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Photography Under the Stars

A Guest Post by Phil Hart – author of the Shooting Stars eBook (use the code DPSTARS for a 20% discount).

Neil Creek has previously shared some of my astrophotography work on DPS, in the post Ten Astounding Astrophotos by Phil Hart. But whereas that post featured what I call ‘astrophotography’, with telescopes, tracking equatorial mounts and computers, in this post I want to share the simple joy of photographing the night sky with nothing more complicated than a camera and a tripod.

Photography Under the Stars

Sophisticated and computer controlled cameras and telescopes are a mixed blessing. While the images they are capable of are truly stunning, spending a night staring at and blinded by a laptop screen is not the ideal way to enjoy time under the stars.

So for the last year or so I have been concentrating again on more straightforward night sky photography; searching out dark and interesting locations where the earthly foreground contributes to the final image. And rather than an hour or more that it might take to setup for astrophotography, the other advantage of this approach is that I can be snapping away within minutes, but still capturing a scene on camera that the eye can only barely perceive. Of course the other great advantage is that anybody can do it.

Night Sky Scenes

Most nights, I’ll start with relatively short exposures to capture the night sky scene in front of me. Exposures are usually long enough to record more stars and detail in the sky than the eye can see, but not so long that the movement of the stars becomes obvious. It’s extraordinary how much you can capture in just a 30 second exposure with a modern digital SLR, compared to the grainy old days (and nights) of working with film when recording even a hint of the Milky Way was seen as success. Even entry level DSLRs are capable of capturing remarkable detail in the night sky, as in this example below.

Milky Way

The Milky Way, Canon 1100D (Rebel T3), 15-85mm lens @15mm

Star Trails

Having worked every angle I can on the sky and the foreground from a given location, I’ll often choose the framing that I liked the most from the short exposures and place the camera back there. Then I’ll lock the shutter down with a remote release and walk away, leaving the stars to trail across the image and create striking patterns in the sky for a single exposure that could be anything from five minutes to several hours long. Depending on how close I am to a bed or a glass of wine, I might even leave the camera unattended during that time. Other nights though, I’ll be close by in the car or a tent, waiting patiently and making sure the weather doesn’t suddenly turn for the worse.

Star Trails

Image by Shona Dutton & Phil Hart, Nikon D7000, 10-20mm lens @10mm

The Moon

The Moon

Canon 1100D (Rebel T3), 300mm lens + 1.4x teleconverter

When I’m in astrophotography mode, I don’t have many nice things to say about the Moon. Bright moonlight washes out distant galaxies and nebula making most forms of astrophotography impossible, and leaving just one or two weekends of ‘dark sky’ each month. But for night sky photographers, the Moon may well become your favourite target, one that can be photographed among even the bright lights of the city. And while the image below was shot with a full frame camera, in most cases a cropped sensor camera is actually the tool of choice as you try to get in close to our nearest celestial neighbour.

Moon over Melbourne

Moonrise over Melbourne, Canon 5DMKII, 300mm lens + 1.4x teleconverter

So if you enjoy being out on location capturing images of natural or man-made landscapes with your camera, don’t feel you need to pack up when the sun goes down. Rug up with some extra clothes and stick around to capture your favourite locations in ways you may have never seen them before – under the stars!

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Read more from our Tips & Tutorials category.

Phil Hart is an engineer by day and photographer under the stars by night. He is the author of the eBook Shooting Stars and a free Night Sky Photography Newsletter and runs Workshops in and around Melbourne, Australia.

  • Barry E

    I find night photography alot of fun and very interesting . Not only in astro-photography but in landscape. The trick is in the long shutter speed, tripod and a remote.

  • http://midnightrook.blogspot.com Jean-Pierre

    This is one genre I would like to experiment more with, thank you for all the advice!

  • http://www.wildlifeencounters.eu steve slater

    Stars can add a little something to a night scene, even a simple one:

    http://wildlifeencounters.photoshelter.com/gallery-image/Spain-at-night/G0000ELikfNEfQF8/I0000OisprQEU_oo

  • http://philhart.com/ Phil Hart

    thanks Barry, Jean-Pierre and Steve. hope the post motivates you to get out at night and try some more.. sounds like you already have a taste for it!

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/ralphhightower/ Ralph Hightower

    Hap Griffin, an astrophotographer gave a presentation about astrophotography at the local camera club. The MAC-Hunter Observatory Site is a site of five observatories. Hap also modifies DSLRs to increase their sensitivity to hydrogen-alpha light and sells equipment for astrophotography.

    Hap’s presentation inspired me to try my hand at astrophotography. It can be done on the cheap using the equipment that one has for every day photography, all the way to fully invested using specialized equipment that can’t be used for normal photography and telescopes.

    Okay, I didn’t get a photograph of the Milky Way. I was using slow speed film, Kodak T-Max 100, when I took this photo of the night sky.
    [eimg link='http://www.flickr.com/photos/ralphhightower/6951639034/' title='Night Sky' url='http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7260/6951639034_b693930671.jpg']

    This photo of the International Space Station was taken shortly after I took the photograph of the night sky:
    [eimg link='http://www.flickr.com/photos/ralphhightower/7097679125/' title='International Space Station Flyover' url='http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5316/7097679125_5e9c20c736.jpg']
    I have a few frames of the Space Shuttle after she had undocked from the International Space Station. The best photographs that I have were hand-held photographs of the pair heading towards the sunrise. Since it was hand-held, there is movement. My photos using the tripod on another Shuttle mission didn’t turn out.

    I started a photography project in February of photographing twelve months of full moons into 2013. The research that I’ve done of photographing the moon is to use the “Sunny 16″ rule: shutter speed at 1/ISO, lens F-stop at f/16. I bracket at f/11 and f/16

    I have a shot list for the rise and set of the moon: using the 400mm (no filters: f/11, f16, f/22) and 80-205mm at 205 (3 frames using f/11, f/16, f/22 each using Yellow, Orange filter), 205mm using Red filter: f/8, f/11, f/16. So I shoot 12 frames each for the rise and set of the moon: 3 with the 400, 9 at 205 using 3 different filters.
    Full Flower Moon (May)
    [eimg link='http://www.flickr.com/photos/ralphhightower/7178367568/' title='Full Flower Moon (May) aka "Super Moon"' url='http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7213/7178367568_f703dd5720.jpg'][eimg url='http://twitpic.com/qy0lm' title='qy0lm']

    My Moon Project 2012-2013:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/ralphhightower/collections/72157629432950373/

  • http://www.clickudos.com/ rohit kothari

    hi phil,
    first of all awesome post secondly i want to ask something the last picture you clicked is photoshoped? i mean its really a nice detail moon look so big and unnatural and i tried doing star trait but not able to succeed using canon 60d i ll be glad if you put more light on star trait “i lock down shutter with a remote release and walk away” what does it mean will it allow you to take continuous picture

  • http://www.ecuadormeyers.com David Meyer

    I would love a more detailed tutorial describing details such as appropriate aperture vs. shutter speed as well as some suggestions for properly post-processing the images. For example, I know most good star trail images are stacked, but I’d love some suggestions on how best to set them up. Thanks for the motivating post. I hope there will be more!

  • Dean Addison

    I agree with David Meyer. I’d love to see more specifics, I’d love to have a go so specifics would be awesome if it were possible. Keep up the good work, on your site. Love it. Thanks.

  • Lesley Norris

    Like David I would love a more detailed tutorial describing appropriate aperture vs. shutter speed. I would also like any suggestions for shooting the Northern Lights. I have tried on several occassions and it never really works.

  • Craig

    Reading these always troubles me a bit. I have tried taking pictures of the sky before using a 30 sec exposure, but I always get star trails. Yet I see images above and am left to wonder what I am doing wrong???

    Any ideas?

  • pete selkowe

    Beautiful pictures…but for tutorials of this sort, it sure would be nice to also have exif data: f-stop, length of exposure, ISO. Just as a starting point for the rest of us. Some of this shows up in my browser after effort on my part (reopening the pictures individually in another window), but not all of it.

  • http://philhart.com/ Phil Hart

    hi David and Dean,

    I have 100+ pages with all the instructions you could dream of in my Shooting Stars eBook including post processing examples. and you get the discount with the code DPSTARS as mentioned at the top of this post. i’d like to write some short instructional posts in the future but Shooting Stars is the way to go! i hope you’ll check it out :-). See the links in my bio above..

    Phil

  • Mike

    What’s the best way to expose and stack an image much like the one you made of Lake Eppalock?

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/ralphhightower/ Ralph Hightower

    I found this Moon Project on Petapixel. It’s very impressive turning a lunar cycle into a movie.

    Lunacycle: Photographing and Animating a Lunar Cycle
    http://www.petapixel.com/2012/05/25/lunacycle-photographing-and-animating-a-lunar-cycle/

  • http://philhart.com/ Phil Hart

    Craig.. even in my milky way image above there is some trailing of the stars but viewing the picture as a whole it is not too bad. the wider the lens the better. of course i discuss this in detail in the book above.. including why the stars move faster in some parts of the sky than others.

  • http://philhart.com/ Phil Hart

    mike.. the lake eppalock image is a sequence of 5 minute exposures stacked together, but i take a lot of my star trails now as single images 15 minutes or up to an hour long. other people stack lots of very short exposures. there are pros and cons to both ways of doing it.

  • http://jeffejensen.blogspot.com Jeff E Jensen

    I love shooting at night. I can’t wait to get back up in the mountains over the next few months. I’ve also started playing with stars and time lapse. Tricky, but fun.

    http://blog.jeffejensenphotography.com/2012/04/stars-over-kolob.html

  • http://www.photography-girl.com/ Photography Girl

    That is some inspirational stuff. Thanks for all the enthusiasm to offer such helpful information about this kind of photography. I enjoy all the photographs in this post.

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/ralphhightower/ Ralph Hightower

    I have a “Moon Project” for 2/2012-1/2013 to photograph the Full Moons. The research that I’ve done suggest using the “Sunny 16″ rule: set the shutter speed to one over the ISO and the lens to f/16. For my shots, I bracket one stop over and one under. I have a shoot list for the rise and set of the moon: 400mm f/11, f/16, f22; 205mm f/11, f/16, and f/22, 3 using the Yellow filter, 3 using the Orange filter; for the Red filter at 205: f/8, f/11, and f/16.
    My Moon Project Collection: http://www.flickr.com/photos/ralphhightower/collections/72157629432950373/

    I took a photograph of the night sky using my 28mm lens and ISO 100 speed film (Kodak T-Max-100). At this slow speed, I don’t have the Milky Way, but I have stars.
    [eimg link='http://www.flickr.com/photos/ralphhightower/6951639034/' title='Night Sky' url='http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7260/6951639034_b693930671.jpg']
    After that photo was done, the International Space Station made a pass over my location:
    [eimg link='http://www.flickr.com/photos/ralphhightower/7097679125/' title='International Space Station Flyover' url='http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5316/7097679125_5e9c20c736.jpg']
    I also have a few frames of the Space Shuttle after she had undocked from the Space Station. I didn’t have time to grabe the tripod and set it up, so it was a 30 second hand-held exposure.

    Hap Griffin, an astrophotographer (Google him for info), gave a presentation on astrophotography at the local camera club.There are three levels of investment in astrophotography: 1) Cheap: Use the gear you have; 2) Medium: Get a telescope with tracking; 3) Expensive: Use photography gear that can’t be used for everyday photography, His website: http://www.machunter.org/

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/ralphhightower/ Ralph Hightower

    I have a “Moon Project” for 2/2012-1/2013 to photograph the Full Moons. The research that I’ve done suggest using the “Sunny 16″ rule: set the shutter speed to one over the ISO and the lens to f/16. For my shots, I bracket one stop over and one under. I have a shoot list for the rise and set of the moon: 400mm f/11, f/16, f22; 205mm f/11, f/16, and f/22, 3 using the Yellow filter, 3 using the Orange filter; for the Red filter at 205: f/8, f/11, and f/16.

    My Moon Project Collection: http://www.flickr.com/photos/ralphhightower/collections/72157629432950373/

    I took a photograph of the night sky using my 28mm lens and ISO 100 speed film (Kodak T-Max 100). At this slow speed, I don’t have the Milky Way, but I have stars.

    [eimg link='http://www.flickr.com/photos/ralphhightower/6951639034/' title='Night Sky' url='http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7260/6951639034_b693930671.jpg']

    After that photo was done, the International Space Station made a pass over my location:

    [eimg link='http://www.flickr.com/photos/ralphhightower/7097679125/' title='International Space Station Flyover' url='http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5316/7097679125_5e9c20c736.jpg']
    I also have a few frames of the Space Shuttle after she had undocked from the Space Station. I didn’t have time to grabe the tripod and set it up, so it was a 30 second hand-held exposure.

  • http://www.charlesrstafford.com Charles Stafford

    Love night photography, just dont get out of the city enough. but when i do. . .

  • http://jeanmckinstry.blogspot.co.nz Jean McKinstry

    Hi, What is the best way to get photos of the Venus Transit on June 6th. I am in New Zealand and am told this is a good place to get some great shots.However I find I need a solar lens, 2 really good camera shops do not have them, one had not even heard of it.Is there any safe way I can make my own to fit over a lens hood, other than using a welder’s mask, welder’s face mask or welding goggles. This is a once in a lifetime chance, and from what I can see on the net, Venus will appear as a very small black dot on the sun’s image..I have a Canon 550D, with a telephoto 55-250 lens, and a very good tripod as well.Any suggestions would be so much appreciated. Thanks, Jean McKinstry in NZ.

  • Justin

    I switched over to digital about 12 years ago, and while I did some astro-photography in my younger days, since switching to digital, I just haven’t given it much thought. No real reason, just kind of worked out that way. Therefore, I had no idea there was so much difference between the results you could get with film and the results you can get with digital. GREAT thing to point out. THANKS!

  • http://www.marcusdavisphotography.blogspot.com Marcus Davis

    Simply amazing…. The star trail photo was amazing.

    My best shot at night was a few weeks ago with the “super moon”. That is by far, the best image I have ever gotten of the moon.

    I can’t wait to find some time to get away from the bright lights of Dallas and try out some of these “celestial wonders”.

  • m zank

    Are shots like these possible with a P&S? I have a Canon PowerShot SX40 HS…it never seems to work. When I try to manually setup the aperture/shutter speed, I usually get a total white pic!

  • http://www.lensmankc.com Amit Jung kc

    nice to know and really nice article…
    i just want to know that to take star-trail photos…filters are necessary or not ?

  • http://philhart.com/ Phil Hart

    filters not necessary for night photography!

  • http://www.graphicbomb2.com Fermin Chavera

    Whats tough now is how the laid out appearance to life is not revolutionized. This may sound confusing? It is nearly as if we walk through life with glasses on, not understanding the true fate of our own destiny.

  • Guest

    please help me find this picture. my photos from my phone got deleted and I really want this picture back. please and thank you

  • Tiffany Mooney

    please help me find this picture. my photos from my phone get deleted and I’d really like this picture back. please and thank you

  • http://blogs.gonomad.com/traveltalesfromindia/ Mridula Dwivedi

    Lovely images. I have just started taking an interest in dusk/night photography and the tip about the exposure is handy for me. I am looking for more tips on exposure. https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=696550173688367&set=a.337128059630582.92972.327353690608019&type=1

  • frank

    get out there and take the picture yourself Tiffany

  • Syed Ghazanfer

    she is a blonde…wht do u expect frm her…lol

  • jumbybird

    Camera and lens don’t tell me anything. The aperture and shutter speed is the information that translates across various equipment. You give general numbers, but for the photos you shared, that info is a necessary guide.

  • Leif-Harald

    This is all done in post production. There are no ways of taking pictures with an dslr, and get the above result. Its all done later. And it is a LOT of work. Trust me. Ive done it. Results are GREAT. But its no where near point and shoot.

  • Dave Lister

    I sure some of it (the Milky way shot for instance) is done in post but the shots of the moon or the star trails are quite easy to do with a minimum of pp.

  • deborah

    nice photos but the article did not actually help me to know how to take these photos…

  • Scott Schaffer

    I guess we’re just supposed to buy the book…

  • Neil Creek

    I’m not sure what you mean by “all done in post” but if you mean “faked” I can assure you they’re not. All of the photos above were created in camera with some post processing afterwards to enhance the look. The star trail is an exception, but the post work was simply to combine a series of dozens of photos taken continuously to create a single long exposure.

    I work with Phil and was present when some of these photos were taken. They are photos that anyone with a DSLR, tripod and the right knowledge can take. Give it a try and you’ll see for yourself :)

  • Neil Creek

    This post is more a tour of the kind of shots you can create with a DSLR and a tripod under the night sky, rather than a tutorial. However if you would like to learn more, I would recommend you visit Phil’s facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/nightskyphotography

    There he (and I as co-admin) would be happy to answer all of your specific questions about how to shoot the night sky. I can also highly recommend Phil’s ebook as an excellent guide to all you need to know for shooting the stars.

  • Vincent Machard

    would love a few tips on focusing, with and without a infinity sign on the lens, cant seem to focus my photo’s ….

  • Phil Hart

    Checkout the photos on our Night Sky Photography Facebook Page. I try to post full exposure details for all the images I post there:

    https://www.facebook.com/nightskyphotography?v=wall

  • Pete
  • O.o

Some older comments

  • Fermin Chavera

    June 21, 2012 01:26 pm

    Whats tough now is how the laid out appearance to life is not revolutionized. This may sound confusing? It is nearly as if we walk through life with glasses on, not understanding the true fate of our own destiny.

  • Phil Hart

    June 8, 2012 03:11 am

    filters not necessary for night photography!

  • Amit Jung kc

    June 6, 2012 08:17 pm

    nice to know and really nice article...
    i just want to know that to take star-trail photos...filters are necessary or not ?

  • m zank

    June 4, 2012 05:48 pm

    Are shots like these possible with a P&S? I have a Canon PowerShot SX40 HS...it never seems to work. When I try to manually setup the aperture/shutter speed, I usually get a total white pic!

  • Marcus Davis

    June 3, 2012 01:18 am

    Simply amazing.... The star trail photo was amazing.

    My best shot at night was a few weeks ago with the "super moon". That is by far, the best image I have ever gotten of the moon.

    I can't wait to find some time to get away from the bright lights of Dallas and try out some of these "celestial wonders".

  • Justin

    June 1, 2012 09:21 am

    I switched over to digital about 12 years ago, and while I did some astro-photography in my younger days, since switching to digital, I just haven't given it much thought. No real reason, just kind of worked out that way. Therefore, I had no idea there was so much difference between the results you could get with film and the results you can get with digital. GREAT thing to point out. THANKS!

  • Jean McKinstry

    June 1, 2012 03:40 am

    Hi, What is the best way to get photos of the Venus Transit on June 6th. I am in New Zealand and am told this is a good place to get some great shots.However I find I need a solar lens, 2 really good camera shops do not have them, one had not even heard of it.Is there any safe way I can make my own to fit over a lens hood, other than using a welder's mask, welder's face mask or welding goggles. This is a once in a lifetime chance, and from what I can see on the net, Venus will appear as a very small black dot on the sun's image..I have a Canon 550D, with a telephoto 55-250 lens, and a very good tripod as well.Any suggestions would be so much appreciated. Thanks, Jean McKinstry in NZ.

  • Charles Stafford

    June 1, 2012 02:45 am

    Love night photography, just dont get out of the city enough. but when i do. . .

  • Ralph Hightower

    May 29, 2012 08:09 am

    I have a "Moon Project" for 2/2012-1/2013 to photograph the Full Moons. The research that I've done suggest using the "Sunny 16" rule: set the shutter speed to one over the ISO and the lens to f/16. For my shots, I bracket one stop over and one under. I have a shoot list for the rise and set of the moon: 400mm f/11, f/16, f22; 205mm f/11, f/16, and f/22, 3 using the Yellow filter, 3 using the Orange filter; for the Red filter at 205: f/8, f/11, and f/16.

    My Moon Project Collection: http://www.flickr.com/photos/ralphhightower/collections/72157629432950373/

    I took a photograph of the night sky using my 28mm lens and ISO 100 speed film (Kodak T-Max 100). At this slow speed, I don't have the Milky Way, but I have stars.

    [eimg link='http://www.flickr.com/photos/ralphhightower/6951639034/' title='Night Sky' url='http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7260/6951639034_b693930671.jpg']

    After that photo was done, the International Space Station made a pass over my location:

    [eimg link='http://www.flickr.com/photos/ralphhightower/7097679125/' title='International Space Station Flyover' url='http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5316/7097679125_5e9c20c736.jpg']
    I also have a few frames of the Space Shuttle after she had undocked from the Space Station. I didn't have time to grabe the tripod and set it up, so it was a 30 second hand-held exposure.

  • Ralph Hightower

    May 29, 2012 02:40 am

    I have a "Moon Project" for 2/2012-1/2013 to photograph the Full Moons. The research that I've done suggest using the "Sunny 16" rule: set the shutter speed to one over the ISO and the lens to f/16. For my shots, I bracket one stop over and one under. I have a shoot list for the rise and set of the moon: 400mm f/11, f/16, f22; 205mm f/11, f/16, and f/22, 3 using the Yellow filter, 3 using the Orange filter; for the Red filter at 205: f/8, f/11, and f/16.
    My Moon Project Collection: http://www.flickr.com/photos/ralphhightower/collections/72157629432950373/

    I took a photograph of the night sky using my 28mm lens and ISO 100 speed film (Kodak T-Max-100). At this slow speed, I don't have the Milky Way, but I have stars.
    [eimg link='http://www.flickr.com/photos/ralphhightower/6951639034/' title='Night Sky' url='http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7260/6951639034_b693930671.jpg']
    After that photo was done, the International Space Station made a pass over my location:
    [eimg link='http://www.flickr.com/photos/ralphhightower/7097679125/' title='International Space Station Flyover' url='http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5316/7097679125_5e9c20c736.jpg']
    I also have a few frames of the Space Shuttle after she had undocked from the Space Station. I didn't have time to grabe the tripod and set it up, so it was a 30 second hand-held exposure.

    Hap Griffin, an astrophotographer (Google him for info), gave a presentation on astrophotography at the local camera club.There are three levels of investment in astrophotography: 1) Cheap: Use the gear you have; 2) Medium: Get a telescope with tracking; 3) Expensive: Use photography gear that can't be used for everyday photography, His website: http://www.machunter.org/

  • Photography Girl

    May 28, 2012 05:16 pm

    That is some inspirational stuff. Thanks for all the enthusiasm to offer such helpful information about this kind of photography. I enjoy all the photographs in this post.

  • Jeff E Jensen

    May 28, 2012 07:00 am

    I love shooting at night. I can't wait to get back up in the mountains over the next few months. I've also started playing with stars and time lapse. Tricky, but fun.

    http://blog.jeffejensenphotography.com/2012/04/stars-over-kolob.html

  • Phil Hart

    May 27, 2012 07:38 pm

    mike.. the lake eppalock image is a sequence of 5 minute exposures stacked together, but i take a lot of my star trails now as single images 15 minutes or up to an hour long. other people stack lots of very short exposures. there are pros and cons to both ways of doing it.

  • Phil Hart

    May 27, 2012 07:35 pm

    Craig.. even in my milky way image above there is some trailing of the stars but viewing the picture as a whole it is not too bad. the wider the lens the better. of course i discuss this in detail in the book above.. including why the stars move faster in some parts of the sky than others.

  • Ralph Hightower

    May 27, 2012 01:57 am

    I found this Moon Project on Petapixel. It's very impressive turning a lunar cycle into a movie.

    Lunacycle: Photographing and Animating a Lunar Cycle
    http://www.petapixel.com/2012/05/25/lunacycle-photographing-and-animating-a-lunar-cycle/

  • Mike

    May 27, 2012 01:24 am

    What's the best way to expose and stack an image much like the one you made of Lake Eppalock?

  • Phil Hart

    May 26, 2012 06:55 pm

    hi David and Dean,

    I have 100+ pages with all the instructions you could dream of in my Shooting Stars eBook including post processing examples. and you get the discount with the code DPSTARS as mentioned at the top of this post. i'd like to write some short instructional posts in the future but Shooting Stars is the way to go! i hope you'll check it out :-). See the links in my bio above..

    Phil

  • pete selkowe

    May 26, 2012 02:30 pm

    Beautiful pictures...but for tutorials of this sort, it sure would be nice to also have exif data: f-stop, length of exposure, ISO. Just as a starting point for the rest of us. Some of this shows up in my browser after effort on my part (reopening the pictures individually in another window), but not all of it.

  • Craig

    May 26, 2012 12:32 pm

    Reading these always troubles me a bit. I have tried taking pictures of the sky before using a 30 sec exposure, but I always get star trails. Yet I see images above and am left to wonder what I am doing wrong???

    Any ideas?

  • Lesley Norris

    May 26, 2012 12:09 pm

    Like David I would love a more detailed tutorial describing appropriate aperture vs. shutter speed. I would also like any suggestions for shooting the Northern Lights. I have tried on several occassions and it never really works.

  • Dean Addison

    May 26, 2012 11:58 am

    I agree with David Meyer. I'd love to see more specifics, I'd love to have a go so specifics would be awesome if it were possible. Keep up the good work, on your site. Love it. Thanks.

  • David Meyer

    May 26, 2012 10:40 am

    I would love a more detailed tutorial describing details such as appropriate aperture vs. shutter speed as well as some suggestions for properly post-processing the images. For example, I know most good star trail images are stacked, but I'd love some suggestions on how best to set them up. Thanks for the motivating post. I hope there will be more!

  • rohit kothari

    May 26, 2012 10:36 am

    hi phil,
    first of all awesome post secondly i want to ask something the last picture you clicked is photoshoped? i mean its really a nice detail moon look so big and unnatural and i tried doing star trait but not able to succeed using canon 60d i ll be glad if you put more light on star trait "i lock down shutter with a remote release and walk away" what does it mean will it allow you to take continuous picture

  • Ralph Hightower

    May 26, 2012 09:52 am

    Hap Griffin, an astrophotographer gave a presentation about astrophotography at the local camera club. The MAC-Hunter Observatory Site is a site of five observatories. Hap also modifies DSLRs to increase their sensitivity to hydrogen-alpha light and sells equipment for astrophotography.

    Hap's presentation inspired me to try my hand at astrophotography. It can be done on the cheap using the equipment that one has for every day photography, all the way to fully invested using specialized equipment that can't be used for normal photography and telescopes.

    Okay, I didn't get a photograph of the Milky Way. I was using slow speed film, Kodak T-Max 100, when I took this photo of the night sky.
    [eimg link='http://www.flickr.com/photos/ralphhightower/6951639034/' title='Night Sky' url='http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7260/6951639034_b693930671.jpg']

    This photo of the International Space Station was taken shortly after I took the photograph of the night sky:
    [eimg link='http://www.flickr.com/photos/ralphhightower/7097679125/' title='International Space Station Flyover' url='http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5316/7097679125_5e9c20c736.jpg']
    I have a few frames of the Space Shuttle after she had undocked from the International Space Station. The best photographs that I have were hand-held photographs of the pair heading towards the sunrise. Since it was hand-held, there is movement. My photos using the tripod on another Shuttle mission didn't turn out.

    I started a photography project in February of photographing twelve months of full moons into 2013. The research that I've done of photographing the moon is to use the "Sunny 16" rule: shutter speed at 1/ISO, lens F-stop at f/16. I bracket at f/11 and f/16

    I have a shot list for the rise and set of the moon: using the 400mm (no filters: f/11, f16, f/22) and 80-205mm at 205 (3 frames using f/11, f/16, f/22 each using Yellow, Orange filter), 205mm using Red filter: f/8, f/11, f/16. So I shoot 12 frames each for the rise and set of the moon: 3 with the 400, 9 at 205 using 3 different filters.
    Full Flower Moon (May)
    [eimg link='http://www.flickr.com/photos/ralphhightower/7178367568/' title='Full Flower Moon (May) aka "Super Moon"' url='http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7213/7178367568_f703dd5720.jpg'][eimg url='http://twitpic.com/qy0lm' title='qy0lm']

    My Moon Project 2012-2013:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/ralphhightower/collections/72157629432950373/

  • Phil Hart

    May 26, 2012 07:42 am

    thanks Barry, Jean-Pierre and Steve. hope the post motivates you to get out at night and try some more.. sounds like you already have a taste for it!

  • steve slater

    May 26, 2012 03:38 am

    Stars can add a little something to a night scene, even a simple one:

    http://wildlifeencounters.photoshelter.com/gallery-image/Spain-at-night/G0000ELikfNEfQF8/I0000OisprQEU_oo

  • Jean-Pierre

    May 26, 2012 03:20 am

    This is one genre I would like to experiment more with, thank you for all the advice!

  • Barry E

    May 26, 2012 03:10 am

    I find night photography alot of fun and very interesting . Not only in astro-photography but in landscape. The trick is in the long shutter speed, tripod and a remote.

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