Monday, January 12, 2015

star gazing

A couple weeks ago, a friend of mine asked me if I could take pictures of the stars to help in her astrology project. Since we live in congested area, we knew we would have to travel to find the right place. Thankfully, her friend invited us to visit her dad's house in rural Virgina, about 2 hours away from where we live. I had never heard of Bumpass, Virginia. When we go there it was as isolated as promised when we got there. No malls or wifi in sight.

I have seen thousands of pictures of the stars, but nothing is as breathtaking as seeing a night full of stars with your own eyes. My camera can't fully capture the beauty of it. We stayed up until 3 in the morning, freezing in a tent outside her friend's house. We huddled together and drank raspberry tea. My friend would point at the constellations and explained their movement. Gemini, Orion, Lepus...I thought about how small we are but how lucky we are to experience the beauty of the universe.

How to take pictures of the stars
This was my first time taking pictures of a star filled night sky. Here's some tips. I'm no expert, nor have an amazing high quality camera. It was a bit cloudy and the moon wasn't as bright so we unfortunately we couldn't see the Milky Way. But, I think the pictures came out decent for a beginner like me. 

1. Tripod
It's absolutely necessary to have a tripod because you're shutter speed is going to be 30 seconds or longer. Unless you can stay still for that long, you need one.

2. High ISO/ Wide Aperture/ Long Shutter Speed
You want to have an ISO over 1000. I used 1600. If you use a really high ISO of like 6400, the pictures can come out with a lot of noise which you don't want. I recommend using the widest aperture possible in your camera. I used 2.8. A long shutter speed is needed. I used a shutter speed of 30 seconds. When it was above 30 seconds, I could see the star trail. Star trails make cool pictures but if you don't want them then keep experimenting which shutter speed works the best. The combination of a high iso, a wide aperture and a long shutter speed ensures maximum light absorbency for detailed pictures of the night.

3. Take lots of pictures
Some pictures will come out bad and that's okay. Take as many as possible!

Thanks for reading,


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