Q1: At first, congratulations on your nice image winning #ASIWEEK. Can you introduce yourself to us?
Hi! Thanks for letting amateurs like me share their work with a large public by #ASIWEEK and thanks for selecting my pic.
My name is Yann, I live in France and I have been practicing astrophotography for 1 year now.
I started with a 150/750 on an eq3-2 mount. It was hard, it needed precision and patience, but it was the best astrophoto school possible!
I’m also passionate about ‘Pétanque’ and ‘Cheese fondue’ and planned to attempt the Guiness Book World Record of “The longuest (in duration) cheese fondue”.
Q2: Why do you love astronomy? What special meaning does it have for you?
I love astronomy for many reasons. It’s the perfect mix of a lot of different fields (astronomy, mathematics, mechanics, mythology, art and more), and I like the idea that the perfect astrophoto doesn’t exist and the DO catalog is infinite so you’ll never reach the limit of the possibilities.
It’s also a great way to travel in space and time. I love the idea of taking a photo of the past.
And it’s a great pleasure to share this passion with the many friends I met thanks to astronomy.
And finally I love to share it with people who can’t do it and to make it accessible to as many people as possible.
Q3: What gear do you use for astrophotography? Can you show us some photos?
Right now I use 2 setups:
TS Photon 8’’ 200/800
Altaïr 60/225 with ASI290MM Mini for guiding;
Sigma ART 135mm
ZWO mini scope with ASI120MM Mini for guiding;
With those setups I use:
I use N.I.N.A to prepare my sessions and to automate it as much as possible.
And I just ordered my dream setup:
Takahashi 106fsq with super redactor
ASI2600MM Pro with filter wheel and SHO & LRVB filters.
Big thanks to Optique Unterlinden for their advice! I can’t wait to try it.
Dealing with streetlights.
Q4: How did you capture your winning picture Barnard 150? Mind sharing with us your experience in shooting this target?
I actually live in a Bortle 5 city, it’s ok to shoot some emission nebulae with dual-band filters but I’m in love with dark nebulae and I know the sky quality is the first need for shooting that properly. So I decided to move to my dad’s house in Bortle 4 and imaged it for 2 nights.
During the first night, I stacked the 3rd first subs (600s without any filter) and that’s the moment I knew something great was coming! After 2 nights I kept 50x600s subs and started to process it.
In my opinion the processing is the most important part of taking a great astrophoto so I took time to do my best with this one.
I spent hours and hours watching tutorials and creating my own routine and that was the first time I was really proud of my photo.
Barnard 150. Equipment: TS Optics Ts-photon 8” F4 + ZWO ASI2600MC-Pro + Skywatcher EQ6R Pro.
And it was so cool to share it live with my dad and some friends of his.
I really think it’s a passion that has to be shared to be the best experience.
My only regret is that I couldn’t have my usual guiding during those 2 nights. I normally guide between 0.4 and 0.6 RMS and I was at 0.9 and my sampling is 0.96 so my stars are really not perfect.
Q5: Where do you normally take astrophotos, from your backyard or somewhere more remote but darker?
I normally shoot in my backyard for emission nebulae, as I said, in a city in Bortle 5 area.
When I want to shoot galaxies or dark or reflexion nebulae, I take my tent and go to darker places but the best is to go to my dad’s house like I did for Barnard 150. He lets me shoot during consecutive nights and share it with him.
But I really like being alone in the dark, hearing the nature around me and see many many more stars there than in my backyard. Being alone in the dark under a stary night is an amazing experience.
Heart of Cygnus mosaic in SHORVB. Equipment: Sigma Art 135mm F1.8 + ZWO ASI2600MC Pro + Skywatcher EQ6R Pro
Q6: Do you have any unforgettable experiences that you can share with us during your travels?
I think I won’t be original but every first time was amazing.
But my very first emotional moment was when I saw the ring of Saturn on my 150/1200 for the first time. It was so incredible to see it form my backyard.
One other great moment was the first time my guiding worked haha!
After 5 nights of dealing with every possible problem, my first 300s sub of the Crescent nebula with round stars really moved me.
Another memory is when I did my first night alone away from home. I looked for the best place on Google Maps and decided to go on a little hill. The scary part is that there’s a cemetery in the middle of this little hill, so my first night was really special…
In this same place, on another night, I saw two people coming to me. During lonely nights I don’t really care about animals or nature, but my biggest fear is to encounter ill-intentioned people.
So, when 2 people with no light came to me, I was a little scared and ready to defend my gear. Finally I met two really cool guys and we talked about astronomy all night long.
The Crescent Nebula. Equipment: TS Optics Ts-photon 8” F4 + ZWO ASI2600MC-Pro + Skywatcher EQ6R Pro.
Q7: Does your family join you when you take astrophotos?
As I said I shoot from my dad’s backyard so yes he joins me when I setup and I tell him about my night in the morning.
My family also likes to see my pictures on social media.
On every pic I share I try to separate my explanations in two parts.
The technical part for other astrophotographers.
But I like to try to popularize for other people to let them appreciate the picture and understand how it is made and what they see.
In the future I really would like to get a big Dobson to do some visual observation with them.
Q8: Did anyone inspire you in the early stages of your astrophotography journey?
It’s actually still the beginning for me as I started a year ago, so I’m inspired by many people on the Internet, Astrobin.
I don’t really have one person in particular that has inspired me.
I remember the first time I discovered AP, I saw that a friend of mine was an astrophotographer, when I saw his pictures I really decided to make my own. So yes David(david_anciand_astrophoto on Instagram) inspired me and it encouraged me to start.
Christmas Tree Cluster + Cone Nebula + Fox Fur Nebula. Equipment: TS Optics Ts-photon 8” F4 + ZWO ASI2600MC-Pro + Skywatcher EQ6R Pro.
But in my opinion there are as many ways to take AP as there are astrophotographers.
I’m really thankful to all people who take their time to help others with setup or processing, who give great advice.
I’m also thankful to people who take time making tutorials, it’s truly an amazing help for beginners like me!
I’m thankful to Gaëtan (Photomax on Facebook) for helping me choose my first DSLR moded by himself, to Jeremy, Adrien, Christophe, Olivier and Nicolas for sharing their experience with me and always being great critics of my pics. They are my first judges and always look for all the potential in my work.
We became great friends and it’s always a pleasure to share nights and time with them!
So all people with the same philosophy and vision as me inspire me.
Q9: What changes has astrophotography brought to your life?
The first is that I’m broke haha
The second was it reinforced my vision of the place of the “humans”.
At the scale of the Earth I always thought that humans were really pretentious to think they were at the center of all things.
Since I’ve been doing astronomy, it seems even truer!
I really think that if humans could be more modest in relation to their role and place in the world and in the universe, they could start to think differently about their impact and their role.
I think what best sums up my thoughts about this is the “pale blue dot” picture.
If I can share my philosophy about it by sharing my pictures, it’s a good way to catch people’s attention.
Q10: When and how did you hear about ZWO? What was your first ASI camera?
ZWO is the best known camera maker, so I heard about you really quickly, right from the start.
I would never have imagined going so fast on camera when I bought my first DSLR.
But after spending every single clear night outside to shoot, my desires and demands increased very quickly.
As ZWO’s reputation was great, I naturally checked your cameras and got ASI2600MC Pro.
Butterfly Nebula (IC 1318). Equipment: TS Optics Ts-photon 8” F4 + ZWO ASI2600MC Pro + Skywatcher EQ6R Pro.
Q11: What do you care most about when buying a dedicated astronomy camera?
I really care a lot about framing in AP.
So first thing I do is to check the framing on many targets with Stellarium or Telescopius.
I’m also a huge fan of mosaic so I’ll check a camera that is compatible with my setup to have a perfectly correct frame (coma etc).
And finally I check sampling, and reviews of previous users.
Q12: Are you satisfied with your ASI2600MC Pro?
It’s my first dedicated camera and I’m truly in love with it.
I really like how it helps for the processing, I really like there’s no amp glow. At 600s my darks are perfectly dark!
I really love the comfort of having a dark library as I often shoot with 600s subs.
M81, M82 and some IFN (HaRGB). Equipment: TS Optics Ts-photon 8” F4 + ZWO ASI2600MC Pro + Skywatcher EQ6R Pro.
Q13: Do you plan on using a mono camera for DSO imaging?
I just ordered the ASI2600MM Pro to upgrade my setup with the filter wheel and LRVB SHO filters. I’m looking forward to trying it to see the difference with color camera about speed and processing.
Q14: What feedback or suggestions do you have for ZWO?
In my personal experience, I don’t really have any suggestions as I’m really happy with your products, your team, I always talked to great people.
Find more amazing astrophotos on Yann’s Astrobin and INS page: