Photographing the night skies





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  1. #1
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    Default Photographing the night skies

    Hi Everyone,

    I have a Canon SX60 bridge camera. Great camera. It goes on holidays and family do's, and other memorable events.
    I am not a photographic fundi, and I do not sit for hours editing photos.
    I take pics, delete the blurred ones, and enjoy paging through the saved ones.
    But.... Now I am going to the Mountain Zebra Park near Cradock, and I am wanting to take a few pics of the "Milky Way" and the night skies.

    Do you have a tip or two, on photographing the stars?

    I forgot to mention that I do have a tripod, and just recently bought myself a remote cable for the camera to avoid shutter shake with the lens out at maximum zoom.
    Many Thanks
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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Photographing the night skies

    Maybe this can help to some extent , an article by Nasim Mansurov recieved today

    https://photographylife.com/landscap...-the-milky-way

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Photographing the night skies

    Sorry to be the bearer of bad tidings, but prepare for frustration.

    Milky way and night sky photography is THE MOST demanding form of photography in terms of camera abilities and post-processing.
    1996 Patrol 4.2SGL with lots of stuff to make it heavier and thus increase traction?

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Photographing the night skies

    Quote Originally Posted by Peter Connan View Post
    Sorry to be the bearer of bad tidings, but prepare for frustration.

    Milky way and night sky photography is THE MOST demanding form of photography in terms of camera abilities and post-processing.
    That's okay. You are not the bearer of bad news...
    Frustration is a state of mind.
    Fishing, camping, taking photos, are hobbies. Time out to relax, and unwind.
    Different from having to earn a living.
    Once darkness settles in (Especially in the game reserve).... I have hours of solitude to point and shoot.
    Post processing can wait till another day. Right now I am happy to just get the basics right, and progress from there.
    I met some crazy people.... They made me their leader.

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    1993 Ford Courier 2.2... Odometer stopped working just over 530'000 km's. Sold 2013
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  5. #5
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    Default Re: Photographing the night skies

    Quote Originally Posted by AlexP View Post
    That's okay. You are not the bearer of bad news...
    Frustration is a state of mind.
    Fishing, camping, taking photos, are hobbies. Time out to relax, and unwind.
    Different from having to earn a living.
    Once darkness settles in (Especially in the game reserve).... I have hours of solitude to point and shoot.
    Post processing can wait till another day. Right now I am happy to just get the basics right, and progress from there.
    taking a pic and do post processing while it is fresh in the mind. This helped ke a lit more to learn. You see problems you ask questions. You take corrective steps. Next night same thing over and over. I feel for you if you think you learn the way you describe. Its going to ve a long road methink.

    But every guy learn differently.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Photographing the night skies

    Quote Originally Posted by Peter Connan View Post
    Sorry to be the bearer of bad tidings, but prepare for frustration.

    Milky way and night sky photography is THE MOST demanding form of photography in terms of camera abilities and post-processing.
    Alexp

    Take notice of this advice and he is at master classes believe me he knows what he is talking about. This is very specialed field. You wil only get average pics with average equipment and knowledge. To take spectacular night time require a lot of dedication time effort and some serious hardware.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Photographing the night skies

    Quote Originally Posted by johan65 View Post
    Alexp

    Take notice of this advice and he is at master classes believe me he knows what he is talking about. This is very specialed field. You wil only get average pics with average equipment and knowledge. To take spectacular night time require a lot of dedication time effort and some serious hardware.
    This I do not dispute, and I have no doubt that the advice was a 100% correct.
    I do appreciate that someone has taken the time to read my post and write back to me.

    But this is my first attempt this weekend to photograph the night sky.
    I have a few great pics of the blood moon, and I realise that my camera is not top of the range, but it will be a fun weekend and interesting too....
    It would be absolutely hilarious if the sky was overcast.
    I met some crazy people.... They made me their leader.

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    2013 Nissan NP300 - Daily workhorse
    1993 Ford Courier 2.2... Odometer stopped working just over 530'000 km's. Sold 2013
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  8. #8
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    Default Re: Photographing the night skies

    Just go out there and have some fun, that is what its all about!
    Non of us are masters of photography and I guess we are all just amateurs with varying skill levels, but with one thing in common .....enjoyment.....what ever tools we are using
    Last edited by mfuwefarmer; 2018/05/03 at 10:02 PM.

  9. #9
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    Default Photographing the night skies

    Alex, starscape with milky way is shot with lens at the widest angle zoom setting and max aperture (lowest f value) for maximum light if taken as single exposure. Try for around 20-30 seconds on iso 3200 & 6400. The more zoom, the quicker star trails starts due to the earths rotation.

    You will neeed to manual focus, but looks like your camera supports it.

    Also try to take pictures in raw and not jpeg format. Can then set white balance etc manually afterwards. For jpeg, you will have to set white balance manually to quite cold colour to get bluer night sky tint. Not sure about free raw converters, but canon should have one. I use adobe lightroom.

    Basie van Zyl had an excellent ebook on the topic, but he unfortunately passed away a few years back so not sure if you can still get it from somewhere. Highly recommendend if you are serious abou the topic
    Last edited by BennvdmWhk; 2018/05/05 at 06:28 PM.
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  11. #10
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    Default Re: Photographing the night skies

    Had a quick google around on this wrt to the SX60 in particular, DP Review has this to say .....

    "Canon SX60 is not really suited for this type of photography. Given the camera's small sensor and pixel size, its light gathering abilities are limited. Its minimum shutter speed of 15 sec. and f/3.4 aperture also limits the light gathering abilities further ."

    And the kicker .........

    "
    Without Canon Hack Development Kit (CHDK) software, the SX60 is limited to 15 second exposures at ISO 100, and 1 second exposures for ISO>100, which limits its use for astrophotography."
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  12. #11
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    Default Re: Photographing the night skies

    Quote Originally Posted by BennvdmWhk View Post
    Alex, starscape with milky way is shot with lens at the widest angle zoom setting and max aperture (lowest f value) for maximum light if taken as single exposure. Try for around 20-30 seconds on iso 3200 & 6400. The more zoom, the quicker star trails starts due to the earths rotation.

    You will neeed to manual focus, but looks like your camera supports it.

    Also try to take pictures in raw and not jpeg format. Can then set white balance etc manually afterwards. For jpeg, you will have to set white balance manually to quite cold colour to get bluer night sky tint. Not sure about free raw converters, but canon should have one. I use adobe lightroom.

    Basie van Zyl had an excellent ebook on the topic, but he unfortunately passed away a few years back so not sure if you can still get it from somewhere. Highly recommendend if you are serious abou the topic
    Hi Benny,
    Thank you for your excellent advice. This is exactly what I needed to know.... Set the iso/ the aperture settings, ect.
    I have just returned home from an excellent 4 days in the Mountain Zebra Park. Unfortunately it appears that the few night time, starry photos that I did attempt to take, are plain blank/ black masterpieces.

    But I did learn a few lessons on this trip.... First & foremost - Don't plan on doing a lot of night time outdoors photography when one has booked a mountain cottage in the actual reserve (Not inside a rest camp) and there are lions in the area.
    The first night there, the baboons kept on barking and screeching at all hours of the night, and we heard a lion roar. The next morning when we left our cottage to go cheetah tracking, at the end of our "driveway" were 2 male lions relaxing in the morning sunshine.

    All in all it was an awesome trip, with many other great photos taken of the landscape and animals.
    I met some crazy people.... They made me their leader.

    2014 Mazda BT-50 - Recently bought. March 2018
    2013 Nissan NP300 - Daily workhorse
    1993 Ford Courier 2.2... Odometer stopped working just over 530'000 km's. Sold 2013
    69' Series 2 Landi - Old, slow, thirsty. Go anywhere. Stolen in 2010

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