Have you ever seen a picture of stars that shows lines of glowing light circling instead of the usual white dots we see with our naked eyes? Do you want to know how to create photos like that?
Everyone is fascinated by the starry night. Everyone loves stargazing, and people are easily amazed whenever they see the Milky Way in photos. For this reason, it is not surprising that many photographers are turning to night sky photography. But what is the minimum gear required to capture the Milky Way?
If you think astrophotography requires expensive and advanced gadgets, then you are wrong. It is possible to capture the beauty of the galaxy with simple and affordable devices. To find out what you need to capture the starry sky, then check the tips below:
1. Full frame camera
Although you can use any camera for your night photography, there are essential features you should look for when buying one.
First, you need to find a camera that has a full-frame sensor. This is necessary to prevent the crop factor, which would require a quicker shutter speed setting. If you use an ultrawide-angle lens, then a crop-sensor camera will not be a problem.
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Of course, your shooting will not be complete without the help of your loyal tripod. It is best to get a tripod that is strong and sturdy, yet lightweight so you can carry it anywhere you go.
Instead of using a telephoto lens, use wide-angle lens—not fisheye lenses though since they create unwanted image distortions.
Moreover, choose lenses with a long zoom so that you have more flexibility when composing your shot. Also, it is best to have a long zoom to minimize the time needed for your camera’s shutter to stay open.
4. ISO 3200
You must use a camera with high ISO, which is sensitive to low light situations, to capture as much light as possible and make beautiful images of the Milky Way galaxy.
5. Live View
If you cannot set hyperfocal distance with the help of your camera lens’ markings, then Live View can help you. You need to use this feature to set the right focus manually.
6. Camera trigger
Another important device that you need for your Milky Way photography is a camera trigger. You can use MIOPS Smart+, RemotePlus, or Mobile Dongle. These serve as a remote control that lets you access your camera without necessarily being beside it. A good thing about these products is that you can use them with a mobile application on your smartphone.
Another advantage is that they have several advanced triggering modes, such as Sound, Lightning, Timelapse, Laser, HDR, etc. This is also helpful if you are into other photography techniques like long exposure and timelapse.
7. MIOPS Capsule360
This versatile and state-of-the-art motion box is highly recommended if you are a star tracker. MIOPS Capsule360 is a big help if you want to take vivid shots of the night sky since it can monitor the movements of stars. It’s easy to use since you only have to place it on a tripod and you are ready to work.
The MIOPS Capsule360 has advanced modes, such as Panorama, Enhanced Timelapse, and Flexible Motion, including Pan, Slide, and Tilt.
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Tips for Milky Way Photography
To capture the best of Milky Way, follow these tips:
1. Find a pollution-free sky.
It is not enough to wait for night time, mount your camera on your tripod, and start photographing the sky. The perfect location for night photography is a place that is away from the city.
To have a clear view of the sky, you need to be in an area where minimal light is coming from houses, buildings, cars, and traffic lights. Also, the farther you are from an urban area, the cleaner the air, meaning that the night sky has fewer dust particles that pollute the sky view.
2. Shoot during the new moon.
The moon makes for a beautiful night photography subject too. However, if your target is the Milky Way, then shooting during a full moon is not a good idea. Just as city lights can blur your starry shots, the brightness of a full moon can also make for poor quality images of the Milky Way.
To avoid this, shoot during the new moon when the sky is dark enough for your camera to peer through the atmosphere. Also, make sure that the sky is cloudless, so nothing covers your view.
3. Know what and where to look.
You cannot merely point your camera anywhere in the sky and expect to capture great images of our galaxy. Remember, we are right in the Milky Way, so the best you can do is capture the most visible parts of it. Also, it does not stay in one location during the year, and not everyone’s geographical location will give them a view of it.
Usually, you can see most parts of it in the southern sky from February to September. People living in the Southern Hemisphere have a better chance of witnessing this celestial wonder compared to those who live in the Northern Hemisphere, where it is less visible to them for most of the year.
Enjoy Night Photography More
Even if the view of the Milky Way is not accessible to you, you can still enjoy night photography. You can still enjoy taking shots of the starry night or the different faces of the moon. You just have to find a subject that best appeals to your heart.
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