1. Find a Dark Sky Just waiting until nighttime won’t do. A dark sky free of light pollution is the first and most important requirement to even seeing the Milky Way, let alone photographing it. Be prepared to travel a considerable distance, otherwise you run the risk of city lights making their mark in your shots. The moon can have a similar impact on your Milky Way photos; shooting during a full moon will wash out your images. Try to shoot during a new moon.
2. Know When and Where to Look
The part of the Milky Way that is most easily visible to the naked eye isn’t visible all year round, especially for those in the Northern Hemisphere where February through September are the optimal times. You will find your celestial subject in the southern half of the sky, rising from the west. Residents in the Southern Hemisphere may have a slight advantage in this regard, as the central parts of the Milky Way can be seen overhead.
3. Use a Digital Camera with Good High ISO Capabilities
You’ll be shooting at night with very little available light; you want your camera’s sensor to be able to handle the shooting conditions without introducing an excessive amount of noise. A full-frame camera is preferable but certainly not a necessity.
4. Use a Fast Wide Angle Lens
You should work with a lens with a maximum aperture of at least f/2.8; the faster the better. It’s not that you’re totally out of luck if your fastest lens is f/3.5 or so, but you’ll have more of a challenge on your hands since the lens won’t be able to gather as much light. The same principle applies to focal length; go as wide as you can. You may be seeing only a fraction of the Milky Way, but it’s still monstrous in size. The wider your lens, the more of it you can capture.
5. Use a Tripod
This really isn’t optional,it's a must, because sturdiness is your number one concern.
6. Start with ISO 3200
Referring back to the first point, a high ISO is essential to collecting enough light to render a bright image of the Milky Way. Under typical conditions, ISO 3200 is a good starting place. Based on how well this plays with other camera settings, you can go higher or lower from there.
7. Set a Long Shutter Speed
This is how you will capture more light and create a sufficiently bright exposure. There just one problem, though. The planet doesn’t care if you’re new at astro photography; it’s going to keep on rotating, which means if you leave the shutter open for too long, you’ll end up with star trails. There’s nothing wrong with star trails when that’s what you’re aiming for, but they aren’t really desirable for photographing the Milky Way. To get pinpoint stars, use the “500 rule,” which calls for you to divide 500 by the focal length of the lens you’re using. So, if you have a 24mm lens on a full-frame camera, you will set your shutter speed to 20 sec. (500/24 = 20.83). If you’re working with a crop sensor camera be sure to account for the crop factor (typically 1.5 for Nikon and Sony, 1.6 for Canon). As an example, using the same 24mm lens on a Nikon crop, you’d end up with an effective focal length of 36mm (24×1.5 = 36). Applying the 500 rule will yield a shutter speed of 13 sec. (500/36 = 13.89). There are those who debate about whether to use the 500 rule or the similar 600 rule; without delving further into the mathematics of it all, it really is more a matter of visual perception. In short, stick with the 500 rule, especially if you intend to make poster size prints. If, after you’ve gotten more comfortable and done some experimenting, you find the “600 rule” works better for you (should be find for web images) then definitely go with that.
8. Set a Wide Open Aperture
Remember, it’s all about collecting as much light as possible; depth of field isn’t the primary concern here. In case of any significant softness you’ll want to stop your lens down. This is why it’s so important to use a fast lens in the first place; if you know your lens is unacceptably soft at f/1.4, stopping down to f/2 will sharpen things up without having a severe impact on the lens’ light gathering ability.
9. Get a Satisfactory Exposure
It’s very likely that your first shot won’t be an exposure you’re satisfied with (if you’re not happy with the focus or composition, adjust those things before moving on to worrying about exposure). If the exposure isn’t “right,” you’ll have to identify the problem and work from there. If there’s too much noise, simply decrease the ISO. If the shot is overexposed, check your surroundings for light pollution; decrease shutter speed; stop down the lens; or decrease ISO. If it’s underexposed, make sure you’re using the widest aperture on your lens; increase shutter speed (but beware of star trails forming); increase ISO.
10. Process it
There will be a lot of variation at this final stage and, again, there is no one right way to handle the post processing of your shots. The two most important things you can do to make post processing a little easier is to shoot raw and get the best exposure you can in-camera. You may need to apply some sharpness and noise reduction. According to some sources, the color temperature of the Milky Way is around 4840°K; if you find it too much on the yellow/orange side, adjust white balance until you have a neutral scene. You will definitely need to increase contrast; it’s okay to be a bit heavy handed here, so long as you’re not losing shadow detail. If the photo editing software you are using allows curves adjustments, make use of it, as you can be more precise with your work. Assuming you got a good in-camera exposure you shouldn’t have to play with the exposure slider too much
below are some examples of what can be achieved ...
hey everyone, just a quick blog post on my contribution to the ONE OF A KIND location guide app
brought to you by the team at OOAK photography adventures featured below
the app features some of the best landscape photographers in the world with detailed information about the photo featured ( how to get there,the GPS location,tips and camera settings) and makes a great travel companion when scouting locations to shoot.
here is a small image of just a few of my photos featured and i recommend if your a landscape photographer either just starting out or a seasoned pro it is a must have ........cheers
please find the links here
well the year ended on a high with the notification that after the awards this year i was placed 20th in the top 50 amateur photographers in the world for 2014 which was quite a shock ,which made all those early mornings and late afternoons/nights for last year have paid off
All i can say is wow all year we wait as landscape photographers for some nice lightning and within a week and a half we had more then we have had all year,
it was great to add some shots to my collection hope you enjoy the magic of mother nature
below are a few shots
well all my images are back from this years awards and im feeling quite happy with a silver and 4 bronze
which bettered last years result
the silver award image
the bronze award images
Well the international loupe photography awards are on again and i have my 4 entries in here's hoping i do as well or better than last years results.
I feel the images i have submitted this year to be much stronger and one of the images (pictured below) has already made the finals in shoot the land comp lets hope it and the other 3 do well,im sure to keep you guys posted cheers
hey guys,during the last few weeks of winter and the start of spring there has surely been some nasty weather with constant rain and large swells hitting our coastline.
But because of that it has made some great shooting between showers with some spectacular clouds and great water movement,check out below just two of my favorite shots taken within a month of weird weather and remember just because the weather is nasty doesn't mean no photography cheers
A digital camera has a defined and relatively restricted dynamic range for exposure. In a bright sunlit photograph, it is difficult to take one photo that has detail in the brightest areas and still contains some information in the shadows. Take two images that are optimized for the bright and darker areas separately and merge them in Photoshop to get one photograph that shows the scene as you saw it.
In the photograph below it took 3 images to get the shot balanced,
* First i shot one slightly under exposed for the sky to bring out the colours and hold back the highlights
* second i shot a proper exposed shot to keep the beach, water and mountain exposed right and to brighten the shadows
* And lastly i shot around 10 images for the water movement at a slower shutter speed so i had a few different waves to choose from to use
* Once i selected my favorite wave movement shot i then loaded the 3 selected images into photoshop layers and began to merge them using layer masks, once i am happy with the final combined image i then flatten it to one image then i begin my work on the post processing( colour,sharpness etc.....)
this picture taken at Taylors Beach in Port Stephens NSW is about how sometimes a very very clear sky combined with no wind creates awesome muted colours and some cool silhouettes of the boats on sunset with those elements combined make what i feel a very calming and relaxing image, i hope it makes you feel that way too ....cheers
After going past this location many times in a boat saying i'm gonna shoot there one day, i finally decided to make the trek from taylors beach. It takes a good half an hour walk to get there but it has potential and i will return when i have some more dramatic skies and a higher tide as there are some cool stumps and fallen trees that would be surrounded by water
sometimes all the elements just come together to make shooting photos more and more addictive
and this afternoon at soldiers point was just one of those moments
what i was greeted with was no wind which made the harbour resemble a mirror creating amazing reflections from the awesome cloud cover to the setting sun poking its head through it was just a magic time to be a landscape photographer .....an afternoon i wont forget for quite some time
The best time to shoot landscape photographs is during the "Golden Hour" -- the first and last hour during sunrise and sunset. During these times, the sun will give off a beautiful golden hue that can turn an ordinary photograph into an extraordinary photograph. The light at this time of day is preferred because it is soft and indirect, unlike during the middle of the day when the image is bright and has very harsh shadows
if you look below you can see just how much a photo can change if shot at the right time of day
this shot is taken around 11am note that the image is very flat, bright and has harsh shadows caused by the hand rail
where as this one shot around 5.30 - 6.30 am has that rich colour and no harsh shadows and is just much more pleasing to the eyes
When learning the art of photography, one of the most important elements you must master is how to shoot in natural light. Photographs shot in natural light will look more natural and candid and natural light photography is often the most preferred method of shooting. You can use three basic techniques to light a subject with natural light: front lighting, back lighting and side lighting.
Capturing the beauty of the night sky doesn't have to be challenging. With the correct equipment, photographing a starry night is something that is easy enough for beginner photographers. A well-executed star photo can be satisfying to show others and a worthy addition to a photography portfolio.
1. Set up your tripod in a dark area such as a rural location. The tripod will keep the camera steady so the stars will be crisp. Failure to use a tripod will cause blurry pictures in most long exposures. A rural location is important because city locations often contain too much light pollution and your exposures will be too bright. Choose a night that is dark and moonless. The moon gives off too much light and will dominate the photo
2. Set the focus of your camera to manual. Set the focus to infinity and set open your aperture as much as your lens allows. Put the camera on your tripod and aim for the sky. Ensure there are no large objects blocking the sky from view unless you want them to be part of your photo.
3. Set your exposure time to a few seconds at first: 10 or 20 seconds on a digital camera, set the ISO to 3200 also use a lens with a very low Fstop like at 2.8. Try to stick to exposures under 30 seconds so as not to drain the battery. Long exposures will use a lot of the battery's power. You may need to change your batteries at some point, so make sure to keep spares on hand. Use your camera's cable release to avoid shaking the camera and causing motion blur in your photos. Vary the length of exposures for different results. Longer exposures will lead to brighter stars but they will have "star trails" because of the Earth's movement.
this image shows the milky way frozen
The Rule of Thirds can be briefly described as a compositional rule that every photographer, amateur or professional, should consider when taking any type of photograph. This rule is used to make photos more interesting. The basic compositional rule utilizes the tendency for the human eye to be drawn toward the center of any subject of a photo--which is exactly what the Rule of Thirds does not do. With the Rule of Thirds, the photo is divided by two imaginary horizontal lines and two imaginary vertical lines, creating a grid. The main subject of your photo should never fall in the middle box or the center. By learning the Rule of Thirds, you'll be able to add more intensity and energy to your photos and enhance your photography skills.
See how in the image below that the horizon is on the bottom horizontal rule and the tree was was placed on the right vertical rule giving the image balance
What are they?
"Leading lines" refers to a photography technique that involves using a "line"--such as a road or power lines or even a jetty to draw the viewer's eye to certain parts of the photo. It's a simple but effective technique that gives the photographer some control over how the artwork is perceived in the eyes of the beholder, and there are several aspects of such photos that separate them from other types of pictures.
i always say without cloud the sky is boring,so in knowing that it was going to be one of those days with clear skies and no clouds to throw colour ,i decided to get up at 4.30 am and shoot some star trails ( i will do another post on capturing these amazing things in the near future) this image was a total of around 180 images stacked to create the spin, although the image is kind of cool you really do need 300+ images to really enhance the night sky
i will leave it longer next time fingers crossed i get a nice one next time
Have you ever wanted to get your workflow happening a lot quicker so you can get back out in the field faster instead of sitting on the computer all day editing?
well a web developer named waldo has a free web based program called "shortcut mapper"
i suggest you check it out and memorize them you wont regret it and it will get you editing smarter and faster the link in below
High Dynamic Range (HDR) pictures is the process of layering multiple images of the same scene shot at different exposures to create a picture that has all the shadow and highlight detail. Digital pictures shot with my Canon 5D mark II for instance have 256 incremental steps of brightness from total black to complete white. By shooting three to five images of the same scene at different exposures the finished picture will have more of these incremental levels in the HDR image
1 Select the scene you want to shoot, attach your camera to a tripod and position the camera into its shooting position. Use a tripod to ensure you retain the exact same shooting position for each of the individual exposures.
2 Turn your Camera on and select either aperture priority or manual for your shooting mode. When changing the exposure, you will want to retain the same aperture so the depth of field is same on each exposure. Set the camera's image quality to RAW. While these files are larger they retain more of the data collected during the exposure.
3 Set the exposure for the first image to be underexposed by two full stops. If using a manual exposure program then adjust the shutter speed by turning the input dial located near the shutter release to increase the shutter speed until the light meter indicates the scene is underexposed by two stops. If using the aperture priority mode, then turn the rear "Quick Command Dial" on the back of the camera until it the camera is underexposed by two full stops. Press the shutter release to take the picture.
4 Reset the camera so the exposure is now underexposed by one full stop. Take another picture and repeat the process taking pictures at the correct exposure, at overexposed by one stop, and at overexposed by two full stops. You now have five pictures of the same scene at different exposures that you can layer in an HDR program to complete the image.
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