One of the things that I have been longing to do since learning how to use my DSLR is to take photos of the night sky and the stars that fill it.
Ever since moving to Somerset, I have been stunned by the amount of stars I see in the night sky compared to those I used to see in Surrey. I know that it is recommended that photographers find somewhere away from light pollution but I decided to set myself a challenge and take the picture from our drive. Not only did I have to contend with the street lights and the light on the house opposite, but the big, bright ball of light in the middle of the two houses in the photo is the moon! I wanted to focus more on the stars this time though.
When I saw how bright the stars where at almost midnight last week, I had to go outside and try out what I had learned. The following were the stages I followed in order to capture this photo:
- Mount the camera on a tripod
- On manual mode, dial in a shutter speed of 30 seconds and an ISO of 1600. Set the aperture to the lowest F stop number and the zoom to it’s widest setting. For example, I was using a 18-55mm lens and I set this at 18m and the aperture was set at F3.5
- Make sure you are photographing in RAW
- Set the self-timer on 2 seconds to help prevent any shake
- Use a manual focus and look through the viewfinder to focus on the stars
Once the photo was taken, this is what used in Adobe to process the image:
- Open the photo in Adobe Bridge and then in Camera Raw
- Adjust the exposure slider to get a fairly good result
- Set the contrast to it’s maximum setting to get the best contrast between sky and stars
- Move the temperature slider around to get the most natural image – around 3000
- If you have light pollution in your image then reduce the vibrance
- Push up the clarity to help the definition
- Take the shadows and blacks all the way to the left to darken the sky and make the stars stand out