Many travel and landscape photographers, including myself, try to avoid shooting scenery with a clear blue sky. As much as we like seeing puffy or stormy clouds to spice up our photographs, we have no control over what the nature provides each day. Sometimes we get lucky and capture beautiful sunrises and sunsets with blood red skies, and other times we are stuck with a clear, boring sky. When I find myself in such a situation and I know that the next morning will be clear, I sometimes explore opportunities to photograph the stars and the Milky Way at night. I am sure you have been in situations where you got out at night in a remote location and saw an incredibly beautiful night sky with millions of stars shining right at you, with patches of stars in a “cloudy” formation that are a part of the Milky Way. If you do not know how to photograph the night sky and the Milky Way, this guide might help you in understanding the basics.
If you love astrophotography, today (06/23/2013) you will witness a unique event called “The Supermoon”, where the moon will not only be full, but will also appear larger than normal. If the skies are clear and you are lucky to see the moon, this will be a great time to get out and try some moon photography. If you have never done it before, you might be wondering what camera gear and settings you should use in order to capture the moon in its full glory. In this short article, I will give advice on how to photograph the Supermoon and explain some of the steps involved in the process.
With Nikon offering a niche D800E camera (which, against some expectations, will likely prove to be very popular) next to its mainstream model, the D800, Canon has decided, after a 7 year break, to take a similar step with the introduction of a modified Canon 60D model, the 60Da. Seven years ago Canon brought 20Da, a modified version of a popular Canon 20D DSLR. 20Da was, essentially, the same camera with a different IR filter and added live view functionality which, while having severe limitations at that time (inability to function in a bright environment), was very useful when manually focusing on stars at night. Changes to IR filter made the camera about 2.5 times more sensitive to Hydrogen Alpha wavelenght (approx. 656nm), which helped the 20Da capture space nebulae much more easily.
Here is what the blood red Total Lunar Eclipse of 2010 looked like last night:
By no means I’m anywhere close to being good in astrophotography. In fact, taking good pictures of stars requires expensive telescope equipment with sharp optics mounted on a sturdy tripod, plus an SLR mount to attach a camera. To achieve the best results, modified DSLR cameras with special filters are used by serious astrophotographers.