Now that we are all set up it is time to start taking photos. You are going to have to experiment with a number of different settings. Different cameras have different size sensors and are also differently sensitive to light – some of the newer cameras offer amazingly high ISO settings that are very usable. Note the higher the ISO setting (sensitivity to light) that you use the more ‘noise’ there will be in the photo that will have to be cleaned up in post-processing.
As a starting point I use a 30 second exposure at F4 aperture and 3200 ISO. I will vary the time from 20 to 30 seconds and also vary the aperture from 1600 up to 6400. Any longer than 30 seconds and you are going to start seeing movement (trails) in the stars due to the rotation of the Earth.
Below is a gallery of unprocessed images taken over two nights in the Flinders Ranges in South Australia. In the next post I will look at post-proessing of these images and show the final results. Post-processing is an important element of taking ‘nightscapes’ if you want to bring out the most of your photos.
If you don’t have images of your own to experiment with post-processing you can download any of the images in the gallery and use them. The full size images are available as jpegs. To download them, open up the gallery and click on the images that you are interested in. At the bottom of the page will be a link to the full size image. Click on that to open the image then use ‘File–>Save as’ in your browser to save the image for processing.