When you look up into the dark sky at night most people are fascinated at what they see. This is because the universe is filled with bright, sparkling stars and picturesque constellations night after night. While the sight can be simply amazing when witnessing it with your naked eye, you can also capture it with your digital camera. Many people refer to these types of shots as astrophotography.
If possible, you may get more out of this type of photography if you shoot in the Raw mode if your camera gives you the option. It’s also recommended that you can control to device’s ISO, aperture, and shutter speed. You should also take along a tripod with you as well as a wide-aperture lens. It’s important to stabilize the camera and you’ll need to let in quite a lot of light, so if you have a lens that can get to f/2.8 it’ll be a big help.
Once you have all of the necessary camera equipment and accessories you’ll need to find a good location to take shots of the stars. This means it needs to be as dark as possible and it’s likely that you’ll have to get out of the city. The darker the better, so if you know of anywhere that’s relatively close to home it’s a good idea to head there. Just make sure that you take along some lighting so you can see what you’re doing and to keep you safe.
Once you’ve reached a nice dark area you’ll probably be able to spot thousands of stars in the sky. But if you’d like to find a particular constellation or star you can use some help. There’s an app that can be used with iPhones called Starwalk. This will help you locate specific stars etc. The stars look like small pinholes in the pitch black sky and this is why you need to let in as much light to the sensor as you can. To do this, you can combine long shutter speeds with a high ISO and a wide aperture.
For instance, you could find yourself using an ISO of about 1250 along with a shutter speed of 30 seconds and an f/2.8 aperture. You should use a relatively long shutter speed, but if it’s too long the stars will actually move on you because the earth is always rotating. Of course, that may be the effect you’re looking for though, and if it is you can experiment with long shutter speeds to capture star trails. These are similar to the trails of light that a car’s headlights leave in the dark.
If you shoot in the Raw mode, you’ll be able to edit and manipulate the photos when processing them in an editing program. If you’d rather shoot in Jpeg you can experiment right on the spot and see how your shots look. Most serious astrophotography enthusiasts will shoot in Raw, but the idea is to simply have some fun and get the hang of shooting the stars. If you’d then like to set into it in more depth, then shooting in Raw is worth trying.