REACHING FOR THE STARS
ON CAPTURING CONSTELLATIONS
ing as you will have a lot more information to work with.
Secondly, use the widest angle lens you have as it will give you a longer exposure.
For example, a 14mm lens will give you 30 to 40 seconds of exposure while a 28mm lens will give you about 20 seconds.
The longer the exposure, the more stars you will capture. Thirdly, you need a tripod. It may sound like a no-brainer but you would be surprised how many people forget to bring a tripod. Take a remote release as well. Next will come a bit of trial and error as you settle on what works best for you.
I chose to set the white balance to tungsten, use manual mode and manual focus.
You should set your focus at infinity and the aperture at the lowest number, preferably 2.8.
A higher number will shorten your exposure time.
ISO should be set at about 6400. This will vary according to what camera you are using, whether it be full frame sensor, APS-C or 4/3, but there are Milky Way exposure calculators on the web if you want to be precise.
Here’s a rough guide – full frame at 6400, 14mm lens at 2.8 will give you about 36 seconds of exposure; a APS-C sensor at 6400, 14mm lens 2.8 will give you about 24 seconds.
Shutter speed is calculated according to the focal length of your lens and the size of your camera’s sensor.
Longer focal lengths and smaller sensors require shorter shutter speeds to prevent star trails.
Now that’s the first stage of the process.
Finish the work off in Photo- shop or another editing program as the Milky Way may still not be showing at its best.
Again, there are a lot of ways to bring out the best in your image and some experience in editing programs will be to your advantage.
Andrew Ritchie’s stunning night sky photo.