Take pictures of the starry sky of summer

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Sunday, 19/06/2022 03:06

       Take pictures of the starry sky of summer



The warm weather of the summer months in North America makes this time of year the perfect opportunity to get outdoors after dark to photograph the night sky. But not only are the temperatures pleasant, this time of year also offers a host of interesting astronomical objects to photograph after dark. Here's a look at three upcoming night sky events and some tips for making the most of your efforts to photograph them.




Every year, Earth passes through a small field of dust left behind by comet Swift-Tuttle. While that description may not sound very exciting, in fact, it absolutely is. This annual event appears to those of us in the northern hemisphere of the earth as a beautiful nightly meteor shower, otherwise known as the Perseids. The Perseids peak in early August every year and are best seen (and photographed) further away from the city lights and closer to dawn. This year's peak is expected to be the night of August 12 and the dawn of August 13, but in a few weeks either side of that peak, the meteor showers will be easily visible after midnight as they appears to pass through the constellation Perseus.


At its peak, more than 60 meteors per hour were visible. To photograph them, start as you would with any night sky photography and place the camera on a tripod and use a cable release or timed exposure. I don't find the widest aperture sharp enough on any of the lenses, so I usually stop a stop or two from wide open and adjust the ISO accordingly so I can create the proper exposure. with shutter speeds between 10 and 30 seconds. Meteor trails only last a second or two, but with longer exposures, you're more likely to capture them. And if you're really lucky, you'll capture multiple streaks in a single frame. Choose a wide-angle lens (20mm, or slightly wider, usually ideal) pointing the camera towards the darkest part of the sky — usually straight up — or if that doesn't create a pleasing composition , make a scene that incorporates earth elements as well. This way your images of mountains, lakes and night skies are already very interesting, and the appearance of the Perseids simply puts it on top.





Another summer subject that looks and looks good on dark nights is our own Milky Means galaxy. Appearing as a beautiful long strip of light, shadow and colorful shape in the sky, the Milky Way begins to appear in early summer but becomes fully visible in July and August. It takes a very dark sky to be able to see and photograph the Milky Way, which will be dramatic in the southern sky as soon as the sun goes down — as long as you're away from light pollution and the moon bright round. New moons are best because the skies are darkest on these nights, and coming up on August 8 and September 7, this year's new moons and the days around them make the Milky Way the opposite. Ideal photographic image.


It is possible to photograph the galaxy with a faster shutter speed because it always appears in the night sky and a shutter speed that is too long will create motion blur. Try increasing the ISO to 6,400 or so if needed and keeping the shutter speed at or below 15 seconds to minimize star trails. As with Perseids, I recommend an aperture that simply needs widening off — for example, ƒ/2.8 on a ƒ/2 lens — to let in enough light to keep the ISO from getting too high and the shutter speed too long. .


With the Milky Way more than most astronomical subjects, what you're really trying to accomplish is a beautiful landscape composition that features an interesting sky thanks to the stars themselves. An empty, sky-only scene won't work as well as a mountain or desert scene — or especially a scene with water in the foreground can reflect the lights of the night sky and make the scene interesting much more— like the lights and colors of the Milky Way help the scene shine. If possible, you can also explore opportunities to use flash or a continuous light source to illuminate some of the ground objects in your frame. This can be a tree flash or a bluff floodlight. However you choose to do it, this enhanced light can create some really unique and very interesting images of the Milky Way. Just be sure to avoid letting any extraneous light enter the camera's lens during the exposure.


Full moon


Two full moons will appear before the end of summer this year, and both are ideal opportunities to photograph the moon, as well as the nighttime landscape illuminated by a beautiful moonlight. The third of four full moons in a season is called a Blue Moon — which doesn't actually appear blue — and will occur this year when the sun sets on August 22. The full moon appears. closest to the autumn equinox in September is known as the Harvest Moon, as the bright light, tradition says, makes it possible to harvest crops all night. However, for those of us who are not farmers, that bright full moon becomes another opportunity to capture this ideal subject all night long.


This year's Harvest Moon will rise in the east on September 21 and move across the sky, brightly lit until morning. These full moons can be photographed with a wide-angle lens like any other composing element in a night landscape, or with a telephoto lens or ultra-telescope to show texture and detail on lunar surface. Telescopes are ideal for power zooming, but without that, some amazing images can be created with a 600mm or even 400mm or less telephoto lens within a few inches. But the longer the lens, the more shots you will have to crop to fill the frame with the man in the moon.


Since the moon acts as a light source, you don't need to worry much about getting enough light, but focus on sharpness and exposure to capture as much detail as possible. Start with a low ISO, such as 50 or 100, to keep noise to a minimum. Then, choose a very sharp aperture — such as ƒ/8 or ƒ/11 — and finally, dial the shutter speed (through trial and error) to create the correct exposure. Start somewhere in the neighborhood of 1/125NS and adjust from there. And while the shutter speed may suggest otherwise, be sure to place the camera on a tripod and be sure to use the self-timer, mirror lock, or cable release to eliminate any camera movement. from the photograph. Because the lens is long, the slightest vibrations can have a huge impact on sharpness. For the moon, as well as other night sky subjects discussed here, be sure to use manual focus to prevent the camera from looking for sharpness or adjusting between shots. And if you're having trouble seeing it through the viewfinder with the naked eye, try using the live view on your camera's LCD monitor and zoom in on it to make sure your focus is sharp.


Thanks for reading!

Big Bill Rizer


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