Monday, 10 March 2008

Photographing the Night Sky

Last Friday evening we had a chap called Nik Szymanek come to our camera club to talk to us about photographing the night sky and I have to say it was absolutely enthralling. The images that Nik captures are so far beyond anything I would have imagined possible with some fairly basic equipment - although I have to say, I don't think his version of basic and mine are anywhere near each other! Have a look at some of his gallery images on his website at http://www.ccdland.com/ I don't have permission to show them here but I'm sure he won't mind a link :)

I've only ever tried photographing the moon once or twice before. Like many newbie 'togs, I assumed long exposure was necessary because of the darkness - WRONG! The moon is actually quite bright so a shutter speed of say 1/125th or 1/250 at f8 is perfectly adequate as long as you spot meter from it.
The other thing that people forget is just how fast the moon is actually moving - if you use a long exposure, not only is it likely to be a burned out blob in the middle of your picture, it will also be out of focus 'cos the moon and earth are moving. This was one of 3 shots I took just after reading a thread somewhere about it!
Once the nights warm up a bit (quite a bit actually) I'm going to have another go with some of the things that Nik mentioned. One possibility is a star trails image where you have the long exposure but because the stars are moving and your tripod is fixed, you get small streaks of light. I need to try and find somewhere fairly local but with as little light pollution as possible. Or I suppose I could try it when I'm on holiday in the middle of nowhere!

2 comments:

Nodin's Nest said...

Great picture! I didn't do very well with the recent eclipse, you've have a good eye!

Mrs.Kwitty said...

Wow--it's very cool! I love how you managed to photograph all the color and texture.
Smiles, Karen