- The Astrophotography Manual: A Practical and Scientific Approach to Deep Space Imaging
- Photography Night Sky: A Field Guide for Shooting after Dark
While everybody is looking for interesting subjects at ground level, the astrophotographer will always have a camera pointed at the skies because he knows how incredibly fascinating they can look. The Milky Way is an amazing subject that every photographer should try shooting at least once.
Before you get started, there are a few basic things you need to watch out for. First, the location is of great importance. You want a place with ideally no light pollution. That means you have to move away from urban areas. Try Googling "light pollution map" and identify the ideal places near your area. The second thing you need to be careful about is the moon phase. Ideally you should go shooting during new moon because that's when it's not visible and that's going to allow the stars to shine a lot brighter for your camera. As a guideline, the middle of the month, give or take a few days is when this moon phase occurs.
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Finding a spot where the sky looks good isn't hard, but finding a proper foreground might be. The balance between foreground and the sky in the background will make the difference between a good photo and a bad one.
In terms of gear ad exposure, regardless of what camera you chose, don't even think about going anywhere without a tripod. The exposures are going to long, but unlike other long exposure situations, the aperture will be kept open, at values of around f/2.8-f/4.
You're also going to need a high ISO value, so a camera that can do useable ISO 3200 will come in handy. It's always a game of trial and error when photographing the night skies, so taking a series of test shots is absolutely necessary before you find the perfect exposure settings.
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Editing pictures of the skies is the second part of the process, one that's almost just as interesting. I'll leave you with photographer Serge Ramelli for an in-depth astrophotography tutorial.
See Full set of tips and teachings from Serge Ramelli HERE.
Learn more about astrophotography from these recommended books: