TOP 5 things you MUST HAVE as an astrophotographer
Hello people, I know I haven't posted for a while but there is a reason behind it. I have lot obligations in my life so I didn't have lot of time to write. But, I found little "hole" in my plans, so I can post today.
In this post I will go over top 5 things that every astrophotographer must have. I need to mention that I'm not proffesional astrophotographer but I can tell you things that I know, so without further ado, let's start :)
You dont have to have an specific camera to take great night photos but at the same time you can't have an old, cheap camera and expect nice looking photos. Best option would be an newer generation camera, possibly full-frame with big ISO range. Full-frame cameras are rationally better because they have bigger sensor so more light can hit it. ISO is sensor sensitivity on that light so bigger the ISO range, brighter the photo is, brighter photo equals more details and more details means better picture. :) Of course you have to make an compromise between ISO, shutter speed and F number to have great picture.
2. Good lens
It's really hard to shoot at night with kit lens or lens with big F number. It is possible but you will have hard time doing it, belive me. So what I suggest is getting an lens with small F number, at least 1.8 or lower. What this does is that it allows more light to go through the lens and allows you to use smaller ISO and have less noise on your photographs.
Astrophotography is not really cheap "sport" you need to invest good amount of money if you want good photos. Best cheap lens, I suggest for astrophotography, is 50mm 1.8 . It's around 100$ and if you know tehnique you can make great shots with it. It's 50mm which isn't great as you need wide angle but you can make panorama and merge photos later in postproduction. Here is a photo of my good friend with 50mm 1.8.
Without any compromises, you need tripod. As an astrophotogrpher, you are shooting stars. As we know, stars appear only at night so you will need longer exposure to capture them. You can put camera on floor, car, or something like that, but it's just not right. Even small wind can move camera and ruin shot or even worse, it can knock down your camera and damage it. So, if you want to be great astrophotographer you will need to invest in tripod. And not just 30$ tripod made out of plastic (betrer have nothing than that tripod), but in good stiff aluminium one or even better carbon fiber one. I suggest you not to buy tripod under 100$ because you do buy, you will probably have more problems than advantages. So invest in good tripod
When taking long exposures, you want to reduce camera shake as much as possible. There are many ways you can cause camera shake. One of them is when you click by your finger. You won't belive me how many times I get a "great" shot looking at screen of my camera and when I come home I realise blurriness from my finger. Belive me, you make lot of shake when clicking by finger.
There are two ways on resolving this problem. One of them is using timer and the other is getting yourself remote controler. Newer cameras can use an wireless one that is really small, just one button, but older ones need to have cable. If you really love astrophotography or photography in general I suggest you to get cable one just because it has lot of other features that wireless one doesnt.
The most important thing for every astrophotographer is organization. You can't just go out, point camera to the sky, make some shots and call it a day. It's imposible to capture good photo without organization.
First of all you have to find good place for photographing. It should be place with as lower as possible lightpollution, where there is no street lights and vehicles passing by. For finding good place there is an website called DarkSiteFinder that really helps you finding good spot in your area.
Second thing you have to know is the position of Milky Way, constellation, or star that you are shooting at the specific time. There are plenty of apps that helps you to find MilkyWay but my favourite is PhotoPills app which is payed app but of free ones I like StarChart.
When you make organization, half of job is done. You have just to go to the location at specific time and make some great photos :)
Also I have to mention that nights can be cold sometimes so you will need warm clothes to have near you just in case... :D
I hope you enjoyed reading this post and that you have learned something. Dont forget to leave an upvote and follow as it would be much appreciated.
For the end I will show you couple of my photos. Enjoy!