Monday, August 13, 2012

Night Sky Photography

I was asked to write about how I took pictures at night.First off, it is incredibly easy to achieve beautiful results. You don’t need a top of the line DSLR or expensive glass. All you need is a camera that you can adjust the exposure manually and a tripod. 

Obviously, you need a clear night, but a few clouds is actually a good thing. A wide angle lens is usually best, a kit lens set at 18mm will work just fine. Mount your camera on a tripod, put it in manual mode, and try these settings. Turn your iso up to 3200 (it might only go to 1600), open your aperture to F/3.5, and set your shutter all the way at 30 seconds. Put your camera in manual focus and turn it all the way to infinity. If the image is too bright, turn your iso down, if it is too dark, turn it up. Find a place in the sky where the stars are easily visible but there is also some sort of subject; cars, cityscapes, lonely trees, airplanes, and anything else interesting make great subjects. Look for other light sources or moving objects that might be interesting as well. Anything that is moving will be blurry or even not existent in the final image since your shutter is open so long. Just to the right of the image I shot was a warehouse with bright lights, which is why the bottom right of my image is so bright. I shoot everything in RAW which allows me much more flexibility in post processing. For my image, I adjusted it in camera RAW and then opened it in Photoshop and turned the contrast up and did an exposure adjustment layer. 

Go out and try it. Let me know if you have any questions :)