After I’ve proved to myself that Milky Way can be photographed handheld with my latest Huawei P30 Pro in Mersing, Malaysia on 6 Apr 2019, I am convinced that it’s worth bringing this low-light beast to my Mount Bromo astrophotography trip from 3-6 May. And because I think capturing Milky Way and aurora with it is a little too mainstream now, I’m going to try and see if I can capture faint meteors and produce a near-DSLR quality Milky Way images with it so I can fill my camera bag with snacks the next time I’m going there instead. I’ve captured many Eta Aquarid meteors with my trusty DSLR at Bromo for the past 8 years but I haven’t done any yet with a smartphone and so, it will be a first for me.
While my friends were busy setting up their DSLRs, I was busy setting up my P30 Pro on my tripod. That didn’t take long but you may ask why don’t I try to shoot the meteors handheld? Well, photographing the meteors is unlike photographing the Milky Way, for obvious reason. I don’t know when and where the Eta Aquarid meteors will appear and so, I have to mount my P30 Pro on a tripod as I can’t hold it with my hands all night because at some point, I may need to pee. So, I installed an app named “Intervalometer” and activated it so it allows my P30 Pro to keep shooting according to the exposure time and interval I set. At around 4.33AM (GMT +7) on 5 May, a faint Eta Aquarid meteor finally appeared above the active volcano, Mount Bromo, during the blue hour before sunrise and my almighty P30 Pro managed to capture it! I used its ultra-wide angle lens on Pro mode (ISO 3200 and shutter speed 30s) to do the job.
The bright “star” near the Galactic Center of the Milky Way is actually the planet Jupiter. The light pollution below the fog came from the jeeps making their way to the peak to catch the beautiful sunrise.
Although it’s extremely noisy but it’s never an issue to me because most unprocessed astro images are noisy anyway. So I took 20 images taken with P30 Pro and stacked them to reduce the noise and you can see the result below. It’s amazing.
Now this is acceptable to me considering that I’ve only used 20 images to denoise it. I didn’t remove the little vegetation below so as to show you that the image was taken from the same spot as the noisy image above. And here’s the final denoised image
The faint Eta Aquarid meteor is not in the image now if you’re observant enough and that’s because I’ve used the ‘median’ stacking mode and object that is moving or it’s only visible in one frame will likely ‘vanish’. And object that’s not moving or moving very slowly, like the light pollution from the jeeps below the fog, will likely remain there. This technique can also be used to remove crowd from a touristy location. I’m sure you get the idea now. Here’s one more shot of the Milky Way with P30 Pro on 4 May.
Here’s the rest of the images taken with Huawei P30 Pro.
And here’s some images taken with my trusty DSLR.
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