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Star/Night Sky Photography Beginner Tips?
  
 
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p.1 #1 · Star/Night Sky Photography Beginner Tips?


I've been shooting for years and years, but have never even attempted to take a picture of the stars in the night sky. I was wondering if you guys had any tips or tricks you have come across to get the best picture possible of the stars. Clearly a substantial tripod is a must, but past that what do you guys do to get the amazing pictures you take?

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Suggestions Thus Far:
  • 600 Rule - Divide 600 by your focal length to get your maximum shutter speed allowed before streaking occurs in the stars.
  • Use foreground objects to add interest into the photo. Paint with light if needed.



    Edited on Apr 10, 2014 at 11:50 PM · View previous versions


  • Apr 09, 2014 at 08:16 PM
    camboman
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    p.1 #2 · Star/Night Sky Photography Beginner Tips?


    My basic formula = 21mm lens, f 2.8, ISO 3200, 25 seconds, best taken with a new moon (darkest night) as far from any population centers as possible (light pollution).

    Too long an exposure and the stars will streak - google "600 rule" for more info.

    Other than that, find an interesting foreground element and try your hand at light painting.

    Good luck!



    Apr 09, 2014 at 08:30 PM
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    p.1 #3 · Star/Night Sky Photography Beginner Tips?


    The 600 rule is an amazing thing! I will definitely abide by it and see how it goes.

    Here is a site with some great insight into the 600 rule: http://www.capturingthenight.com/astrophotography-and-the-600-rule/



    Apr 09, 2014 at 08:39 PM
    Dustin Gent
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    p.1 #4 · Star/Night Sky Photography Beginner Tips?


    There are no perfect settings. Trial and error. Good starting points were stated above. ISO between 1600-3000 and faster the lens, the better and maybe 25 seconds ..


    Apr 10, 2014 at 03:45 AM
    sssettlejr
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    p.1 #5 · Star/Night Sky Photography Beginner Tips?


    In my experience (which isn't much) this is the hardest type of photography and you will need to practice. Don't forget to take a dark frame! Also, I had a really hard time typing to get the stars in focus, try figuring out where your infinite is on your lens in the day so it will be easier to find at night (you don't want to go past it).



    Apr 10, 2014 at 02:00 PM
    krementz
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    p.1 #6 · Star/Night Sky Photography Beginner Tips?


    1st, decide if you want star trails or not. Generally you need to be less than 30 seconds for pinpoint stars, and a lot less with a longer lens (600 "rule").

    For interesting star trails you need to be well over a minute. In between times tend to look like mistakes/ blurry.

    2nd, do want dark skies/no moon, or bright sky/big moon for landscape lighting? Relatively few stars can be seen with moon; Milky Way is only visible with very little moon.

    Key hardware is a solid tripod and a lens you can focus in the dark. You might want to prefocus in light, then tape the lens at actual infinity. Have a very low power flashlight so you can check your settings without blinding yourself. Tripod techniques: mirror up, 2 second delay, remote shutter, intervalometer, etc. Practice in daylight. For very long exposure, use black cardboard for shutter and a manual timer.

    Bug spray, pillow or chair, music, etc Be comfortable and have fun!



    Apr 10, 2014 at 02:20 PM
     

    Search in Used Dept. 



    dgdg
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    p.1 #7 · Star/Night Sky Photography Beginner Tips?


    Well, this comprises a lot of things for sure.
    As mentioned, it depends on what you are after with your photos.
    I think most people here on FM treat the night sky as part of an astro landscape as opposed to pure sky imaging which is an entirely different and very expensive adventure.

    Some basic main ideas come to mind -
    1. The foreground is just as important as the sky. This means you still want a great composition ideally shot in twilight (or with a little moon light) so you have nice detail instead of a black silhouette.
    2. Get the sturdiest tripod and ball head you can buy. Even a little wind can affect the sharpness of a long exposure.
    3. Star trails and/or pin point stars? Both are cool. Search the web for people that do this to get ideas on what you can aim for.
    4. Dark clear moonless skies bring out the most star detail but this is not essential for a great astro landscape. Dark sky maps on the internet can help you.
    5. You mentioned you wanted the best star detail? You will want a star tracker so you can lower your ISO. Then take multiple images and stack them for more noise reduction.
    6. Fast lens with little coma. Go to lenstip.com and look at the lens reviews, particularly for coma.
    7. Low noise full frame sensor. The D800(E) or the Canon 6D, 5DIII are great for low noise. I'm sure there are other brands but these come up the most often from my reading.
    8. Dew kills me. Only in Canyonlands have I not experienced dew. Once the ambient temperature passes the dew point, your lens will dew up and kill your detail. Get a cheap dew heater controller and strap and cheap jump start battery with a 12v supply plug. I have a Kendrick controller and a strap that is large enough for all my lenses.
    9. Post processing is probably more important, or I'd definitely say much more difficult, than capturing a great image. Search the web for tips. I like Adam Block's Every Pixel Perfect video series - amazing.
    Have fun!

    David



    Apr 10, 2014 at 04:08 PM
    jonnyt5050
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    p.1 #8 · Star/Night Sky Photography Beginner Tips?



    Question for the Star pros:

    If shooting stars, would I generally get better results from a 24mm/1.4 or a 14-24mm/2.8 lens? (I shoot Nikon).

    And then how wide of an aperture would be best?

    Thanks!



    Apr 10, 2014 at 08:01 PM
    dgdg
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    p.1 #9 · Star/Night Sky Photography Beginner Tips?


    Again, you need to go to lenstip.com and research possible lenses.
    For the Nikon 24mm 1.4, looks like coma is pretty bad. I'd pass.
    Your zoom is fairly good -
    http://www.lenstip.com/295.7-Lens_review-Nikon_Nikkor_AF-S_14-24_mm_f_2.8G_ED_Coma_and_astigmatism.html
    So I would use it instead of the 24mm 1.4

    David



    Apr 11, 2014 at 12:38 PM
    Mr Joe
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    p.1 #10 · Star/Night Sky Photography Beginner Tips?


    Here's a Landscape Astrophotography Primer from Luminous Landscape: http://www.luminous-landscape.com/techniques/landscape_astrophotography.shtml


    Apr 11, 2014 at 02:54 PM
    jonnyt5050
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    p.1 #11 · Star/Night Sky Photography Beginner Tips?



    Thanks David.

    And thanks again for that website. Definitely helpful!



    Apr 11, 2014 at 03:16 PM





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