Every little dot you see when you gaze upon the night sky is part of the Milky Way, our own galaxy. All the stars you see at the same time with the unaided eye on a clear moonless night are about 2000. If your camera doesn’t have the noise reduction function, you can do it in RawTherapee. If you want to have a detailed view of the Milky Way, constellations, planets and all the celestial objects in interest you may use an astronomical software. Another way is to set your dslr focus to auto, focus on the Moon or a distant light and then set the focus to manual to lock it on the desirable position. If your camera has live focus, you can use it on a bright star on the maximum magnification to manually focus easily. Not having a manual camera so my question is if a compact one (Nikon Coolpix L820 Superzoom, 16,0 Megapixel, 30x opt. With a compact camera you can go as far as taking nice day time photos, sunrise and sunsets and even some astrophotography afocally (taking photos of the Moon with the compact camera handheld in front of the telescope eyepiece) like this one.
For startrails, milky way shots etc you really need a dslr camera capable of making long exposures. Nikon D3200 is perhaps the best value for money out there but when it comes to astrophotography, full frame cameras have no match. I couldn’t find my comment and the details of your blog for a long time (before I decided to simply search on Google using keywords from my comment that I had remembered).
The Milky Way core is actually the brightest part but it is best visible during the summer nights for the northern hemisphere.
Just a question, you mentioned above that the photo is a composition of 17 frames taken in 13 minutes time.
In this case, after each shot, I was turning the camera to the next position;therefore from the previous to the next there was only a 35 second delay (+ approx 5 seconds to turn and lock the tripod head). Milky Way is a spiral galaxy, probably more than 100.000 light years in diameter containing at least 200 billion stars. There are both free and they provide valuable help in learning the sky, which is essential for this kind of photography. It is always a good idea to include something interesting to accompany the Milky Way in your photo. All you need to do is take a photo with the lens cap on, using same exposure time, so that the sensor will capture only the noise. Even with a wide field lens most probably you will have to stitch a number of photos to get the arc in one image.
If there are not any distant lights or the Moon, you can leave a flashlight open on a distance and focus on that.
If you plan to include a foreground in your photo (landscape, scenery) you may find useful to have a wider field lens as well.


I’ve been looking at so many different cameras, it’s all starting to become a bit of a blur! Very usual nowadays but I think it diminishes the idea and the value of the one shot photo. From our point of view, Milky way looks like a faint cloud-like band that arcs across the sky. From the northern hemisphere you may enjoy the best views of the Milky Way during the summer. On the moonless nights, the sky is darker and the Milky Way looks better with more depth and contrast. This may be a long distant foreground like a mountain or a tree, or even yourself standing a few meters away from the camera, gazing at the horizon. My camera does have noise reduction but I never use it because it doubles the shooting time and when it comes to Milky Way panoramas, every second counts in order to be ahead of the Earth’s rotation. Is that timing consistent to take a shot where the Milky Way will be arching across the horizon?
You will find all the info about the date, time and settings at the lower section of the page.
You will find it in your camera menu (for Canon 550D is at the first menu tab, first line).
It is a simple mask made of paper or plastic that attaches to your lens and creates a pattern that allows you to easily calibrate your focus manually. There was a lot of ambient light and somehow, the infinity focus wasn’t working for the pictures. It gets even more mind intriguing when you realize that when you look at the center of the galaxy you see an image from the distant past, since the distance from the Earth is about 27.000 light years.
The most dedicated astrophotographers use modified DSLRs where the IR filter is removed or replaced with a more sensitive for astrophotography. You may have to travel hundreds of kilometers in order to escape from the light pollution of a metropolitan area. A wide field lens is really handy at a situation when your camera is focused to infinity and at the same time your foreground is relatively near.
A typical scenario includes: 30 second exposure, aperture wide open (or one stop closed for a sharper results), ISO 1600 (or even more if you have a really low noise DSLR).
I only use dark frames when I do deep sky photography and then I stack the photos with Deep Sky Stacker. From June to August the best time is near midnight and the Milky Way will be visible almost all night.
As far as I’m aware, it doesn’t have a setting to do long exposure shots therefore I was looking to upgrade to a camera that does have this setting and can take photos of the night sky!
You may also find useful a dslr shutter release to prevent camera shake at the beginning of the exposure.


See it as an opportunity to get away from the everyday routine and come a little bit closer to Mother Nature!
I use a crop 1,6 dslr camera and a 15mm fisheye lens and even if I focus on the stars, objects 3-4 meters away, still look quite sharp.
Especially for the Milky Way photos shooting in RAW is essential because it will result to a much better image after post processing. Also when I shoot star trails I process them with Startrails application which also support the use of dark frames. From Mid August through September the best time is soon after the sun has set and the sky has grown dark. On the other hand if there is a crescent Moon low at the horizon, it may be effective in illuminating the landscape without affecting the sky much.
The Milky Way’s band is a really magnificent sight on it’s own but if you combine it with a beautiful landscape that’s even better. Because if you exceed a certain amount of time, stars appears like trails and the Milky Way will be blurry, due to the Earth’s rotation. The 30 second exposure is just and indication that applies to my setup (crop 1,6 camera with a 15mm lens). Also, do you have any advice you could give me on how to get started in this area of photography? With a full frame dslr and an 8mm lens you could probably shoot for as long as 1 minute without a problem.
Prime lenses are generally faster and provide better results compared with zoom lenses at the same price range. If you use a full frame dslr with a very wide field lens your field of view will be adequate in almost any case. You can use your camera’s flash or an artificial light source, like a flash light, to illuminate a dark foreground. Your camera takes a second shot with the shutter closed (dark frame) and then tries to remove digital noise from the original photo based on the dark frame. Alternatively you may take a number of photos and stitch them to a panorama with a photo stitching software. On the down side, this takes twice as much time so if you want to take many consequent shots to stitch to a panorama this isn’t the best option.



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