Here's a neat trick when shooting the heavens. If you live in a light polluted area or just want to shoot in black and white, try a Hydrogen-Alpha filter. The filter I use, from Baader, isolates the Hydrogen Alpha wavelength (the deep red of nebulas) and lets no other light through the filter. The result is a very contrasty image with almost no ambient light pollution. This allows you to photograph nebulas as if you were shooting from deep in the woods of northern Maine with not a hint of light pollution for a hundred miles or more. I did this photograph from my backyard in Bedford, NH
This photograph is of the famous horsehead nebula and it's companions, the bright winter star Alnitak and the flame nebula. These nebulas are both bisected with thick clouds of interstellar dust giving the appearance of black lanes within the nebulas. This particular photo is a composite of 15 10 minute exposures with my Canon 350d and Takahashi E-160 telescope. This stellar nursery is 1600 light years away from Earth, the nearest star birthing region to us, literally in our celestial backyard. I create black and white shots like this by cutting the red channel out of the photo and pasting it into the blue and green channels in photoshop, this gives grayscale.
This, as well as all my other photographs, are posted at http://www.bedfordnights.com
Next up... The Great Orion Nebula!