ASTROPHOTOGRAPHY - How To Get Started

is photography of astronomical objects, celestial events, and areas of the night sky. The first photograph of an astronomical object was taken in 1840, but it was not until the late 19th century that advances in technology allowed for detailed stellar photography. Wikipedia

Shooting the stars easier than you think all you need is any DSLR, a lens (a simple nifty 50 works fine) a tripod and a headlamp. You do need to do some pre planning before attempting the style of photography, first pick your spot void of light pollution using dark sky finder, check the moon cycle here as it’s better to shoot after the full moon so the night sky is at its darkest.

Day of the shoot try to get to your chosen location before sunset so you can get a nice composition, try to find something that silhouette nicely in front of the stars. while you can still see, setup your camera on a tripod and focus on something far away and lock off your focus with a piece of tape on your lens. Turn the option on your camera to a 2 second count down before it takes a picture, (The idea is to have no vibrations while shutter is open). I also find having f stop at around f/2.8-3.5 works best for achieving a focus. Setting your exposure is calculated with a thing called the 500 rule I shoot on a full frame Sony A7Rii with a Zeiss 25mm f2.0 and my native ISO is around 800. So my setting might look something like this.

500/25x1.5=13.33

Or

25mm X 1.5 crop factor =13 or 14 seconds maximum shutter speed as to minimize star trails.

This may be too bright or dark so I will review each shot and tweak my ISO settings (careful not to exceed the cameras native ISO to avoid noise in my image) till I am happy with the exposure, I start at 100 ISO and make my way up till I am happy.

Last summer I visited Utah, Arizona and California in search of Milky Way images and got lucky on few nights that were clear and just after the full moon. This shot was taken at Goblin State Park in Utah with these camera settings.

Goblin State Valley Park - Milky Way