Monday, August 20, 2012

Photography: First Space Attempt

Don't forget you can read about (and ask questions on) spacey topics over at Blogstronomy!

Being, as I am, interested in both photography and astronomy it's a wonder that it's taken me so long to get around to mixing the two up. I've been stopped so far by a feeling that it would be hard. And I was right. I started off fiddling with different settings- I kept the aperture wide open and the D60's stock lens zoomed out, and experimented with different ISOs and shutter speeds. I found that I'd have to use longer shutter times than are catered for automatically if I wanted to use the lower ISOs.

I might experiment with star trail pics at some point, but I was trying just to get a half decent shot of the sky at this point. I found I needed a higher ISO to keep shutter times down to a point at which I wouldn't have to worry about star trails.

Another problem I had was focusing: the camera wouldn't autofocus on the sky (which didn't surprise me), but manually focusing was difficult because I couldn't see well enough through the eyepiece.

After a while I had the bright idea of auto-focusing on something closer and seeing what happened there. So I did.

And then it hit me: I could auto-focus on the house and then point at the sky without refocusing:

Which isn't a bad nonspecific starfield, I think, for a first night's shooting.

Any tips would be most welcome.

Here are my thoughts for the future:

  • Give my remote shutter release a whirl.
  • Try to get shots of some recognisable constellations.
  • Photograph the ISS.
  • Try a low ISO, extra-long exposure wide-angle shot to get some star trails.