Astrophotography is very simple to learn and execute. Once you know the rules of astrophotography, you can shoot deep-sky objects in the sky easily with a telescope or a simple camera lens. If you learn some processes, select perfect tools then you will find Astrophotography fun and interesting.
Now if you want to capture a picture of the night sky that includes colorful, sharp stars, any galaxy, nebula or you want to be experienced in astrophotography. Then the following astrophotography tips will help you. Through this article, we will give you some important tips that will help you capture the astro images of the night sky perfectly.
Tips for Pre-shooting Preparation
Professional astronomers suggest that you might need to spend sleepless nights along with a lot of time and money with patience to capture one perfect image of the night sky. You may require quality camera, lenses and other advanced quality equipment in order to get some great captures but there is always room for improvement with some tips and tricks. Here are some of the most important tips for capturing the best images of the night sky.
Selecting Astrophotography Equipment
The most important element in astrophotography is the selection of equipment. Because it is important to know which tools you will use to capture images and what other accessories are needed. And how the equipment should look is also very important to you. So now let's know about the tools.
The tripod is a very important element for camera stabilization. Because it can protect your camera and lens from damage. Choose the tripod that is heavier and stronger. And tough tripods are also quite affordable.
Camera and lense
For night sky images, you need to select a camera that allows full manual and exposure control. This is usually the case with a full-frame mirrorless body and DSLR cameras. Again Canon EOS 60d has been created just for astrophotography. These cameras have higher infrared sensitivities that can take pictures with faded details of objects in the deep sky. If you attach your camera to a telescope, it is great for testing and research.
Now let's talk about lenses. Lens selection is also an important part of astrophotography. Lens has the greatest impact on star images. Wide and bright lenses are the best of all. The ideal lens is usually 10-20 mm with a 1.4-2-8 f-stop. And the minimum is f / 4 lenses.
Most astrophotographers usually use Rokinon or Samyang lenses. The company manufactures super-wide-angle and fully manual lenses.
Tracker is the most helpful tool for deep sky astrophotography. It is to be mounted on a tripod. It helps you shoot long exposure shots of stars.There are some trackers that are simple, portable, and affordable. The best trackers are iOptron Sky Tracker, Slik Astro Tracker, Sky-Watcher Star Adventure, etc.
Select telescope for astrophotography
A modest telescope is very important to get a nice image. So when buying a telescope for astrophotography, consider its usability and durability. Then you will see what kind of telescope it is, refractor or reflector or compound, whether its aperture is small or big, the mount type is alt-azimuth or equatorial.
Light pollution filter
It is very important for astrophotographers to use light pollution filters to reduce the glare of artificial light. Before choosing it, consider what kind of artificial light you are using. Because you have to choose the filter according to which light you want to minimize. For example, the Optolong L-Pro filter minimizes bright blue and white light.
Find Dark Sky Good Quality Photo
Dark sky detection is an important issue in astrophotography. Finding dark sky for astrophotography is a bit difficult for many astronomers. because light pollution in the night sky is almost everywhere.
Astrophotographers take pictures of polluted dark sky and consider it important to keep the dark sky free from pollution. Because the public awareness about the pollution of the dark sky can be increased through those spectacular images. As a result, they will be able to think about why the dark sky is being polluted and how to keep the sky free from pollution and try not to pollute.
You can easily find a dark sky from the International Dark Skies Association website. This company will not only give you information about dark sky but also about how to preserve the dark sky, the causes of pollution, and how to keep them pollution-free.
Tips for Perfect Astrophotography
After following the above tips, you might have taken all the preparations you need. Once you are ready with the pieces of astrophotography equipment, you can capture any picture you want. Here's some tips you need to follow if you want to capture perfect pictures.
Astro camera setting
Astro camera setting is one of the major learnings of astrophotography. You can follow the following camera settings to focus the lens so that more light can reach the sensor.
Lens Mode: Manual focus
Aperture: F/4 ( as Low as it goes)
White Balance: Auto or Daylight
Exposure: l 30 seconds or bulb
ISO: 1600 (Higher will show more stars)
If you want to dial this setting before taking pictures, remember that this setting is very important when focusing the lens. For example, If your camera has the option to set an ISO of 12800 and the option to set the lens F / 2, then you can see a lot of stars through this setting.
Sirius, Vega, Deneb, Altain, Arcturus, these bright stars of the Northern Hemisphere will help you to focus. If you can see the black screen even after pointing the lens at bright stars, make sure your lens cap is still attached perfectly to the lens. Or check if the aperture is set to F / 22. If this is the case then check again if each setting is OK and change if necessary.
If you see them on the camera display screen, first zoom 5x and then 10x zoom mode. In this case, adjust the focus of the lens slowly until the starlight turns into a small pin-point. It's best to take a moment to adjust because they look much smaller and sharper before taking pictures.
White balance setting
Another camera setting that you need to master is the White balance setting for astrophotography. You might see a white object actually while observing but in the picture it has a red or purple tint. But if you want the white objects to be captured exactly how they look like, then you have to keep the white balance. To adjust this white balance setting, you need to select the preset option from the dropdown menu.
You need to use Adobe Camera Raw to set the white balance in your RAW image. In many cases, the daylight white balance setting is also good for astrophotography because it can easily be changed in post-production if you shoot RAW.
Use the camera delay timer
It is very important to use the camera delay timer so that the image is not damaged by the camera shake.This is to be set in the camera settings. It is in the drive mode area and set to 2-10 seconds delay. Touching the camera while taking pictures can ruin the image by accidental shake. And to avoid this problem, it is best to use this camera delay timer.
Keep your eye on the histogram
In the case of astrophotography, the histogram will give you a visual reputation of the data collected in your image. From this information, you will realize if your image is too bright or too dark. If you see that the data in the histogram is ‘clipped' on both sides, then you need to adjust the setting of ISO, Aperture, and Exposure Length again.
If you clip the image data on the left side of the histogram, you will understand that it is invalid data which is pure black in the image you have taken. And if there is a clip on the right side of the histogram, then you have to understand that there is a “blown out” in some places in your picture which is pure white and it can be a bright light.
Shoot in fully manual mode
Start your shooting in full manual mode so that the autofocus can not be confused by the lack of light. And it is essential to note that one side of a lens focus barrel is not the entire stop, rather it's only a few degrees away from the stop. Now control the exposure and set the ISO manually.
You may have found these tips beneficial for astronomy because in any season of the year, you can use these tips for different types of photography in the night sky. The main theme here is the fancy equipment needed to take beautiful astrophoto and you can capture great images of the sky by following the tips above. If you find our tips useful and think it's important to add something here, let us know in the comment box.