One of the most frequently asked questions I get is how I shoot long-exposure photos from the cockpit and how they end up sharp, despite flying at roughly 950kmh / 500kts through the air. I will try to answer that question in more detail, going through the process and challenges step by step. Hopefully it sheds some light (pun intended) on the techniques I use and for the pilot-photographers among us some valuable and easy-to-use tips for your next night-flight.
Finding somewhere truly dark for astrophotography becomes more and more difficult with each passing day. Light pollution always seems to be increasing. Towns and cities are ever expanding, getting larger and brighter. And many astrophotographers guard the secrets of their favourite spots to shoot. For those just getting into it, finding somewhere dark can be quite the challenge.
Now, though, America has a designated 1,400 square mile (3,600 square km) area of Central Idaho set aside for stargazing and astrophotography. Designated as America’s first International Dark Sky Reserve, the Central Idaho Dark Sky Reserve joins only 11 other such locations around the world.
Only a few short years ago, the idea of handheld photographs of the Milky Way would’ve been a thing of fantasy. Now, though, thanks to fast ultrawide glass and the super high ISO performance of today’s cameras, it’s a whole different story. This is proven by photographer Alyn Wallace. He shoots the Sigma 14mm f/1.8 Art lens on his Sony A7SII in this video where he does exactly that.
Photographing the Milky Way is something many aspiring night sky photographers only dream of. As is capturing brilliant storms full of bright lightning flashes. Both the Milky Way and night time storms have such a visual allure, that keeps photographers coming back for more.
In this timelapse short film, titled The Perfect Storm, Martien Janssen managed to capture both. At the same time. It’s a perfect storm not only in name, but in meaning, too. To capture either of them well, on their own, is impressive. To get the two together really is amazing. Shot over a period of 14 months chasing storms in the Philippines, the final result is just beautiful.
I’m not really a big astrophotographer, the skies are just too bright around here most of the time. I’ve dabbled with it here and there, but never anything serious. Recently, though, I’ve found myself in possession of the Irix 15mm f/2.4 lens (review coming soon). With a lens this wide (field of view) and this wide (aperture), it was made for astrophotography. So I’ve been experimenting again.
So, this video from YouTuber Josh Katz has come along at just the right time for me. He too, says he’s no expert in photographing the night sky, but he knows enough to explain the basics and get you started. Also like myself, Josh lives in an area where there’s a constant struggle to find a sky dark enough to actually be worth shooting. But he offers a few tips for that, too.
A little while ago, we showed you a video from photographer Sriram Murali. In it, we saw how different levels of light pollution affected your view of the Milky Way. He went to various areas where the sky ranked between 1 (the darkest skies you can get) and 9 (inner city sky). The problem was, not many people have ever really seen the milky way. Even in a super dark sky, it’s very difficult to make out with the naked eye.
So, Sriram has put together another video, focusing on a more familiar sight. Something easily visible to our eyes. The constellation of Orion. His purpose for creating the followup was to help further raise awareness on light pollution. There’s very little of our planet that doesn’t suffer from it now, which makes seeing the night sky extremely difficult. And while the Milky Way is more impressive to a camera, it’s not a scene that many can personally relate to.
I just got back from Batanes as part of a large group of bloggers and other media people who were there to try out the photography features of the Asus Zenfone 3 line of mobile phones, courtesy of Asus Philippines. I was there mainly as a resource person on shooting the Milky Way, and I was intrigued about the possibility of pulling off Milky Way shots using a mobile phone. How did it turn out? Find out by watching the video and seeing the final images below!
One of the headline features of the Asus Zenfone 3’s camera is its built-in manual mode that allows you to go all the way to ISO 3200 and do long exposures of up to 32 seconds. For comparison, using the $3.99 645 Pro app on my iPhone 6, I get up to ISO 2000 and a 1/2 second exposure at most, on f2.2.
Yesterday we showed you South of Home Photography’s beautiful photographs of the New Zealand winter night sky. If you’re just starting out with astrophotography, it can be difficult to know where to begin. How should you plan? Is your gear up to the challenge? Do you need specialist equipment? What settings should you use?
Today we discovered a guide that’s going to help you get started in learning how to shoot your own astrophotography images. Created by photographer and blogger Lisa Row, this five part series is a great way to get yourself up and running with the minimum amount of hassle.
One of the biggest challenges when it comes to night photography is incorporating good foreground elements, but learning a few simple tricks will instantly elevate your game. If you’ve ever snapped a shot of the Milky Way in a very dark area on a moonless night, you will find that the landscape elements will often be silhouetted against the night sky.
This is because star light alone does not provide enough light for the camera sensor to detect, even at the sensitive, long exposures used to capture stars. I enjoy playing around with silhouettes myself but having a detailed foreground often makes a night time photo more interesting.
It’s why mine always suck, too. Light pollution. It’s hard to escape it these days. It’s the thing that puts many budding astrophotographers off before they’ve really even got started. This video from Sriram Murali puts things into context.
Filmed mostly in California, this short shows how the night sky changes as you get further from the city lights. Sriram uses the Bortle Scale, which ranks skies from 1-9 in order of darkness. 1 is the deepest darkest sky, while 9 is the inner city sky.