Page 2 of 2 Previous

Continued: Brian Peterson: How to photograph the night sky

  • Article by: BRIAN PETERSON , Star Tribune
  • Last update: January 18, 2014 - 7:01 PM

Once you find a dark location with an unobstructed view of the night sky, get started by framing your shot for the best composition. I often use trees or a small building in the foreground to add interest and scale to the shot.

Once you are happy with the composition, take a few test shots. I start with an ISO setting of 1600, aperture of 2.0 or 2.8, and a shutter speed of 15 seconds. Take a look at your images on your LCD to see how it looks, but keep in mind that your images will look much lighter on your LCD in the dark than they will on your computer back home. If your image is too dark, try opening up your aperture — 1.8 or 1.4 would be ideal. But if 2.8 is all you have, try increasing your ISO to 3200 or even 6400 if you have a newer DSLR camera. Another remedy for dark images is to double your shutter speed to 30 seconds, but that’s the limit. Any longer will create star trails.

Once I have an exposure of the sky I’m happy with, I often do a little light painting with a flashlight during the exposure to highlight foreground trees or buildings. Also be careful not to have bright lights on inside any buildings you’re photographing — say, a cabin. If you want the windows to glow, often a small candle will be enough to light the inside without being too bright.

My final advice is to shoot RAW files rather than JPEGs. RAW is an untouched file format, with no compression or correction, giving you much more flexibility with exposure and post-processing once you’re back at the computer.







 

  • related content

  • Video: Incredible Minnesota night sky time-lapse

    Thursday December 26, 2013

    This time-lapse was recorded in central St. Louis County in early November 2010.

  • Photo gallery: Shooting stars

    Thursday December 26, 2013

    Tips for photographing the night sky.

  • The first step in shooting the night sky is finding a dark location with clear views of the open sky. The shot above was taken west of Cook, Minn., on a clear night when the temperature plunged to 17-below.

  • After finding the right composition and a good exposure for the stars, try using a small flashlight to paint light on the image. In the photograph above, the front of the cabin and trees were all lit with a flashlight. The glow from inside the cabin came from two small candles.

  • Astrophotographay often calls for long exposures, so a sturdy tripod and remote trigger are essentials. A 24mm lens, or even wider, will help capture the full scope of the night sky.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

Click here to send us your hunting or fishing photos – and to see what others are showing off from around the region.

ADVERTISEMENT

San Francisco 5 Bottom 4th Inning
Kansas City 0
San Diego 10/23/14 7:25 PM
Denver
Detroit 10/26/14 8:30 AM
Atlanta
Buffalo 10/26/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
St. Louis 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
Houston 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee
Minnesota 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Seattle 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Carolina
Baltimore 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Cincinnati
Miami 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Chicago 10/26/14 12:00 PM
New England
Philadelphia 10/26/14 3:05 PM
Arizona
Oakland 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Cleveland
Indianapolis 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Pittsburgh
Green Bay 10/26/14 7:30 PM
New Orleans
Washington 10/27/14 7:30 PM
Dallas
Houston 66 3rd Qtr 2:42
Miami 62
Indiana 63 4th Qtr
Minnesota 82
Utah 85 4th Qtr
Oklahoma City 69
Portland 35 2nd Qtr 6:46
Denver 27
Phoenix 9:00 PM
LA Lakers
LA Clippers 9:30 PM
Golden State
San Jose 3 FINAL
Boston 5
NY Rangers 4 FINAL(OT)
New Jersey 3
Toronto 5 FINAL
NY Islanders 2
Detroit 1 3rd Prd 5:43
Montreal 0
Arizona 2 3rd Prd
Nashville 2
Carolina 1 3rd Prd
Winnipeg 3
Philadelphia 0 2nd Prd 13:59
Chicago 3
Vancouver 1 2nd Prd 8:44
Dallas 6
Florida 2 2nd Prd
Colorado 0
Tampa Bay 0 2nd Prd
Calgary 0
Arkansas State 23 2nd Qtr 1:02
Louisiana 34
Connecticut 10/23/14 6:00 PM
(18) East Carolina
Miami-Florida 10/23/14 7:00 PM
Virginia Tech
So Florida 10/24/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Troy 10/24/14 6:30 PM
South Alabama
BYU 10/24/14 8:00 PM
Boise State
(6) Oregon 10/24/14 9:00 PM
California
North Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Rice
UAB 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Arkansas
Rutgers 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(16) Nebraska
Maryland 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Wisconsin
Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(11) Kansas State
Minnesota 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
Memphis 10/25/14 11:00 AM
SMU
North Carolina 10/25/14 11:30 AM
Virginia
San Jose St 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Navy
Northern Ill 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
(25) UCLA 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Colorado
Akron 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Ball State
Massachusetts 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Toledo
Ohio U 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Western Mich
Ga Southern 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Kent State 10/25/14 1:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
Oregon State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Stanford
Fla Atlantic 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(23) Marshall
Louisiana Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Southern Miss
(1) Miss State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Kentucky
Georgia Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Pittsburgh
(22) West Virginia 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Oklahoma State
Texas Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(10) TCU
Michigan 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(8) Michigan State
Boston College 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Wake Forest
Central Mich 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Buffalo
Vanderbilt 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Missouri
Old Dominion 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Western Ky
UNLV 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Utah State
Temple 10/25/14 4:00 PM
UCF
(15) Arizona 10/25/14 5:00 PM
Washington St
Texas-El Paso 10/25/14 6:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Wyoming 10/25/14 6:00 PM
Colorado State
Syracuse 10/25/14 6:00 PM
(21) Clemson
Texas State 10/25/14 6:00 PM
ULM
(3) Ole Miss 10/25/14 6:15 PM
(24) LSU
(4) Alabama 10/25/14 6:30 PM
Tennessee
So Carolina 10/25/14 6:30 PM
(5) Auburn
(13) Ohio State 10/25/14 7:00 PM
Penn State
(20) USC 10/25/14 9:00 PM
(19) Utah
(14) Arizona State 10/25/14 9:45 PM
Washington
Nevada 10/25/14 10:59 PM
Hawaii
Montreal 10/24/14 5:30 PM
Ottawa
Saskatchewan 10/24/14 8:30 PM
Calgary
Hamilton 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Toronto
Brt Columbia 10/25/14 6:00 PM
Winnipeg
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Should the lake where the albino muskie was caught remain a mystery?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close