Night Time images

Sometimes when you do something new it all works out well. My first proper star images came out pretty well, even if i do say so myself.

Things were definitely helped by taking a trip up to the border of Scotland last month, but more on light pollution and dirty skys coming up in a future post, so please add me to you RSS feed and click the follow or follow me on twitter (@Gordon_Burns)

The first image i’ll show you is called a billion points of light. I took it at around 2000 iso using my trusty 17 – 50 f2.8 sigma lens. Really makes a difference using a bright lens for this sort of stuff. You need to get your exposure within 30 seconds. Opening the shutter longer than that and you’ve got star trails. Now think about how fast we are moving through space.I’m guessing the king lens for this sort of stuff would be a 24mm 1.4. But alas, a boy can dream! So after a few tests i got my settings right then that hard part, getting the focus right. Anyone got any tips of doing that any easier? Oh and you did remember your tripod, right?

A Billion Points of Light

And talking about star trails. My main image from this night if shooting was a super long exposure of 42 minutes! I used a Cokin ND filter to darken my image. Now I shall share a quick tip which worked for me when making test shots. Presuming that you’re going to shoot as ISO 100 for your finished image. Set it now to 6400 and make your test shot of x number of seconds. If your happy with the level of the exposure, then turn X number of seconds into X number of minutes at ISO 100. Can’t remember where I learned that tip, sorry.

And after 42 minutes of exposing and another 42 minutes of the camera doing it’s magic Long Exposure Noise Reduction thingy which works REALLY well on my little Nikon, we had a cooked image. I was pretty happy with it and did some curves in photoshop. But i felt something wasn’t quite there with the finished composition. So a dragged an earlier test shot I did of just 25 seconds with the stars still showing as pin points and did a little masking. the final image is shown below.

Stars of the North

Both of these images will shortly be available as fine art posters on my newly revitalised ETSY page.

Since taking these images, i’ve been messing around with a bit more night photography and i’ve learned a few things about photography on my way. Stay tuned for an action packed month of blogging where you may see the frantic action of a blog post EVERY week!

Talk soon,

Gordon

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