Anita

Lets see your stars and night sky

261 posts in this topic

In Mana on one night I tried to get a few shots but without a tripod (had the skimmer pod on a table) it was very challenging. Yesterday while going through the photos I saw that I had left one undeleted ( possibly because it wasnt blurred). I have a huge fascination for night sky and star trails pics. So if you have one to share here....you know what you have to do :)

 

This one is pretty ordinary but caused a deep longing pang to be back...

 

 

 

gallery_8193_683_252813.jpg

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Lovely! You got one! :D

 

This is the best I got, I quite like the last few stars/planets shining through as dawn broke over Little Vundu:

 

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P8053350 by kittykat23uk, on Flickr

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Am looking forward to the submissions in this thread...

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I was so interested to see the submissions in this topic: has anyone got any African night sky photos to share with us here on ST and hints and tips for anyone trying to do the same?

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Does the moon count?

 

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On our self drive last year. It was full moon at the begining and full moon at the end!

 

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Who else has taken pics of the night sky whilst on Safari? Please do upload them here...

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only the moon .....at Selinda 2007

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Seems as if I just can't get a decent holiday in at the moment, but we did manage to spend one night away last weekend, in the Vredefort dome (an ancient meteriorite crater). A thunderstorm narrowly missed us, but by the time I had set everything up, it was virtually over...

 

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Shortly thereafter, the moon rose, and the remaining clouds gave me this:

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post-17162-0-72828100-1413718285_thumb.jpg

 

First one Bitterpan wilderness camp Kgalagadi Transfrontier park, Second Gharagab wilderness camp.

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Very nice! Talk us through how you took them.

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Thanks. We now have a Nikon D610 and bought a Samyang 14mm lens especially for night sky photographs which we have been keen to do for a while now.

 

I booked the Kgalagadi portion of the trip so that there was no moon for most of the time, but by the time we got to Bitterpan it was just showing, but actually looks quite nice in the photograph.

 

We prefer having something other than just stars in the photograph.

 

We set the camera on live view, manual focus and zoomed in on a star and focused as best we could on that star. Its basically on infinity so not too difficult. The camera was on a tripod and we have a remote control. Blank out the eye viewfinder thing. Shot in RAW. Exposure on manual. Tried to get the Milky Way in the main part of the sky.

 

We set the ISO at 3200, exposure was around 15 seconds and f/3.3. We think next time we will reduce the exposure time to less than 15 seconds as we can see a very small movement in the stars. We are not keen on star trails.

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Posted (edited)

@@penolva, thanks for that lengthy and detailed explanation! I also like this type of photo, but up to now have always failed miserably in taking them. Part of the reason is that with my crop-frame camera and unsuitable lenses (my shortest is a 24mm f2.8 or a 18-70 f4.5-5.6 which is too slow) I cannot get a decent amount of the sky in the photo, and another part of the reason is that I am far too fond of my bed.

 

If I may ask some questions:

Firstly, your 15 second exposure is far shorter than the oft-quoted rule of 600/shutter speed (which would give 44 seconds) or even the more conservative rule that takes the camera's resolution into account (which yields an exposure of 34 seconds). Are you saying that these rules are too lax, or could there be some other reason (atmospheric haze or similar)? Also, I would have thought the advantage in reduced noise gained by doubling the shutter speed and thus reducing the ISO to 1600 would more than make up for any slight streaking, do you feel there is so little added noise from ISO 1600 to ISO 3200 that it doesn't noticeably degrade the photo?

 

Lastly, I am seriously considering the new D750 together with the new 20mm f1.8 (the lens being specifically for this type of photo), how do you think this lens would compare to your 14mm? Would it be wide enough to get the whole milky way (in portrait orientation)?

 

Thank you.

Edited by Peter Connan
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@@penolva, thanks for that lengthy and detailed explanation! I also like this type of photo, but up to now have always failed miserably in taking them. Part of the reason is that with my crop-frame camera and unsuitable lenses (my shortest is a 24mm f2.8 or a 18-70 f4.5-5.6 which is too slow) I cannot get a decent amount of the sky in the photo, and another part of the reason is that I am far too fond of my bed.

 

If I may ask some questions:

Firstly, your 15 second exposure is far shorter than the oft-quoted rule of 600/shutter speed (which would give 44 seconds) or even the more conservative rule that takes the camera's resolution into account (which yields an exposure of 34 seconds). Are you saying that these rules are too lax, or could there be some other reason (atmospheric haze or similar)? Also, I would have thought the advantage in reduced noise gained by doubling the shutter speed and thus reducing the ISO to 1600 would more than make up for any slight streaking, do you feel there is so little added noise from ISO 1600 to ISO 3200 that it doesn't noticeably degrade the photo?

 

Lastly, I am seriously considering the new D750 together with the new 20mm f1.8 (the lens being specifically for this type of photo), how do you think this lens would compare to your 14mm? Would it be wide enough to get the whole milky way (in portrait orientation)?

 

Thank you.

@PeterConnan we really enjoyed trying out the night sky photography and to be honest never had to stay up later than 9pm as the skies were

so dark in the Kgalagadi. The full frame sensor reduces noise at high ISO. 44 second would result in star trails from our experience. We

started with ISO 1600 but changed to higher during the holiday. This was just by trial and error and what we found pleasing.

 

If the D750 is a full frame camera then the 20mm might be fine, but you can look on the Nikon sight to see the extent of wide angle. We would say get the widest angle you can, the Samyang is excellent and was a fraction of the cost of the Nikon, we are very happy with it.

 

 

We hope to improve our efforts next time. We have not photoshopped the photographs at all but there is a YouTube

video we have watched where the changes that can be made are startling! We are planning to try to make the Milky

Way stand out more by using photoshop.

 

 

Look forward to seeing some of your results! Pen

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@@Peter Connan:

Both D750 and 20mm f1,8 will be an excellent tool, not only for night skies but also for great landscape shots.

I have tried getting a decent photo from top of Mauna Kea, Hawai'i. The Milky Way was fabulous, my photos a disaster :unsure: . More practice awaits me next April :) .

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Thanks @@penolva

 

The D750 is indeed a full frame. It's sensor is very similar to your D610's but with a bit less noise apparently.

 

I know what the angle of view of the lens is, but what I don't know is how wide an angle is actually needed.

 

Here is an interesting article on the topic:

http://www.lonelyspeck.com/lenses-for-milky-way-photography/

 

As an engineer, I am unfortunately one of those people who like to calculate stuff. Working on the size of the pixels and the angle that subtends, you really should not be able to see streaking yet at 30 seconds using a 14mm lens on the D610, but if you are then obviously my calculations must be wrong somehow (unles maybe somehow your camera was moving)?

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Its all a mystery to us @PeterConnan!! we just try different things out and hope we get a good shot. The camera was static on its tripod and we did not walk around on the wooden deck while it was taking the photographs. You will probably get some great shots with your

technical ability. Pen

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Thanks Pen.

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I recently attended a short course on star trial and timelapse photography.

 

Previously, I had always tried to do star trails using the single, long-exposure method, but without significant success. However the lecturer recommended the image-stacking method, and presented compelling arguments in favour thereof.

 

As mentioned before, I do not really have a short enough lens (I haven't scraped together enough money for my upgrade yet), and so I borrowed a Nikkor 12-24mm f4 lens for our family december holiday from a friend.

 

Here are the initial results:

This one was taken on the shore of lake Pongola, from the campsite in the Phongolo Game Reserve:

 

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and is a 30-second exposure at 12mm and f4 and ISO2500, with a single burst of of-camera flash fired from below and in front of the camera to illuminate the tree.

 

And this is a composite of 101 such photos taken directly thereafter (using a cable release jammed down with the camera on continuos release mode) using exactly the same settings but without using the flash to illuminate the tree:

 

 

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And this is the first photo in a string taken a few days earlier from the beach at Maphelane. I have yet to process the rest of the images and compile the star trial:

 

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Similar settings were used except that the ISO used here was lower (actually too low) and a torch was used to illuminate the stump rather than a flash.

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Here is the star trail.

 

post-24763-0-28678700-1419745317_thumb.jpg

 

Interesting how in the 'scape, clouds are visible, but they dissappear in the trail...

 

Can anyone tell me how to add a video?

 

 

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Timelapse videos from above photos:

 

 

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Peter I can't believe how busy you and your camera have been while on your vacation. Amazing stuff here, I'll email when you get back about those 101 photos.... Thanks for taking the time to post these.

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Thanks Patsy.

 

Will be back at work on the 5th.

 

Happy new year!

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Bitterpan wilderness camp Kgalagadi TP

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@@penolva

 

Beautiful night sky!

BTW love your ST avatar

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