How to Shoot the Night Sky

We have all seen beautiful pictures of our galaxy as if made with a telescope. In reality, however, provided you have a suitable camera, you can create your own unique image of the night sky. So in this article we will show you one of the ways to capture the Milky Way.

What you need:

1. Camera with the possibility of shooting with a high light sensitivity (ISO). It is better to maintain levels up to 6400;
2. Lens with wide aperture - f1.4, f2.8 or at least f3.5;
3. Tripod;
4. Remote Trigger;

How to take a picture of the Milky Way:

1. Find a suitable location

In order to make a good photo of the night sky, it is best to move away from the city in order to avoid the so-called "light pollution" so the stars can appear brighter.

2. Select the appropriate time

Use moonless nights and preferably shoot in the summer months when the sky is dark and the contrast with the stars is greater. In the northern hemisphere the Milky Way can be seen best from February to September. It is located in the southern part of the sky and extends from west to east.

3. Position the camera

Put the camera on a tripod and turn on the remote trigger (if you don’t have one, turn on the timer shots to avoid shaking when shooting). This will deal with the vibrations. If you have a feature for vibration reduction (vibrance reduction) on the lens - turn it off because otherwise the motor will create vibration during long exposures.

4. Focus

Select a brighter star of the sky on which to focus. However, if the device cannot handle, switch to manual focus and use the markers of length on the lens to focus at infinity. Make a few test shots by changing the focus to optimally adjust it while checking whether the image is in focus by zooming the image on the screen of the device.

5. Set the ISO

High levels of ISO are important to capture enough light from the Milky Way. Start with a value of 3200. Depending on the other settings of the camera it is possible to decrease or increase the value (but not more than 6400, because after these levels it is difficult to fix the noise).

6. Set the correct shutter speed

Too long shutter speeds will prevent proper recording of the Milky Way, because this way the camera will capture the movement of the earth to the stars and you will get "tails" (star trails). Use the rule of 500 – divide 500 to the focal length of your lens.

If you use a full-frame camera and a lens of 24 mm, the formula is 500/24 = 20.83. Then set the shutter speed to 20 seconds.

If you use a crop factor camera, you should search the value of the crop factor of your brand equipment. For Nikon for example it is 1.5, for Canon it is 1.6. Then you must first multiply the focal length of the lens on the crop factor and then divide 500 – 24x1.5 = 36; 500/36 = 13.89. The shutter speed should be 13 seconds. In this case it may be necessary to set higher ISO values.

7. Shoot with wide open aperture

Set the widest open aperture of the lens. This way you will capture more light, which in this case is the most important part of the process of shooting.

8. Processing

It is best to shoot in Raw format - if your camera supports it. So it will be easier to process the image afterward. There is no way to strictly drawn processing, but usually you have to enhance the contrast and the sharpness and reduce the noise.

As you can see, the shooting of the Milky Way is not so complicated, so find the right place and try.

published by:
Divine - Bulgaria

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