Night Photography: How to Take Pictures of the Starry Sky

Even those who do not understand much of the stars have to agree that photos of the starry sky can look very beautiful.

I started to get interested in the subject when I visited Iceland - one of the most beautiful places on the planet - and when I began to travel to hunt the northern lights (which happened in 2013 and 2014). Which made me learn to appreciate the sky in a different way - and to look more often upwards! I'm also trying to learn a bit more about astronomical navigation and, as the conversation goes, it all led me to look for tips to better photograph the night sky.

I have here some of the secrets I found to make photos without specialized equipment for those who, like me, want to start exploring the universe using photography.

To put these tips into practice it is important to have a camera with manual modes, such as a DSLR . It is also important to know the basics of photography. If you do not know, read the handout Learn to shoot in 7 lessons :-)

What do we need for good star pictures?

The first thing you will need is a lot of darkness ! Unfortunately, our cities cause enormous light pollution and it is difficult to see and photograph the sky under these conditions. Our luck is that our country has many less lit areas, where you can see more stars. Visit this site and see a spot with little light pollution near where you live. The moon also emits a lot of light so try to plan your photos for a new moon season .

The stars are far away, so you need to use a long exposure to catch the light they emit. Sometimes we use 30 seconds or more. It is essential, then, to use a tripod that can keep your camera firm and strong during this time! A good tripod is the most important equipment for this type of photo .

I also indicate the wide-angle lenses . With them we managed to capture enough of the sky and the landscape, leaving the photo more interesting. To make life easier, it is also good to use a remote shutter , which allows you to take the picture without touching the camera (avoiding tremors) and easily select the preferred exposure time. Currently many cameras can also be controlled by a smartphone.

Tip: If you are using the phone as a remote shutter or even to get a better view in the dark, try reducing the screen brightness to as little as possible. So you do not dim your vision in the dark. If you are together with other people, this also prevents spoiling their photo!

The last item required is patience . The clouds are welcome during the day, but they are the biggest enemies of the star pictures! It is essential to be calm and wait for them to pass. Many people like to make this kind of photo during camps, as well as staying overnight in places without light pollution, you can stay the whole night looking at the sky and waiting for the ideal situation. If it is impossible to get rid of the clouds, join them, and try to include them in the composition.

Want to get an idea of ​​what you're shooting? You can use mobile apps that, using augmented reality, show you the sun, the moon, the names of stars and constellations, and even the Milky Way.

Posted on July 19, 2018 at 01:30 PM