There is so much creativity involved when it comes to taking pictures at night. Most folks might say it’s best to shoot with a full moon. However, it is just as exciting to take pictures during a new moon. At this point the stars are the clearest and it doesn’t take a whole lot of experience to capture them.
On this picture, someone recently commented that they had tried taking pictures like it. I still do not know if they were successful or not, but I thought I would write out how I took this one to help anyone who has not been successful. It was actually a test shot for another image, so it was actually an accident that it was nice enough to post.
- Set up my tripod in a location far away from city lights and well after sunset or before sunrise. (It was seriously pitch black that night!)
- Set the Exposure Program Dial to M (or Manual).
- Set my aperture to f/2.8 (to allow in as much light as possible).
- Set my shutterspeed to Blub (the next choice after 30sec. on an SLR)
- Set my ISO to 3200 (again, to let a maximum amount of light in, though it will be too grainy for quality printing.)
- Set White Balance to Custom, around 2500K
- Turned on Long Exposure Noise Reduction (under my Custom Function settings in the menu.)
- Manually focused to infinity (with the help of a makeshift flashlight, my handy cell phone).
- Composed the picture using the silhouetted foreground trees as guides to show me where the horizon was. (This was really hard because everything is so black; let your eyes adjust. It is important, though, to get the camera level and composed.)
- Used an external shutter-release to open the shutter for between 20 and 30 seconds. (This allows the stars to be dots, rather than short lines.)
There is a big difference between this and shooting star trails. But I’ll post about that later.