This is how I do landscape astrophotography. There are a thousand ways to skin a cat so take what you want from this post. I'm writing this post as a follow-up to the photo I recently posted, which generated a bit of interest on the forum. New Zealand-Night by Siftu, on Flickr 1. Preparation Ok before even touching the camera you want find an interesting location you want to be shooting at. I do landscape astro and so I try to find something interesting in the foreground and not just a shot of the sky. For this shoot I knew I wanted the lake and mountains as my foreground. The mountains were miles away from my shooting location so I needed a long lens for that part but on the other hand, to capture the milky way without star trails you want the widest possible lens so you can have a longer shutter speed. Knowing I needed two lenses for the shot meant that I needed the final image to be a composite of at least two shots. There are apps for your phone showing moon rise and set and the direction. I use TPE which I think is available on android and iOS. To get the most details out of the Milky way you don't want a moon out, but for my foreground I did want it out to give a little definition to the mountains. My two shots are now going to be hours apart. There are also apps showing you where the Milky Way will be visible. For this I use stellarium but there are other apps which do the same thing. During the day, before the shoot, play around with these apps and figure out the best times to be out, you can usually fast forward in time to see where everything will be. Obviously you also want a cloudless night. This is out of our control but I say it because I have often wanted to out out and shoot the stars to find out there are none. You also have to look out for light pollution from city lights etc. They reflect back from the atmosphere and wash out the sky. This is the main reason I'm and occasional astro shooter, I live in a heavy light polluted area. You need a tripod for this stuff and pretty much any camera which support RAW and has some kind of intervalmeter. Learn how to use it during the day! I didn't check out the intervalmeter and had to learn it on the night. Lucky I had the E-M10 manual loaded to my phone so it wasn't too bad. 2. The shoot. This is the easy part. Put your camera on the tripod. Put the mode dial in "M" for manual. Set your white balance to tungsten if you like the blue sky, white balance can be changed during processing anyway so it's not critical. Make sure you are shooting in RAW and manually set your ISO (not auto-ISO). Set live view boost on because we will be focusing in the dark and focus to manual. Set the shutter release to 2 or 10 second delay to reduce vibration and I also have 0 second shock set. Lastly make sure dark frame subtraction is on to help reduce noise. The foreground. For this shot I used the O75mm, I didn't need to worry about the shutter speed because I wasn't going to use any of the stars from this shot. I opened the lens up to f2.8 and set iso 400 for 60 seconds. I used the magnify to focus the best I could. One trick is to point to a light far away (moon, boat, street lamp etc but far away)and focus on that until it becomes a point on the lcd/evf, then recompose back to your subject. Keep in mind you can stack the foreground images as well. I did not on this shot but I would have got better results if I did. Take the shot and review. Make sure your histogram is showing some data creeping to the right hand side. The more the better here but it's a balancing act between shutter speed and iso which result in noise. In my shot I knew I didnt need the mountains that bright so was happy to underexpose. The background (aka stars) This is the part which makes the photo. How do we get the Milky Way? I swapped to my Rokinon 7.5mm f3.5 fisheye and went to a location away from light pollution and very open with no trees etc in the way. The wide angle lens allows us to keep the shutter open longer without star trails thus we can lower the iso to keep out some noise. This sky was shot from the shore of the lake about 30 mins drive away in -1C temperature. Make sure you put in a newly charged battery, you don't want to be half way through the shoot and the battery dies. Lonelyspeck has a nice online calculator with suggestion of settings for your particular lens. http://www.lonelyspeck.com/milky-way-exposure-calculator/ I used an exposure of 25 seconds at iso 1600 f3.5. I set the intervalmeter to take 30 shots with dark frame subtraction after each shot. Having since done a little more testing I would have no hesitation pushing iso 3200 or 6400 with this stacking technique. 3. The Processing The Sky - Stacking First off, sorry Mac users I did all the stacking using Deep Sky Stacker which only runs on Windows. No doubt it's possible via photoshop and other applications but I will be explaining this method. Below is best link out there I could find explains all the details with screenshots. This explains it all in far more details than I'm going into. Read it all for the best results. http://www.stevebb.com/deep_sky_stacker.html First import all the RAW files for the sky. I didn't use dark frames or anything else because I used dark frame subtraction in camera. The key for me getting a good result was in the following screenshot, explained better in stevebb's link. You want to get the number of stars it aligns down to around 50. My default setting had over 15000 stars and the results were terrible. I had all the corners way out of alignment. But bringing it back to 50 stars worked great Go for a coffee and come back in 10 mins. Now go through the article again and tune the remained of the settings. Just don't worry if you aren't seeing a lot in this view. We will get that back in Lightroom. Save the results to a TIFF The Sky in Lightroom Import the TIFF file we just saved back in lightroom and go into the "Develop" module. I tried to capture as many tweaks as I could in the following screenshot, including the adjustment brush on the milkway itself. The Foreground in Lightroom This was the easiest part. "Develop" the foreground to your taste. My tweaks are as follows. I just aimed at getting a close color match between the foreground and the sky. Combine both in Photoshop Next we export both the sky and foreground to Photoshop. Sorry I'm running PSE 13 because I'm cheap. Things to consider: Because the sky was stacked we have to crop the corners out which will make our image smaller. I shrunk the foreground image to match the sky image width. Copy the foreground image as a layer on top of the sky. Move the images on the canvas to suit the composition you are after. I moved the foreground lower in the frame as I originally shot the mountains in the center of the frame. I inserted a layer between the stars (bottom) and the foreground (top) which is just a graduated fill in white. I did this because I think it looks a little more natural to see a bit of haze/light between the mountain and sky. Add layer masks to the foreground and expose just the.. foreground I ended up with the following. Final touches back in Lightroom. You could choose to do any final editing in the previous step, but I'm more comfortable with Lightroom and really wanted to tune the white balance between the foreground and background a little more. I added an adjustment brush and tweaked the white balance sliders to my taste. Did the final crop and then exported to publish to the web. So there we have it. Its a bit of work but I think the result is worth it.