During last week’s "Photo Friday" blog we focused on the outdoors, specifically Zion National Park. Two of the pictures featured in last week’s post inspired our subject today – astrophotography. Astrophotography is the act of photographing the stars or other celestial objects such as planets or moons. We love practicing astrophotography because it’s another way to sharpen our skills and learn new ways of using our equipment to capture light in exciting and unique ways.
There are many types of astrophotography and kinds of equipment you can use to capture the night sky. Professional photographers can spend thousands of dollars on sensors, mounts, telescopes, tracking equipment, etc. but anyone with a digital camera and a clear dark sky can get their start in amateur astrophotography. Today we’re going to focus on wide-field astrophotography, which typically doesn’t use a telescope and doesn’t require a star-tracking device. Wide-field astrophotography typically covers a large portion of the night sky. The aim is capturing many stars at once, or the Milky Way galaxy if you’re lucky. Foreground objects can also be incorporated (trees, mountains, or even man-made objects) to create depth and drama.
Some of our first astrophotography photos were shot on an old Canon Rebel XT, circa 2005, using a kit lens and a $30 tripod. Our shots have markedly improved since then and the more we practiced the better the results got. Eventually our passion became so strong it was time for new equipment and we upgraded. For the photos below we used a full frame Canon DSLR camera with a 24mm lens and a sturdy tripod. We used different shooting and camera techniques combined with multiple ways of post processing our images in Lightroom and Photoshop to get the desired results.