Astrophotography Tips & Guides

Latest Update 7 / 11 / 2018

Exposures guide (Full Frame Sensor)

14mm – 25-30 second exposures
20mm – 25 seconds
24mm – 20 seconds
35mm – 15 seconds

Taking the shot


1. Switch your camera body or lens into Manual Focus Mode
2. Switch your camera into Manual Settings Mode
3. Adjust your camera settings
    - File Format To Raw
    - Turn on Long Exposure Noise Reduction if your using high ISO's
    - Exposure Length (based on your lenses focal range)
    - Aperture (Shoot with your aperture as wide open as you can)
    - ISO (Start at 800 and work your way up)
    - White Balance (Auto in light polluted areas, 3500K to 4200K under dark           skies, Light Pollution Filter 5000-5500K)

4. Turn on your live view screen and look for the brightest star in the sky to focus on

5. Zoom in on the star using the live view camera screen

6. Adjust your focus until the star is as small as can be. Once you have focus try not to touch the focus ring.

7. Compose your image. Why towards the last step, because there may not be bright enough stars to focus on.

8. Set a timer delay (if you have one) to reduce the amount of vibration when taking the shot

9. Review your image and adjust settings if needed.

Reviewing Your Shot
Once you have taken your photograph, make sure to review it by your histogram.

Remember expose to our right. Adjust one or three settings. Exposure, Aperture or ISO to achieve the desired result.

Step 1. See if you can push your exposure more. If you start to see star trails then move to step 2.

Step 2. Adjust your lenses aperture so your lens is letting in as much light as it can, if this is already the case move to step 3.

Step 3. Increase your ISO

Shooting Large Panoramas

When shooting a panoramic image we need to follow these simple steps...

  • Make sure our tripod is level so when we pan we get a nice level horizon line
  • Start your panorama from the left and pan to the right after each photo taken
  • Photograph from the foreground up to the sky
  • Also when shooting a panorama make sure that each image has a 50% overlap, this will help stitching software to stitch images more accurately together.

Some software to help stitch images together are...
Photoshop
Lightroom
Microsoft I.C.E 
PTGui


Apps to help plan a shoot 

Please note that I use IOS devices so I'm not sure if these will work on the Android platform). I would also like to add that I do not get any revenue for mentioning these apps.

Weather Prediction

Scope Nights - I've found this app to be the first app I go to when I'm planning a night of astrophotography. It is a paid app however worth every cent I believe. You can save up to 6 additional locations to monitor along with a light pollution map of those locations you save.
Accuweather - Everyday weather forecast app

Location / Positioning / Information on Stars and Deep Space Objects

Celestron Sky Portal - Free app that has a lot of information and an audio library in relation to the object you wish to know more about. 

Sky Guide - Another excellent app which also has AR (Augmented Reality) where you can hold your phone up to the landscape your in front of and see how the stars will look. This is another paid app.

Other 
Aurora Forecast - Another excellent app for the prediction of aurora activity
Light Pollution - Dark skies has a world map of the current light pollution and a bortle scale

 

Processing


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