Looking Up: Nightscape Gallery

Jan 7, 2019

GOG at night... in the sky from left to right is Jupiter, Orion the Hunter, Taurus the Bull, and the Pleiades. Technical information: Pentax K30; ISO 800; 11.25mm lens @ F/5.6; 30 second exposure.
Credit M. Procell

This week on Looking Up Mike Procell interrupts Hal's life story to talk a bit about night sky photography. 

Nightscape photography is something you can easily try your hand at. All you basically need is a camera that you can hold the shutter open for more than few seconds. DSLR cameras are perfect for this application.

A steady camera is essential, so a tripod, and a remote control trigger or cable release are helpful. A wide angle lens and a wide open aperture is also good to start with. Set the ISO, or the camera’s sensitivity to light setting to at least 800. And consider including a cool foreground to really make the photo interesting. Set the focus to infinity (and beyond) and hold the shutter open for 20 seconds or so. The great thing about digital photography is you can experiment and immediately see your results. If the exposure is a bit dark, crank up the ISO or hold the shutter open a bit longer. You probably don’t want to hold the shutter for longer than 30 seconds, though. Maybe more info on why that is in a future episode. Try aiming at the Milky Way, Orion, or even a dark part of the sky. You may be pleasantly surprised by the wonderful colors you get. 

Evening at Garden of the Gods. Technical information: Pentax K30; ISO 800; 10mm lens @ F/5.6; 30 second exposure.
Credit M. Procell

To find out about public star parties and meetings of the Colorado Springs Astronomical Society as well as more about night sky photography check out csastro.org