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night sky pictures

Camera equipment and technique for taking photos.
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Re: night sky pictures

Postby vonmackle » Sun Jun 26, 2011 4:59 pm

I love night sky pictures! I hope this thread picks up some steam like the B&W thread. Here are a few of mine:

Orion over Pikes Peak
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Moon over Longs Peak
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Kodachrome Basin by Moonlight
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I am gradually learning how to take night photos. It has involved a lot of trial and error, and there will be plenty more of that to come. Tripods are definitely a good idea, unless you are like Jason and can hold a camera relatively steady for 20 seconds (amazing feat, by the way). Apparently it helps to have a camera with a full size sensor (i.e. full size price tag) to cut down on noise. Other than that it seems to be a lot about compromise. I've read that in order to freeze the stars and avoid star trails, you need to use a wide angle lens zoomed out with an exposure under thirty seconds. This can usually be done while using high ISO values, but the higher the ISO, the more noise is produced in the image. It also helps to use a wide open aperture to cut down on exposure time, but this leads to focusing issues if you have any foreground subjects. In the Pikes picture, I used an ISO 400 for 25 seconds zoomed out with the aperture wide open. This resulted in an under exposed image which I adjusted in post processing (which also added some noise). I could have used ISO 800 to get a proper exposure, but I get horrible noise with my camera with anything over ISO 400. I also could have used a longer exposure time to get the proper exposure, but that would have left me with star trails. You can see in the Longs picture that I used too long of an exposure, causing slight star/moon trails. I had the camera set to ISO 100. I should have used a slightly higher ISO and slightly less exposure time. For the Kodachrome Basin Photo used a 5 minute exposure under a bright desert moon. I was more concerned with properly exposing the rock formations than freezing the stars, so I let the stars drift with the long exposure time.

I would love to hear any tips/advice anybody else has to offer!
Last edited by vonmackle on Sun Aug 07, 2011 5:37 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: night sky pictures

Postby JA_son27 » Sun Jun 26, 2011 5:27 pm

unless you are like Jason and can hold a camera relatively steady for 20 seconds (amazing feat, by the way).


Not hardly! I had it resting on the ground, which is why some of the stars are stretched which I think happened when pressed the button. Good advice with the iso adjustment, I was at 6400. I only wish I would've known to lower the iso to cut down on the noise!
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Re: night sky pictures

Postby vonmackle » Sun Jun 26, 2011 5:47 pm

JA_son27 wrote:Not hardly! I had it resting on the ground, which is why some of the stars are stretched which I think happened when pressed the button.


Okay, it wasn't a hand-held shot, but stll impressive considering the circumstances.
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Re: night sky pictures

Postby livetothemax96 » Sun Jun 26, 2011 6:50 pm

That pic of orion is fabulous, clouds and haze add an interesting feel with how they make the stars glow
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Re: night sky pictures

Postby SkiBum1287 » Sun Jun 26, 2011 9:28 pm

This shot has nothing on those posted already, and I had to mess with the brightness a bit after the fact because I have a point and shoot (I also have no idea what I'm doing), but I do love night sky pictures. This thread is great.

Originally I thought the camera was shaking a little in the 60 second exposure, but it turns out the upper left stars are close to stationary, the lower left stars move more or less horizontal, and the upper right side were moving more vertically. I guess I never realized the stars would move that much in 60 seconds. I'll have to cut it down to 15 seconds and up the aperture or something (again, I'm making this up as I go).
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Re: night sky pictures

Postby vonmackle » Sun Jul 24, 2011 8:22 pm

My wife and I camped a couple nights near treeline along Matterhorn Creek this week. This is the view from our camp as I woke up at 4:15 on Thursday morning to hike Uncompahgre and Matterhorn:

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Re: night sky pictures

Postby I fall a lot » Mon Jul 25, 2011 8:26 pm

North star taken beneath an arch (can't remember which one...Arches Nat'l Monument?).
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Re: night sky pictures

Postby ajkagy » Mon Jul 25, 2011 10:32 pm

amazing night photos...well done
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Re: night sky pictures

Postby Theodore » Tue Jul 26, 2011 5:50 am

Not my photos, but taken by a photog in the group right behind me on Mt. Hood this June.
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Re: night sky pictures

Postby I fall a lot » Tue Jul 26, 2011 7:23 am

The nebula pix are crazy beautiful....I didn't even know you could capture those.

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Re: night sky pictures

Postby Theodore » Tue Jul 26, 2011 8:19 am

Watch this for some awesome video of the sky as well: http://www.vimeo.com/25673968

Again, this is done for another group, but since they started up right after us, I made some cameos. :D The still shot at on the linked page, I'm the red pack on the far left.

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Re: night sky pictures

Postby I fall a lot » Tue Jul 26, 2011 9:44 am

Theodore wrote:Watch this for some awesome video of the sky as well: http://www.vimeo.com/25673968

Again, this is done for another group, but since they started up right after us, I made some cameos. :D The still shot at on the linked page, I'm the red pack on the far left.


Wow!

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