings for it but I think it compares well with a similar shot I took with my Canon 1100D below.
Here are the first results from my upcoming SpeedCam app which turns any camera capable of shooting video into a radar speed gun. The graph below is a summary of traffic speed in my street over a 7 hour period. SpeedCam also saves a picture of each vehicle with its speed printed.
Dave Lochhaas kindly gave me permission to show his first published video using Dave’s Motion Stacker. Great to see how they trace out rollercoaster tracks in the sky.
This is a first test of my latest software. It allows you to scan multiple videos and only select scenes with action. Great for subjects like bird feeders above.
This was taken with my Coronado PST solar scope from Inverness, Scotland over 8 hours of sunshine. It repeats a couple of times at different speeds so you can watch the action.
Here is the first result from my latest app. It processes video of the sky and adds color trails to all the birds. Click on the image to view the video.
I have been working on a new app that will automatically take astro images overnight and below are some early results. All taken with a Canon 1100D and Sigma 70-300mm lens, stacked in Deep Sky Stacker and processed in StarTools.
AstroTour interfaces with PHD2 autoguider (including dithering), All Sky Plate Solver for accurate targeting and digiCamControl for capture. digiCamControl allows a wide range of Canon and Nikon DSLRs to be controlled as well as some Sony and other cameras.