TRAVEL PHOTOGRAPHY TIP 67 – SHOOTING THE NIGHT SKY

"Galaxy pic"

“Galaxy pic”

One of my client’s has just postponed their shoot (joy) so I have a bit of time to practice a few new photography techniques.

So, last night, I jumped in the car and headed about 200 kilometres west of Brisbane to take advantage of the new moon which, I’m told, lends itself to those galaxy shots you see of the night sky (I’ve written about this before (http://www.kirklandphotosblog.com/travel-photography-tips/2015/07/tip-63-shooting-stars-in-the-night-sky/).

There was a lot of fluffing around with settings and light sources. Again, what worked best for me was F2.8 with my 17-35mm lens, set at infinity, shot at 6400 iso for 15-20 seconds on a tripod). Then it’s a matter of mucking around with temperatures, colours and layers in post production to get something that’s pleasing to the eye (above). I’m looking forward to putting a person or a landscape feature in the foreground next time now I know what I’m doing. That said, it’s not a shot I’d promise my clients too willingly. You need the night of a new moon, absolutely no clouds and no ambient light just to get you into the game. And you need to position the most colourful part of the Milky Way low on the horizon if you want a wider perspective (how hard can it be to re-position a couple of billion stars).

I showed my partner this picture and she asked how I’d use it in tourism (rather than astronomy I guess). Can you imagine this night sky above an orange tent lit from the inside and a camper sitting at a campfire, set against a distinctive silhouette. Or a couple taking a selfie of themselves next to, say, The Pinnacles, in Western Australia.