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 ...
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.....)
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.
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
Cameras designate aperture settings by what is known as an f-stop. This number is written with a lowercase "f" followed by a forward-slash, such as f/22. Aperture controls the amount of light that creates an exposure on the film or digital sensor through the use of a diaphragm whose diameter you can control. The term "stop" without the "f" can refer to either a change in the aperture or shutter speed by one of its designated amounts.
Depending on your type of lens and whether you are using a film or digital camera, f-stop numbers vary. Standard f-stops for a film camera include f/2, f/2.8, f/4, f/5.6, f/8, f/11, f/16, f/22 and f/32. Some cameras have half-stops or even third-stops. These half or third-stop numbers may be displayed digitally on a camera with an LCD panel, or they may just be available on an aperture ring as a click between where two standard f-stop numbers are printed.
The lower the f-stop number, the wider the aperture's diaphragm is and thus the more light that reaches the film or sensor. Each f-stop is designed to let in either half or double the amount of light of the f-stop before or after it. For example, f/8 lets in double the light of f/11, but f/8 only lets in half the light of f/5.6. When a photographer refers to "stopping down" his aperture, he is referring to reducing light by changing f/11 to f/16, for example
Lower aperture numbers let in more light through a wider diaphragm, creating what is known as a shallow depth of field. This means while you may focus on a certain plane in the image, the other planes will be less in focus. This is because the wide diaphragm allows light to pass through many of the varying thicknesses of the camera's lens, pushing some planes out of focus. A high aperture number creates a tiny opening in the diaphragm, concentrating the rays of light through fewer varying-thickness layers in the lens and bringing more depths of the image into focus.
Relationship to Shutter Speed
Aperture f-stop numbers work in proportion to shutter speed stops. Each stop of exposure with shutter speed also lets in double or half the light of the previous setting. For example, your camera's light meter may indicate that f/11 and 1/250 of a second create the perfect amount of camera exposure for a certain lighting situation. Changing the shutter speed to 1/500 lets in a full stop less light than what is needed. You can compensate for this by changing the f-stop to f/8 which lets in a full stop more light. For this reason, it is helpful to learn standard f-stops and shutter speed numbers so you can calculate how to create the same amount of exposure with different settings.
What does it mean?
When using a camera with manual controls, you have the option to set the aperture. This allows you to determine how much light to allow into your camera, which affects the overall exposure and how deeply focused your picture will be. Setting the aperture on your camera can give your pictures a variety of looks by blurring out the background or keeping it sharp. It also helps determine how bright or dark your pictures will be. Aperture is one of the components of photographic exposure.
How to use it
1.Determine if your camera can have the aperture set. SLR (Single Lens Reflex) cameras and some feature heavy compact digital cameras allow you to set the aperture. Look for a command dial on your camera. If it is labeled with an "Av" or "A," it has the ability to set the aperture manually. Some compact digital cameras hide this feature in a menu system.
3. Adjust the aperture on your camera. Use your camera manual to determine where the aperture setting is on your specific model and brand of camera. Toggle through the numbers, remembering that the lower number will allow more light into the camera. If you are shooting in the fully manual ("M") mode, your shutter speed will stay constant as your set your aperture to different values. Take a few pictures with different aperture values to see how the different settings affect your picture.
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