- Pick your best/most expensive camera. Bigger the sensor, better it will be.
- For lens, try to pick a wide-angle lens which is also a fast lens. I know it is difficult to find a wide angle lens which has also a wide open aperture. I didn't have such a lens so I used the kit lens of my Pentax K-30. In some photos, I also used a cheap Fish-eye lens (8mm Rokinon)
- Focus the camera to infinity. If you lens has the distance marking, just move it to infinity. Then change the Camera from Auto-Focus (AF) to Manual Focus (MF). Make sure the focus ring does not move. If you have a tape, just tape the focus ring to lens body so you don't lose focus ;)
- If you camera has Long Exposure Noise Reduction, turn it off.
- Set camera to Manual exposure mode. In the manual exposure, you will need to set ISO, Aperture and Shutter-speed.
- Set ISO to 3200 or even 6400.
- Set Aperture to the most wide open value you can get.
- Set the lens to the most wide angle (lowest mm value). As I had a kit lens, the lowest I could go on 18-55mm, was 18mm. (I also tried with a fisheye 8mm lens. The wide angle photo above is with the fish-eye lens)
- Set the shutter speed to around 10 seconds.
- Change the camera to timer mode(2 or 10 seconds) or use a remote control so the shake due to pressing of Shutter Release button is minimized.
- Place the camera on the Tripod and start shooting. If you are not getting good many stars, either increase ISO, reduce f (aperture value) or show down the shutter speed to 12, 15, 20 seconds.
Tuesday, September 2, 2014
Want to take photos of stars? Here are some tips.
During my recent visit of Big Island, Hawaii, I was at the Volcano park one evening. As it started getting dark, the sky started filling up with stars. I was busy shooting the red flames of lava and suddenly noticed the stars above me. Unfortunately, I was running out of time as my family wanted to go find a place to eat. I tried to take few shots but I had no luck. Taking good photos of the star-filled sky is a difficult job. Expensive equipment does have an advantage here. An iphone or a compact camera can not help you take nice photos of the sky. An SLR with a kit lens can help you to some extent but a Full Frame camera with an expensive/fast lens can help you a lot.
The next day, I was visiting Mauna Kea and had decided to try to take some photos of stars. I googled to get some tips for astro-photography to make it easy. Then I brought along few lenses and tripod with me. As it started getting dark, there were even more stars than the previous night. It was cold but I was determined to try my best. After some trial and error, I was able to take some decent photos.
If you also want to try to take photos of the sky at night time, here are some tips:
Trial and Error will help you get better photos.