Yes, hard to believe that more than six weeks have passed since I have imaged anything, and I mean anything, meteor showers clouded out, possible imaging sessions ( according to the weather forcast ) not coming to fruition because the weather forcast was wrong, drizzle, wind, rain, wind, torrential rain and more bleeding wind and rain. on a few occasions the weather has been fine during the day only to become cloudy as the evening wears on. I have treated the observatorys wooden walls, moved the spiders out of the observatory again, hoovered the floor of the observatory, cleaned the optics of the telescope, filters and the camera – in short everything I can do short of any actual imaging; and the weather remains for the week ahead wet and windy. The word bored really does not reflect how I am right now, so to alleviate the boredom I have been messing around imaging smoke, yes I’m that bored, it is quite simple to do really.
Set up a DSLR camera in a dark room, pointing and manually focused at a black mat surface ( large piece of cardboard sprayed mat black ) about 2 feet from the card, have the camera on a long’ish manual exposure of up to 10 seconds and have a seperate flash gun at 90° to the camera at about 2 feet distant from the card but level with the card, now this is the important bit – using black electrical tape cover the flash leaving a very narrow slit in the middle of the flash, you will need at least 3 layers of tape to block out the rest of the light from the flash, you only want to illuminate the smoke not the whole room and not the card. light an incense candle and start the exposure , now trigger the flash and stop the exposure, you will need to do this several times and if all is well you should have some pictures of smoke curls and whisps, trial and error is the only way to get it right.
Then all you need to do is add a starry background and play with the saturation in Photoshop or whatever software you use and hey presto, you have made your own nebula in the comfort of your own home.
Funny how the mind works.