Back garden starscape

Deep-sky is my preferred style of astrophotography. I love the technical challenges in capturing and processing deep-sky data, and I love observing the beautiful objects ‘out there’, which we would never even know existed without high-aperture telescopes (‘high’ here is relative to the unaided human eye).

I also appreciate looking at ‘starscape’ photographs, however. This style of astrophography combines a wide-angle view of the night sky with some foreground, for example, natural landscapes like mountains, rivers, or trees. The result can be very beautiful and dramatic, and the style provides opportunity for extra artistic creativity.

Starscapes are something I have occasionally experimented with, although with very little thought for interesting foregrounds (for example, this one has the beautiful foreground of recycling bins!). So when my wife, who usually hates the cold, and has never before been interested in joining me for an astrophotography session, randomly suggested on a Monday evening that we go out into the snow in the back garden and try some starscape photography, I was very happy! (I was also surprised she had even heard of the term ‘starscape’ and knew what it meant!)

The sky was very hazy, with a thin layer of fast-moving cloud, so conditions were far from ideal. The moon was also about 90% illuminated and positioned just above the center frame. Nevertheless, we captured 40× untracked 10-s frames, stacked them in Sequator and applied some further post-processing in Photoshop. Clearly with the cloud cover, we were unable to lift out the Milky Way or much in the way of nebulae, but Orion and the Orion Nebula are clearly visible, as well as many fainter stars. The constellations and names of the brighter stars are annotated onto the image below.


  • 40× frames (f/3.5, 10-s, ISO 500, 14mm)


  • Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark III
  • M.Zuiko 14–42 mm EZ Zoom Lens


  • Sequator
  • Photoshop
  • Topaz DeNoise AI
  • Stellarium (for the annotations)

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