Photographing the Stars as Points of Light


First: Read this blog post on Tips for Photographing the Stars as Points of Light for more description then follow these steps.

• Wide Angle Lens. 14-35 full frame, 10-22 for crop sensor cameras.

• Shutter Speed 15-30 Seconds. Example settings no faster than listed:

o Full frame: 14mm at 30 seconds, 16mm at 25 seconds, 24mm at 20 seconds, 30mm at 35mm at 15 seconds.

o Crop sensor: figure out the actual focal length for you lens and use the shutter speed  numbers above. For example if you have a Canon Rebel camera and you are using the 16-35mm at 16mm. Multiply 16mm x 1.6 = 25.6mm. Use the number of seconds for a 24mm lens. If you are using a lens that tells you the actual focal length, you do not need to apply the multiplication factor. 

• Wide open aperture. F/2.8 or faster.

• Set ISO. At f2.8 on a dark night ISO 6400. f/1.4 at ISO 3200.

• Set White Balance to Kelvin temperature 3400 to 4400.

• Set the lens to the focusing point or just backed off from infinity

• Focusing on the stars

• Tape the lens

• Turn off auto focus on the lens

• No filters

• Use the lens hood

• Take Photo and review on LCD screen

• Check histogram and sharpeness

• Check the white balance. Change Kelvin temperature to what you want

• Turn off Long Exposure Noise Reduction


Focusing Method 1

• Focus on the moon with auto focus. I use the center focusing point for focusing on the moon or star. Then turn the lens to manual focus.

Focusing Method 2

• Focus on a distant subject, such as a mountain, or say 100 feet away. Look at your lens and check to see where it focuses at for that focal length. Remember that or mark your lens. Turn lens to manual focus.

Focusing Method 3

• Focusing – place a bright star in the center of the frame (use the center focusing point to find it). Use the magnify button to zoom in to the star. Manually focus on the star using a loupe. The star should look small.


Check Out the Book

Photography Night Sky: A Field Guide for Shooting After Dark.

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