Long Exposure camera software on Android smart phone

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ChrisGreaves
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Long Exposure camera software on Android smart phone

Post by ChrisGreaves »

My recent view of Orion from the bottom of a well (well, my bed, actually, but that does cut out a lot of light pollution), moved me to wonder why I didn’t buy a better replacement phone than this LG Android ($400 down the street last year).
Then I thought of how much I have learned about Modern technology through Eileen’s Lounge and searched My Friend who turned up “Long Exposure Camera 2.apk”. So I installed it and gave it a run.
Pic_2021_9_14_11_3_14 [800x600].jpg
The ten-second exposure of my escritoire shows three envelopes looking more like a lifetime’s supply, and a curled-up tube of Polysporin that looks like a balled-up tissue.
If a ten-second exposure looks like this after my two morning coffees, Orion will end up looking like a galactic cluster.

Obviously I could build myself a little stand to hold my camera on my bedroom window ledge, tilt and adjust, then press the shutter and pray. I could even mask the camera lens while I pressed the button and then slide away the mask, just like they did in the old days.
Question: Am I missing something obvious here; some trick that one can add?

The camera showed a countdown (10, 9, 8,...) so my guess is that it takes ten exposures, each one second apart, and then mashes them together. But either the mash program code is not so good, or my hand is shaking beyond acceptable bounds.
Nothing heavy is riding on this. I tried shots of Orion Saturday night, but obtained only three photos of blackness.

Thanks
Chris
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stuck
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Re: Long Exposure camera software on Android smart phone

Post by stuck »

ChrisGreaves wrote:
14 Sep 2021, 14:02
...If a ten-second exposure looks like this after my two morning coffees, Orion will end up looking like a galactic cluster.
:yep:
ChrisGreaves wrote:
14 Sep 2021, 14:02
...Obviously I could build myself a little stand to hold my camera on my bedroom window ledge, tilt and adjust, then press the shutter and pray. I could even mask the camera lens while I pressed the button and then slide away the mask, just like they did in the old days.
:yep: that's the sort of solution you need
ChrisGreaves wrote:
14 Sep 2021, 14:02
...I tried shots of Orion Saturday night, but obtained only three photos of blackness.
Not bad for a first attempt but, I'm not sure you'll ever get anything better with the camera you are using. Having said that, a quick search found this article:
https://www.skyatnightmagazine.com/astr ... night-sky/

If Graeme sees this thread he'll have more to say but I'm fairly sure that to get a picture of the night sky that isn't just black will almost certainly require better kit that you have. My (one) attempt at photographing the Milky Way, with a DSLR, on a tripod, and a 30 second exposure just gave me a black frame.

Ken

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Re: Long Exposure camera software on Android smart phone

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stuck wrote:
14 Sep 2021, 15:42
Not bad for a first attempt but, I'm not sure you'll ever get anything better with the camera you are using. Having said that, a quick search found this article:
https://www.skyatnightmagazine.com/astr ... night-sky/
Ken, thank you for these tips. I read the article and think that
(1) If my phone hardware doesn't support ISO and Exposure settings, then no add-on Ap will be able to manipulate the hardware settings
(2) I think a DLSR is what I think of as a "real camera", rather than the old Kodak Instamatic(1). I did not graduate past Kodak Instamatic, but I suspect a DSLR has all those fancy levers and lens rings that one adjusts like a combination lock.
(3) If (1) above is true, then i am limited to software addons that do clever things with images, such as mashing ten images together, stitching panoramas, and so on.
(4) Mashing images means a holder; I read the DIY and stopped when I saw the range of tools brought into play. I might rig something up with heavy-duty copper wire left over from the re-wiring project. I could have it sitting inside my bedroom, aimed at Orion, or at least, where Orion was last night. He doesn't wander all that much.

I PM'd Graeme in the hopes that he will wander over here.
In the meantime I made a sketch of Orion and the major names for further study tonight.
I watched Orion as a kid, lying on a camp-bed on the front lawn during the baking summer nights in Southern Cross; Orion is like an old friend i haven't seen in 60+ years.

Cheers
Chris

(1)That said, all her life my mother used only her Box Brownie, given to her by her Dad after he had returned from The Great War.
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Re: Long Exposure camera software on Android smart phone

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ChrisGreaves wrote:
14 Sep 2021, 17:07
...He doesn't wander all that much...
Stars move more quickly than you think. Depending on the focal length of lens you are using, the maximum length of exposure you can use before the image of the stars you capture stop looking like points of light and become streaks (star trails) can be estimated using the '500 rule'.

With my widest lens the 500 rule says the longest exposure I can use is 500/27.2 = 18.38 secs. That sort of setup might allow me to take a photo of the Milky Way, since it covers a lot of sky, which would occupy a sizeable chunk of the frame. Orion covers only a tiny part of the sky, to get an image of Orion that comes close to filling the frame I'd need a looooooooong telephoto lens, longer than I possess but putting the numbers for the telephoto lens I do have into the 500 rule gives 500/408 = 1.22 secs. Even if I was to set my £lots camera at it's most sensitive that's just not long enough to capture anything other than black.

I'll leave it to Graeme to tell you how you get over this problem but the bottom line is that the bottom line is a big number.

Ken

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Re: Long Exposure camera software on Android smart phone

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stuck wrote:
14 Sep 2021, 18:05
Stars move more quickly than you think.
Odd. I suppose that they do, but until now I had always thought of The Earth being more flighty, what with its insistent habit of rotating out of view of any star every 24 hours ...

That said, I take your point about star-movement, but that is a point for purists :evilgrin:.
Me? I just wanted to be able to catch an image of Orion when the clouds cleared for fifteen minutes last Saturday night. I think I will always remember that moment, but did so want to capture it [not] on film!

I have long been fascinated by photon-streams. I see, as an example, Rigel, and if I close my left eye Rigel is still visible through the retina of my right eye, and vice-versa, so there must be two streams of photons arriving, after 860 years of travel, right where I am standing. And I just happened to be here and receive those two streams of photons.
My friend standing alongside me receives two different streams of photons, so these four streams of photons have been traveling together for 860 years for this event.
Then I try not to contemplate the number of photons that must be bathing The Earth, let alone The Solar System, let alone the Milky Way galaxy, from Rigel.
Not to mention the streams from the other 99,999,999,999 stars in the Milky Way

Thanks
Chris
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Re: Long Exposure camera software on Android smart phone

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This is the result of taking a picture at a not entirely cloudless night with my (hand-held) phone. The moon is wildly over-exposed, and the sky has been made much brighter than in reality - it was almost 2 hours after sunset. Not exactly a professional result. You can see Jupiter and Saturn though, to the left and right above the moon, though. The bright spot to the left of the chimney, just above the horizon, is a lens artefact.

NIGHT.jpg
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Re: Long Exposure camera software on Android smart phone

Post by ChrisGreaves »

HansV wrote:
17 Sep 2021, 20:10
This is the result of taking a picture at a not entirely cloudless night with my (hand-held) phone.
Hans!
You have convinced me to move to Wageningen.

I took photos of the planets with my first digital camera, I think that the photos are still orbiting on my web site.

I have been thinking about using up one of my stockpiled cardboard tubes from rolls of waxed kitchen paper, but then I thought that that length might narrow the visible field too much. I reasoned that placing a cardboard tube (3cm diameter) over the lens would be a reasonable approximation to taking the camera sixty feet down a well.
Perhaps a shorter tube from a toilet roll would be just as good.

Next clear night we get at 3am I will give it a try.

Also realized that i could quickly make a set of padded clamps for the phone because, after all, it is only the lens that need be uncovered.

Cheers
Chris
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Re: Long Exposure camera software on Android smart phone

Post by ChrisGreaves »

This morning's story:
Astrophotographer John Carter captures the night sky to overcome daily stress
All I need do now is (1) buy a second camera and (2) introduce some stress into my daily life. :evilgrin:
Cheers
Chris
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Re: Long Exposure camera software on Android smart phone

Post by Graeme »

Hello, my laptop is broken! So can I leave you with this for now from my phone and try a proper reply later please?

https://www.bigmarker.com/immediate-med ... Newsletter

Regards

Graeme

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Re: Long Exposure camera software on Android smart phone

Post by stuck »

HansV wrote:
17 Sep 2021, 20:10
...(hand-held)...
Very good!

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Re: Long Exposure camera software on Android smart phone

Post by HansV »

My phone's camera has a Night Sight setting. It uses long exposure (the photo above took almost 10 seconds), then applies all kinds of software tricks to remove the noise (the image on the phone's screen during the exposure was extremely "noisy") and to correct for shaking.
Regards,
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Re: Long Exposure camera software on Android smart phone

Post by ChrisGreaves »

Graeme wrote:
18 Sep 2021, 17:33
Hello, my laptop is broken! So can I leave you with this for now from my phone and try a proper reply later please?
I hereby grant you special dispensation, given the light-years you generally deal in ...
Cheers
Chris
P.S. I am HORRIFIED that someone like you who deals in great images does NOT do a daily data backup, but I am far too polite to say such a thing here, especially in your time of distress. :evilgrin:
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Re: Long Exposure camera software on Android smart phone

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stuck wrote:
14 Sep 2021, 15:42
If Graeme sees this thread he'll have more to say but I'm fairly sure that to get a picture of the night sky that isn't just black will almost certainly require better kit that you have. My (one) attempt at photographing the Milky Way, with a DSLR, on a tripod, and a 30 second exposure just gave me a black frame.

I would have thought that a $400 modern phone would have a camera good enough for the brighter celestial objects like the Moon and the planets. But I wouldn't know for sure because I have no experience of this field of astrophotography. My advice would be to buy a second hand Canon 550D or 600D from ebay for about the same price. There are loads on there!

One 30 second exposure would give you a black frame. But if you take 60 x 30 second exposures and then download Deep Sky Stacker (for free!) and stack them, you will get an image of the Milky Way. If you put the camera on a motor driven equatorial mount you will get an even better one! Trouble is, then you will be hooked and you will want a telescope, a guide scope, a guide camera and then an astro camera and then a bigger telescope and so it goes! :laugh:

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Re: Long Exposure camera software on Android smart phone

Post by Graeme »

ChrisGreaves wrote:
14 Sep 2021, 17:07
(4) Mashing images means a holder; I read the DIY and stopped when I saw the range of tools brought into play. I might rig something up with heavy-duty copper wire left over from the re-wiring project. I could have it sitting inside my bedroom, aimed at Orion, or at least, where Orion was last night. He doesn't wander all that much.

There's something magical about Orion! He returns in the autumn each year like an old friend! Probably because the constellation is so recognizable. And the 6 bright stars that form the winter Hexagon around Betelgeuse. He goes around us once every year as we orbit the sun so he moves from East to West by 1° per day. And each night he moves across the sky, as the Earth rotates, at a rate of 15° per hour. But you probably already knew that!

stuck wrote:
18 Sep 2021, 17:52
HansV wrote:
17 Sep 2021, 20:10
...(hand-held)...
Very good!

Seconded!

ChrisGreaves wrote:
18 Sep 2021, 18:59
P.S. I am HORRIFIED that someone like you who deals in great images does NOT do a daily data backup, but I am far too polite to say such a thing here, especially in your time of distress. :evilgrin:
C

Yes, and I have a 1Tb mobile hard drive, I have no excuses to offer!


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Graeme

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Re: Long Exposure camera software on Android smart phone

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Graeme wrote:
18 Sep 2021, 20:33
...One 30 second exposure would give you a black frame...
I only attempted it because I was in a location where the sky was dark enough for me to actually make out the Milky Way. I was sitting on the patio of the motel room on top of a hill on the North Island of NZ. I think we were the only tourists staying at the motel because it was during winter., though the temperature was what us Brits were used to in late spring / early autumn, so you could sit outside and marvel at the night sky wearing only a fleece jacket at 11:00pm at night.

Ken

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Re: Long Exposure camera software on Android smart phone

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ChrisGreaves wrote:
15 Sep 2021, 11:07
stuck wrote:
14 Sep 2021, 18:05
Stars move more quickly than you think.
Odd. I suppose that they do, but until now I had always thought of The Earth being more flighty, what with its insistent habit of rotating out of view of any star every 24 hours ...
See this old post I did (about one fellow here having some photos mentioned on NASA's APOD site), which links to among other this post at APOD. You can trust Polaris, the North Star (at least for some time).
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Re: Long Exposure camera software on Android smart phone

Post by ChrisGreaves »

Graeme wrote:
18 Sep 2021, 20:33
I would have thought that a $400 modern phone would have a camera good enough ...
Aha! But I bet you have never bought a phone at the only tech shop in Bonavista, using Canadian Dollars.
It was stupid of me. My original phone crashed to the floor, the glass shattered (people who don't install a protective plate should line up behind those who don't make nightly backups ,..), and it was not until I got home from the store that I realized that the old phone still worked. What do I care about cracked glass on the phone? I never show people photos of my grandchildren.
for the brighter celestial objects like the Moon and the planets. But I wouldn't know for sure because I have no experience of this field of astrophotography.
Thus emboldened, after turning off the automatic flash (Sorry Hubert & Linda! I wasn't spying ion you; honest!) I took this shot of the moon
2021_20210918_204305.jpg
OK. It is most unimpressive but it is my first useable shot of an orbiting body using the LG/Android phone.
I thought for a minute or so then
2021_20210918_204323.jpg
captured Jupiter to the "North East" of the moon; that is without the flash. :doh:
The left arrow points to what I think is a light on the water tower trying to gatecrash the photo.
My advice would be to buy a second hand Canon 550D or 600D from ebay for about the same price. There are loads on there!
Ha! Based on my spending $400 unnecessarily on a new phone you now think that I am loaded with cash. Au Contraire Mon Brave!. After spending $400 on a new phone I am now even more destitute than before.
No; my aim here is to see if one can devise a means of taking a snapshot of Orion without special equipment (except, maybe, for a toilet-roll cylinder)
... If you put the camera on a motor driven equatorial mount you will get an even better one! Trouble is, then you will be hooked and you will want a telescope, a guide scope, a guide camera and then an astro camera and then a bigger telescope and so it goes! :laugh:
I see through your thinking! You have been paid to distract me from Word2003 and zucchinis. Which six members of Eileen's Lounge put you up to this?
There's something magical about Orion! He returns in the autumn each year like an old friend! Probably because the constellation is so recognizable. And the 6 bright stars that form the winter Hexagon around Betelgeuse. He goes around us once every year as we orbit the sun so he moves from East to West by 1° per day. And each night he moves across the sky, as the Earth rotates, at a rate of 15° per hour. But you probably already knew that!
At last! Something on which we can agree.
I recall Orion from my childhood, trying to get to sleep on the front lawn. What a wasted opportunity that was, under the desert sky in Southern Cross, where all the streets are named after stars and constellations.
Untitleda.png
I have made a list of the eleven most prominent stars of Orion and lost it, so I shall have to make another image/list.

I did not realize that Orion "went around the earth", but this must mean that every other constellation/star does the same thing, right? because to us, every other star is, in a sense, indistinguishable from Orion, in terms of position. It's just "Not here".

Right now Orion is special because he creeps out from behind the water tower every clear night and is thus is visible without me having to move my head from my pillow.
I shall report back on the toilet-tube experiment in about a week's time.
Cheers
Chris
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Re: Long Exposure camera software on Android smart phone

Post by BobH »

Chris, do you see Orion's Belt and Sword? I ask because I think you might have less light pollution and clearer skies in good weather than we do here in central Texas.
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Re: Long Exposure camera software on Android smart phone

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BobH wrote:
20 Sep 2021, 01:55
Chris, do you see Orion's Belt and Sword? I ask because I think you might have less light pollution and clearer skies in good weather than we do here in central Texas.
Yes, Bob, I do see the lot, about thirty seconds after I have turned out my mega-watt bedside reading light and my eyes have adjusted. I am surprised to find that I can see (I think the technical term is "observe") the stars from my bed whereas I can't see them as well outside on the back lawn.

People in this town seem to be afraid of the dark, and every other house has these new LED lights ("Have you tried them? They're great, and they save you money. You should buy a hundred!") and mount them front and back of the house. The rest of the community are focused on economy and spend extra money on motion sensors as add-ons, so the local cats (four) protect the neighbourhood by tripping these lights at random intervals as they chase each other around the neighbourhood. Not that I'm complaining ... :grin:
Light pollution here is awful. The town streets have sodium streetlight s front and back of my property..

In good weather we do have clearer skies, and I have watched many a jet plane wink at me from 30,000 feet on its way to the Île de France. After which I go inside and weep.

I think that once I get my camera mount rigged up to operate from the window sill, I will start using the Long Exposure Camera 2.apk and post back here.

Cheers
Chris
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Re: Long Exposure camera software on Android smart phone

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Graeme wrote:
18 Sep 2021, 20:33
...Deep Sky Stacker (for free!) and stack them...
I've not looked into this so I'll do it the lazy way and just ask you. Is it clever enough to align the frames, i.e. not need a motorised mount on the tripod to ensure the camera tracks the night sky?

If so, I might stay up late one night and head out of the village to get some dark skies and have a go at this.

Ken