Night shot including milky way. Any tricks?

Discussion in 'photography, graphics & art' started by weltweit, Jun 24, 2017.

  1. weltweit

    weltweit Well-Known Member

    Second attempt was successful, I got my first milky way shot. DSC_6925w.jpg

    That was 1 am and much too dark to be finding proper ground interest which will have to wait until another day. As mentioned my tripod does not point up enough so I shortened one leg to get more lift and then twisted the tripod plate round on the camera so that I could point up more.

    After I had been out for about half an hour I could really see the stars and what a view, I feel I should know more about which star is which, but the night sky was very special tonight, I could have happily stayed an hour or two more just looking at it.

    Despite the time of year, it got quite cold, this time I had warm clothing - but there also seemed to be a dew which wetted both me and the camera.

    I was quite surprised how fast the milky way was moving, in shots taken about a minute apart it moved perhaps 4 mm on my LCD screen. I thought about taking a sort of time lapse but I couldn't remember the instructions for getting the camera to do it and for manual exposures my cable release was in my other bag. I could have just used the shutter release in hindsight anyhow that is something for next time, which just might be tonight!
  2. Signal 11

    Signal 11 Ich bin maroon!

    Well done, that's great!

    I've marked a few things on it. The "summer triangle" of Deneb, Vega and Altair tend to be the first ones you see as it starts to get dark at this time of year and a good way to get your bearings.

    It's worth using something like Stellarium for planning and identifying what you captured, or one of those phone apps that shows you what it's pointed at.
    clicker and weltweit like this.
  3. weltweit

    weltweit Well-Known Member

    Thanks, quite pleased with myself :)

    Thanks for that, very interesting and useful, I did have a bit of hunt to find it before my eyes had adjusted, I took pictures around where I thought south was and found it in shot 3. The camera could see it before I could. In fact I could only partly see it even after an hour outside. But there were some notably bright stars and I thought if I knew what they were I could have found south sooner.

    Mars (from your notes) was noticeably bright and low to the horizon.

    Unfortunately I don't have a smart phone at the moment, so no aps for me :-(

    So Signal 11, you are very knowledgeable about the night sky, how is it that you know so much?
  4. weltweit

    weltweit Well-Known Member

  5. Signal 11

    Signal 11 Ich bin maroon!

    Thanks. There are some here who know a lot more than me. I've been interested since I was very young, but haven't studied it properly. I go to a local group where we have lectures once a month and observing evenings. There's a list of groups here.
    weltweit likes this.
  6. RoyReed

    RoyReed Must fly!

    Really nice shot!
    weltweit likes this.
  7. weltweit

    weltweit Well-Known Member

    Interesting page, thanks for the link. There are two in my area. There may be some that know more here than you but they have not been as helpful to a beginner like me as you have!!

    I recently read the Jack Aubrey and Stephen Maturin series (Master and Commander) by Patrick O'Brien. They would regularly take navigational readings from the stars on the open oceans. Like now, I realised how little I know about the night sky.

    Last night I drove to near Sennybridge which your dark skies website told me should be relatively free from light pollution, it was very striking just how many stars were visible. Quite beautiful the night sky.

    Blimey England 2 Sweden 0 :)
    Chilli.s and Signal 11 like this.
  8. weltweit

    weltweit Well-Known Member

    Now I want a milky way with some interesting ground object, there are some chapels and castles around here which might make interesting shapes but they aren't in wholly dark sky areas. I will have my son down shortly so perhaps I can persuade him to pose.

    Some photographers seem to take two exposures, one low ISO long exposure for the ground object followed by a shorter high ISO exposure for the milky way and then they combine the two in photoshop. I am not that expert at photoshop so would prefer not to have to do this.

    I am also thinking of light painting the object if it is small enough or my torch is bright enough, perhaps I could use flash ..

    What do you think?
  9. RoyReed

    RoyReed Must fly!

    If you've got a flash you can use off-camera, that's what I'd do. Set it on very low power (maybe 1/16 or 1/32) and set it off by hand during the long camera exposure. You'll need to experiment a bit.
    weltweit likes this.
  10. weltweit

    weltweit Well-Known Member

    Aha, yes I have a Sunpak flash that could do that. Do you think that might be enough to light something big like a chapel? As to experimenting yes I agree and at least these will be only 25s exposures, when I did that star trails one I was committed for an hour!
  11. RoyReed

    RoyReed Must fly!

    Yes, with more than one flash.
    weltweit likes this.
  12. RoyReed

    RoyReed Must fly!

    If you do try to use this technique wear dark/black clothes and you're less likely to register in the shot as you walk through frame.
    weltweit likes this.
  13. weltweit

    weltweit Well-Known Member

    Good point. I am definitely going to give it a try, I have done some light painting with my flash before so I have an idea … but tips are always welcome.

    At the moment I am wondering if the castles and chapels I am thinking about are in dark enough areas to also give me a good milky way. The night sky where I went for that first image was so vivid and stunning I am not sure about more lit areas. Then there is the moon, I am just looking into its predictions at the moment.

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