Wide Angle Static Star Photography (Starscapes)
This is a short "how to" photograph stars and get similar images to the ones I have shown on this website. I'm calling these images wide angle static star images. I'm not going to deal with star trails or other astro-photography.
For starter you need close to the following conditions:First and formost a very dark sky. This means an hour and half past sunset or before sunrise.
Little or no light pollution. Light pollution from man made lights, specifically cities. A good source for determining the level of light pollution in a specific area is a website called Dark Sky Finder you can find it here; Dark Sky Finder
Few or no clouds. Weather Reports use NOAA at www.srh.noaa.gov
No moon or sunlight. Moon Phases use Lunaf.com at www.lunaf.com
Season and timing. Sun & Moon Rise/Set times use USNO at aa.usno.navy.mil/data/
Tide Condition when near water. Tides Charts use Salt Water Tides at www.saltwatertides.com
Know where celestial objects are. Use a night sky chart try Stellarium Program at www.stellarium.org
Gear and Settings - This is ideal, try with what you have
Camera with manual settings
Camera with ISO settings to 3200
Lens Fisheye to 28mm
Lens f 2.8 or better (Ideal)
Tripod, headlamp, flashlight, shutter release, lens cloth, bug spray.
Use live view at 10X
Tape off focus at infinity in the light
Test Shot for Composition
Set Highest ISO on your camera.
Make sure noise reduction is OFF.
Shutter to 10 - 30 seconds
Set manual focus, focus at infinity
Aperture wide open.
Set 2 second timer
Shoot horizontals and verticals all around
Review test shots
Final Settings - Don’t forget to experiment
Know your camera and equipment.
Scout your location in the daylight.
Give yourself plenty of time.
Slow down and enjoy the night.
Don’t get lost.
Let someone know were you are.
Use light pollution or shoot away from it.
Light paint and or put light in places.
Look for light areas.
Play have fun.
Add land based objects that fit the composition.
Look for light.
Use very little light, start with a one second sweep with your flashlight.
Its art not science
Try different kinds of light.
Adjust white balance
Create contrast with curves
Apply noise reduction
Sharpen for output.
Multi-colored LED flashlight at www.thinkgeek.com/gadgets/lights/
Useful ipad applications Star finder at Apple App Store search “Star Walk
Useful iphone apps “Phases” and “tideapp”
Download a free trial of Photoshop Lightroom 3 at https://www.adobe.com/cfusion/tdrc/ index.cfm?product=photoshop_lightroom
Click here for Images