Where are my Photos?

Monday, February 11, 2013

Under the Southern Cross - Night Photography

This past weekend we went back to Tassie on business. The place we stayed at was near the Freycinet Peninsular - Coles Bay.

The dominant geological feature are the Hazards, which a bit like Uluru are constantly changing. I was hoping to get shot of a strong orange sunset shining on the Hazards to bring out their natural red colour.

But there was cloud on the western horizon so no strong red sunset.

With a relatively clear southern sky I decided to go back 90 minutes later to get the Hazards as a silhouette against a starry sky including the souther cross.

This was the first night sky picture I had taken with the Canon 1D-X. My only prior experience was with my old 7D where noise is a real problem with higher ISO's.

I attached the Canon 16-35mm F2.8 wide angle lens. Set the ISO to 800 in order to get the exposure I wanted within 30secs. Anything greater than 30secs (with a wide angle lens) and you run the risk of the movement of the earth causing the image of the stars to be stretched rather than dots. At long focal lengths a higher shutter speed is required.

Getting a sharp focus is also a bit tricky in these situations (usually auto focus does not work in these conditions). I was using a gorilla pod which makes this even harder because you need to get down on your hands and knees to see through the view finder. So I use live view and zoom the image on the screen onto a bight star and manually focus. I have since bought a CamRanger which gives full functionality on your iPhone.

I used an aperture of F3.5 this allowed a stop over exposure for the image.

And here are the results.

The Milky Way over Coles Bay Tasmania

Wow! I was blown away by the results. I have bumped the exposure up a fair bit in Aperture but this turned out heaps better than I expected.

See if you can pick out the Southern Cross.

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