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Sky at night advice

Discussion in 'Astrophotography' started by chonbhoy, Apr 23, 2013.

  1. chonbhoy

    chonbhoy Mu-43 Veteran

    430
    Apr 23, 2013
    Scottish Highlands
    Hi, I am getting excited about the possibilities in taking photos of the sky at night but the only problem is that im a complete novice :redface:
    I have spent a small fortune on my gear so far and hope that it is possible to get good results from the 12mm without buying a tracker (for now at least:wink:).
    I have wondered if the Panny 25 f1.4 would be a better option???
    I love the EM5 and even though im a novice I would have no problem considering a manual focus lens set-up too to get better shots.
    I'm constantly looking around the web for inspiration so that when i go to take my first shots It's not a complete stab in the dark :rolleyes:
    Any advice is greatly appreciated because right now i'm not sure if it is too much of an ask as I don't know anyone with an OMD EM5:frown:
     
  2. arch stanton

    arch stanton Mu-43 Veteran

    413
    Feb 25, 2012
    London
    Malc
    Just go play with them both if you own them! I think at those focal lengths you'll be fine with exposures up to about 30 secs, you could also look at stacking software to blend multiple exposures for more time. But just play, the 12 will take longer exposures before the stars trail...but that can be a great look too.

    Put cam on tripod, widest aperture, stick on 2-sec timer (or 10-sec maybe if you're patient), lock the ISO low and fire away. If it's too dark, up the ISO or lengthen exposure. Maybe turn on anti-shock in the gear menus too, depends on how steady your tripod is...although I've taken moon shots on timer just resting the lens end on a brick!

    Oh, focus can be a pain, there's a gear menu option to focus on infinity at startup - turn this on and just switch to MF before you focus anywhere else. Or grab a manual lens...

    If you're using the 12mm you'll probably be able to get some nice foreground silhouette. Spot the Londoner totally envious of your clear highland skies :wink:
     
  3. Petrochemist

    Petrochemist Mu-43 Top Veteran

    652
    Mar 21, 2013
    N Essex, UK
    Mike
    The Most important thing is clear skies, with no light polution. In the Highlands you are likly to get those mush better than us southerners around here even in the country you can't get more than 20 miles from a significant town. Even aiming out to sea I get significant sky glow :frown:
    I've tried several times with a cheap adapted c mount 25mm 1.4 but find wide open I can't nail the infinity focus. (Shimming the adapter in daylight might get round this. I must try soon...)
    Generally the skies are clearest when there's no moon, but I've seen suggestions that for novices, using the moon to autofocus on infinity, before switching to manual & recomposing, can be useful. (A fairly thin cresent is probably the best compromise here).
    I've found the exposure meter doesn't cope well with such low light levels, so go manual, and experiment. It can be useful to use excessive ISO to determine the exposure that suits the image then retake it at a less noisy level - otherwise you spend a long time waiting to see the results are no good!
    One final bit of advice - wrap up warm, getting good results will take a while.
     
  4. DoofClenas

    DoofClenas Who needs a Mirror!

    943
    Nov 9, 2012
    Traverse City, MI
    Clint
  5. chonbhoy

    chonbhoy Mu-43 Veteran

    430
    Apr 23, 2013
    Scottish Highlands
    Great!! I will play with the 12 plenty to see if Im happy with that before anything else, I have a tripod and remote shutter which is a must. I might be wrong but isn't the anti-shock a setting to do with the hotshoe when using it with some kind of accesory?
    I was also thinking of using MF and using the DOF scale with a tape measure and use a torch to light up the distance to focus to. I haven't played with live bulb mode at all so ill practice using it too.
    My only problem is having to wait 3 weeks until Im home again, argghh never mind it gives me plenty of time to do more reading up/learning on here :)
    When the sky is clear at night especially on a frosty night in the winter it is really bonny and I am 100 miles away from the nearest city so I have really high hopes of a great picture :) (I'm not rubbing your nose in it, take a break up North and take your camera when the moon is waiting you won't regret it)
     
  6. chonbhoy

    chonbhoy Mu-43 Veteran

    430
    Apr 23, 2013
    Scottish Highlands
    Should I switch IBIS off? I read somewhere its better to do so when using a tripod
     
  7. Petrochemist

    Petrochemist Mu-43 Top Veteran

    652
    Mar 21, 2013
    N Essex, UK
    Mike
    Edingburgh is an eight hour drive for me so it's not a quick trip. I'm working at Knockhill in August so might be able to head north from there one evening, if it's clear...