Astrophotography (The Night Sky)

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sjj1805
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Astrophotography (The Night Sky)

Post by sjj1805 » Thu Jan 20, 2011 1:43 am

Surprisingly good quality, wide-angle photographs of the night sky can be made by almost anyone using readily available single lens reflex 35 mm traditional film or digital cameras.This method of photographing is known as Astrophotography.
  • Mount the camera on a sturdy tripod. Load the camera with high-speed (at least ISO 200) film, or set the digital camera speed to between 200 and 800. (400 film speed and higher will be noticeably grainier.)
  • Turn off the autofocus mechanism, and manually set the focus ring of the lens to just before infinity (or landscape/distance autofocus setting). If you are including a foreground in your image, make sure to take two images, one with the stars in focus and one with the foreground in focus. These can be combined later in most editing programs.
  • Set the shutter speed to either the bulb setting, or a range of settings between about 2 and 30 seconds.
  • Point the camera at the desired area of the sky, trip the shutter (preferably using a cable release, or the camera's self-timer in order to minimize vibration), and keep the shutter open for the desired length of time.
  • Set the widest aperture, lowest f-stop for your lens.

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sjj1805
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Joined: Fri Oct 27, 2006 12:45 am
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Re: Astrophotography (The Night Sky)

Post by sjj1805 » Thu Jan 20, 2011 1:46 am

Step 1 Mounting the camera and setting the speed.

Light levels at night are very low hence a tripod stand is necessary to hold the camera still. Mount the camera on the tripod stand. If you are using the traditional camera then load the camera with a high speed film (Min ISO 200). For digital camera set the speed between 200 and 800. Optional: if you have telescope or telephoto lenses then you can connect it to your camera.
Step 2 Turn off the auto focus mechanism

Turn the auto focus mechanism off and then manually set the ring of the lens to infinity and opt the T-setting on the shutter control ring.
Step 3 Shutter Speed

Using the shutter speed option you can decide on how long the lens aperture will remain open. Using longer exposures you can film or shoot good distant, dimmer objects such as nebulae or dim stars. You may even put it in a mode wherein the shutter will remain open until the shutter release is pressed again. You can set the shutter speed to the bulb setting, or can set it at a range of settings between 2 and 40 seconds.
Step 4: Positioning Yourself

Search for a relative potion on the ground in a way where you can see the entire sky. The best option can be a huge terrace where you can frame the sky. However you have to check that there is no obstacle coming in between such as buildings or trees.
Step 5: Position the camera and start shooting.

Position the camera at the preferred area wherein you can frame the sky. Adjust the timer settings of the camera according to the desired time. Now trip the shutter it is better if you do this by using cable release/remote control in order to minimize the distortion. To make sure that you actually capture the sky pictures you need to ‘bracket’ your exposures. Means plan in a way of having minimum 4-5 exposures for every photograph you want. This will help you to choose the best photograph out of it.

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White Balance

Post by sjj1805 » Thu Jan 20, 2011 2:12 am

Digital "Film": Just like with analog film, the key to night sky photography is a fast ISO setting for your electronic detector. ISO 200 to 400 both work great for night sky photography but, the higher the ISO number, the more likely there will be "noise" in your images. Since the color response of digital cameras to star and sky light can be controlled, the white-balance should be set to "daylight", if possible, or altered to produce the colors that are most pleasing to you. The real advantage of digital imaging is the immediate feedback. Quality photos with exposures more than a minute or so are just not possible with digital. For this you will need film.

Recommendation: Start with ISO 200 and a white-balance set to "daylight", and make changes as you go.

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