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More Pentax Astrotracer shots with the K5/O-GPS1

It was quite clear early last night so I had another run with the Pentax Astrotracer unit (O’GPS1). For the most part I looked at the nebulae in Sagittarius but I also focused on the Magellanic clouds before some thicker clouds of a less photographic nature ended the evening a bit earlier than expected…

Pentax Astrotracer: Lagoon (M8) & Trffid (M20) nebulae in Sagittarius

Pentax Astrotracer: Lagoon (M8) & Trifid (M20) nebulae in Sagittarius

The first shot (above) shows the Lagoon Nebula (the large pink nebula) and the Trifid Nebula (smaller, below and to the right of the Lagoon) in the constellation Sagittarius which is high in the sky at this time of year. Looking into this part of the sky is also looking into the centre of the Milky Way galaxy so the sky is simply stunning even to the naked eye at this time of year. This shot is a 30 second exposure at 200mm. ISO 4000. Utilising the Astrotracer to eliminate trailing is a great way to capture detail in these wondrous sights.

Pentax Astrotracer: Omega (M17) Nebula, Sagittarius

Pentax Astrotracer: Omega (M17) Nebula, Sagittarius

This next image is the Omega Nebula, also in Sagittarius. The settings were exactly the same as the previous image. There was some moisture in the sky leading to the diffuse glow effect which to my mind at least was quite a nice result!

Pentax Astrotracer: Large Magellanic Cloud

Pentax Astrotracer: Large Magellanic Cloud

The Magellanic Clouds are also quite stunning, ever to the unaided eye. The image above was taken at ISO 3200 and 30 seconds at 200mm.

The Astrotracer function is a great feature (and quite unique to the Pentax brand). The only real problem I have is the positioning of a bright blue light on the back of the unit which, when attached to the camera, ends up being positioned right above the eyepiece. When trying to shoot in complete darkness this bright light really disturbs your “night eyes”. If this unit gets redesigned/re-released in the future I would hope that this is looked into. In the meantime a piece of tape over the offending light will have to suffice…


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About Luke

Luke O'Brien runs a stall at Hobart's popular Salamanca Market every Saturday where his prints and cards are available for purchase. Follow Luke's photographic adventures on Twitter at @lukeobrienphoto, at his Facebook page or by subscribing to his email newsletter.