Up for Discussion – Astrophotography
Last week I mentioned how I was getting into something new and trying out taking photos of the stars. When I talked about it last week, many of you had lots of advice, but I thought it would be great to get all that advice together in a special post. So today’s post is about Astrophotography and hopefully a place for lots of information.
I can’t lie, I don’t really know what I am doing when it comes to photographing the stars. I’ve done some reading and watched some tutorials, but I can be stubborn and just try to learn as I go. I did try doing some a couple of years without any research and it was a massive fail, so this time I have done some and I have had some results.
The type of photography I’ve been doing has been more to get the stars. Setting the camera up on the tripod, putting it manual then setting the ISO on 2000, or thereabouts, aperture f/2.8 and then the shutter speed at 30 seconds. I get stars with my 14-24mm lens. I really like what I am getting.
This Easter weekend I have been at my mothers house in the Mallee and it seemed like the perfect place to take some photos of the stars. I went out two nights in a row, to two different places. I used the Star Walk app on my phone to let me know where everything was in the sky and set the camera up to get the milky way. I got good results I thought, I wasn’t disappointed. For this kind of photography I think the next step for me is learning more about the stars and then processing the images. I don’t really know what I am doing when it come to processing them.
I tried to do some star trails, but I wasn’t too successful, so I gave up, I need to learn more about doing those. I suspect the thing I need to learn more about is patience here. I did set the camera up in my mothers backyard, and had a go at doing some 20 minute exposures. I got some trails, and luckily Woomelang isn’t too bright a town that the images weren’t too blown out. They weren’t great, but I did get something. I think I need to work out how to compose better too. Actually I need to do that for all the star shots.
I have several apps on my phone now to help me with all this. As I said, I have Star Walk, though you have to pay for this one, it is around $3 or $4 I think. There are some others that were recommended to me, Star Finder, Planets, Google Sky Map, ISS Detector. I haven’t used those as much, I still need to sit down with them and check them out more. I have a couple of apps for the moon, the one I use the most is Phases of the Moon, it is free, but you can pay for it so you don’t have adds. I think I will do that, it is good to show some support for these things. I also have one called Lunar Phase, but I like the previous one more. I also got a Compass App, always good to know the direction. The other day I also decided to get an app so I would know when sunrise and sunset were, I have used this one quite a bit since installing it.
When I did the post about this last week people talked about stacking images. Taking a series of images and then you stack them. Apparently you can get software to do this, but I haven’t tried looking yet. I haven’t had anything yet that I thought would be worth doing that with, but hopefully I will get to do more as I go. I need to work out how to do the star trails. I also need to find out some more information about my camera and the remote shutter release. I might have to read the manual.
I don’t know a lot and I know there are people out who are the same. If you do this what advice would you give someone starting out? What equipment would you recommend? Do you use any special apps on your phone? If you do, which ones? Have you experimented with software? Which ones would you recommend? How would you go about doing star trails?
This doesn’t just have to be a place for people talking about what they know, do you have questions about doing astrophotography? Perhaps the people who are more knowledgeable can answer questions too from people reading the blog.
These posts are a great way to share knowledge, so please contribute.
I will approve them, as long as they are nice and not nasty in any way. I am travelling home today, so I won’t be able to respond today, but I will try and get to them when I get home. I will approve them from my phone.
Feel free to respond or reply to other comments. It would be good to generate some discussion.
Finally, don’t forget to get your images to me for the MMC8 tomorrow.
Here is a gallery of the images in this post. They were all taken here in the Mallee. The first two on the same night, and the third, the second time I went out. I’ve been experimenting with some light painting as well.