Taking pictures of the night sky is not simple as some amateurs may think. It requires not just patience but plenty of skill and practice. In addition to a good camera with black and white or color film (maybe a SLR would be a better choice) you also need a good lens and most importantly a tripod.

It makes plenty of sense to use a tripod when taking night sky pictures. It helps keep the camera still as the exposure time is generally long due to the light conditions. One can also use a shutter release cable as it further reduces the chances of camera movement.

You can opt for either a stationary camera or a driven camera. The stationary camera is placed on a tripod and the focus is set on infinity.

Due to the rotation of Earth, exposures longer than 30 seconds will show stars as streaks. You may need to be careful about the exposure time to get clearer pictures.

Capturing the Beauty of the Night Sky

This technique suits the clicking of bright comets, artificial satellites and meteors. You will need a fast film and the exposure time should be within 5-30 minutes for clear pictures.

A driven camera gives the best results for night sky pictures as it is basically attached to a mount with a motorized drive system. It is quite similar to the ones used in telescopes.

For detailed celestial pictures of Moon, star clusters, planets, galaxies and nebulae, you could try the double mount technique. The camera is focused through a telescope to get a better and clearer view.

You can also try and use a coupling device to attach the telescope to the camera and make it easier to shoot pictures.

Black and white film is a great option if you are trying to shoot the moon against the night sky, but it will not serve the purpose if you are interested in clicking the planets and colored stars.

The night sky is a constantly changing subject and the right techniques and practice will result in spectacular pictures of it.


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