Sunday, August 7, 2016

Astrophotography and the Milky Way

Well, I got lucky.  I've been trying to get a chance to do a little astrophotography but finding a night where there was a new moon, I was free the next day, no city glow and a cloudless night was proving to be challenging.  A week ago, all of those factors happened to align magically under the Milky Way up in Northern Ontario, near Bancroft.

As is usually the case, I was woefully under-prepared.  I had done some reading about settings and general guidelines but I was afraid that it wouldn't be enough.  Without a tripod, I mounted my new 16-35, f4.0L on my camera and gave it a shot.  I used a boat bumper and a stool to balance my camera in the right position and I started playing around with my settings to see what I could get.  Through a few hours of experimentation, I eventually decided that focusing slightly in front of infinity with camera settings of ISO 3200, a shutter speed of 25 seconds and an aperture of f4.0 worked out the best.  I also engaged mirror lockup and used the builtin timer function to release the shutter and reduce camera shake.

The hours of experimentation resulted to two photos that I liked included in this post.  I processed these files using Lightroom and Photoshop and I've ordered a canvass print of this photo for my mother.  Can't wait to see how it turns out!

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