5 Steps To Taking Astrophotography With A DSLR


5 Steps To Taking Astrophotography With A DSLR
*Image from Pexels.

Astrophotography is exciting as you get to capture the fascinating astronomical objects up there in the sky. The beauty of these objects is a pure delight to your eyes and while you can’t physically get to them, you can capture them with a digital camera and the best thing about it is that you don’t have to be an astronomer. Here are 5 steps to do it:

1. Find An Ideal Dark Sky To Photograph

Waiting until the night sets in isn’t enough for astrophotography. Having a dark sky that’s free from light pollution is an important requirement to being able to see astronomical objects clearly. Avoid as much as possible city lights near the point where you’ll mount your digital camera.

There are certain times of the year when astronomical objects are perfectly visible. Know your region well to have a better understanding of when these astronomical objects are properly visible.

2. Have A Good Digital Camera And Set It Up Properly

Astrophotography is done well at night and the available light will be minimal. You’ll need to have a camera with a good high ISO, 3200 being a good starting point. The camera’s sensor should be able to shoot without adding a lot of noise to the images.

The camera’s lens whose maximum aperture is at least f/2.8 is a good choice. The faster it is, the better. Your focal length should also be wide. A wider lens means you’ll be able to capture more astronomical objects. Use a tripod that is firm. If your camera has a live view feature, use it to focus on bright stars.

3. Set Up A Long Shutter Speed

To be able to capture more light and have a proper bright exposure, ensure that your shutter speed is long. Keep in mind however that the planet is constantly rotating and if you keep your shutter open for an extra extended time period, you’ll capture trails of the astronomical objects.

There is a ‘500 rule’ that works effectively. Simply divide your lens’ focal length with 500 and the resulting figure you get is what you’ll use as the shutter speed. If you have a crop sensor camera, ensure that the crop factor is accounted for by multiplying it with the lens’ focal length.

5 Steps To Taking Astrophotography With A DSLR
*Image from Pexels.

4. Have A Wide Open Aperture And Compose Your Shoot

When capturing astronomical objects, you’ll want to collect as much light as you possibly can. You’ll want to use a fast lens and if it has an unacceptable softness at f/1.4, then an f/2 stop down will sharpen things without affecting the lens’ ability to gather light.

Composing your shoot is all dependent on your preference. You can frame your shoot as a landscape shot with the astronomical objects acting as a background and the mountains, rock formations, trees, or people acting as the foreground. Experiment until you find what works well for you.


5. Adjust The Exposure Accordingly And Process Your Shots

If your first shot doesn’t have a satisfactory exposure, ensure that you adjust all the necessary settings until you have it right where you want it. There are several variations when it comes to processing your shots. Of high importance is to shoot raw and have the best exposure from the camera. If need be, apply a bit of noise reduction and sharpness.


Conclusion

For more information on capturing astronomical objects with a DSLR, check out this amazing article on taking astrophotography.


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