Top 10 pro Tips for Astropho­tog­ra­phy

Alyn Wal­lace shares his top tech­niques for astro shots that are ab­so­lutely stel­lar

Photo Plus - - The Apprentice -

1 Wrap up warm

on cloud­less nights, tem­per­a­tures can drop very quickly, so it’s im­por­tant to wrap up warm. The less you’re wor­ried about the cold, the more you can fo­cus on be­ing cre­ative.

2 Go wide

Us­ing a wide an­gle lens will al­low you to take in as much of the won­der­ful night sky as pos­si­ble, while adding com­po­si­tional in­ter­est by in­clud­ing some land­scape based fore­ground fea­tures.

3 Go fast

The faster the aper­ture, the bet­ter. f/4 is a good start but if you re­ally want to get the most out of the milky Way you’ll need at least f/2.8

4 Don’t shake the cam­era

make sure your tri­pod is level and sturdy and use a ca­ble shut­ter re­lease to fire the but­ton. if you don’t have a shut­ter re­lease, use a 2-sec­ond de­lay.

5 Take a head­torch

it’s go­ing to be dark! Us­ing a head­torch will also leave your hands free to fid­dle with the but­tons and set­tings. you can also use it to light-paint your fore­ground.

6 Know your lo­ca­tion

com­pos­ing in the dark can prove quite dif­fi­cult and time-con­sum­ing. Go to a lo­ca­tion you know well, or first scout it out while it’s still light.

7 The 500 rule

if you ex­pose for too long, the stars will cre­ate light trails as the earth ro­tates. Use the 500 rule to find your max­i­mum shut­ter speed – sim­ply di­vide 500 by your fo­cal length (300 rule for crop cam­eras).

8 Blend­ing ex­po­sures

if your fore­ground is too dark, try a longer ex­po­sure of maybe mul­ti­ple min­utes at a lower iso and blend it in us­ing layer masks in Pho­to­shop.

9 Check your his­togram

When you’re out in the dark, the im­age pre­view on the back of the cam­era will be su­per bright. check your his­togram to make sure you’re ex­pos­ing cor­rectly.

10 Get rid of that noise

high iso set­tings re­sult in noisy images. Pho­to­shop and light­room’s built-in noise re­duc­tion does a great job of smooth­ing out the noise and mak­ing your images more aes­thet­i­cally pleas­ing.

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