Reaching for stars no easy feat
There were researchers and journalists wearing head lamps around me, a crescent moon above and a lighthouse in the distance.
On the plus side, light pollution was not as much of an issue as it would have been on the mainland.
The first thing to do was to find the Milky Way.
It can be difficult to see if it’s cloudy or there is a lot of light pollution, but there are apps you can download to show you the way.
If you want non-trailed star images, as I did, there are a few simple guidelines you can follow.
Firstly, take your photos in raw format rather than jpeg.
It will help during post-processing 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, APSC 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' 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 speed to prevent star trails. Now that’s the first stage of the process.
Finish the work off in Photoshop or another editing program as the Milky Way may still not be showing at its best.
Again, there a lot of ways to bring out the best in your image and some experience in editing programs will be to your advantage.