Archive for Night Skies

Can you use a Cropped Sensor to photograph the Night Skies?

Posted in Equipment I Use, Favorite Places, Random Thoughts, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 15, 2018 by lilybug1960

Can you use a Cropped-sensor to photograph the night skies?
 
There has been a lot of attention on night skies and photographing the Milky Way recently. There are some who have the belief that in order to do night skies you have to use a full frame camera. I decided to put it to the test while I was in Arches National Park last week. I used the Nikon D-500 and the Tamron 10-24mm Di-II VC HLD lens for my testing. I will start by saying I, my opinion, feel the D-500 handles high ISO noise better than any other cropped sensor camera, definitely better than any that I have used. I found that when using the Live View feature to focus, finding a bright star, which happened to be Mars(I know its a planet) in this case, was easy and sharp focus was easy to achieve. There was no exposure variance from full frame even with the loss of 1/3rd of a stop due to the f-stop variance of the lenses I normally use. I was very pleasantly surprised with the results when the image appeared on the LCD after exposure. When processing there were some slight color shifts in some of the areas, a little more green in the sky, but I don’t know enough about the electronics to know if it was a characteristic of the smaller sensor or if there was a shift in the color of the sky in the 20 minutes that had passed since I had used the full frame camera.
 
So in a nutshell, I think the results are very nice using a cropped sensor camera when shooting night skies, in my honest opinion though, the full frame does do a better job overall. I would also add, that if the only reason you would purchase a full frame camera was to shoot night skies, I would probably just live with the slight difference and take a few trips instead.
 
Tamron 10-24mm f3.5-4.5 Di-II VC HLD lens on a Nikon D-500, Manual Exposure mode, f3.5, ISO 3200, shutter speed of 30 seconds, Sirui SR 3204 tripod and K40x ballhead, processed in Lightroom Classic CC. #WithMyTamron, #TamronUSA, #TamronLensesUSA, #TamronImageMaster, #SiruiUSA, #SriuiProfessional, #BearWoodsPhotography
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The Milky Way over Bear Woods Wildlife Sanctuary

Posted in Equipment I Use, Favorite Places, Random Thoughts, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 2, 2018 by lilybug1960

The Milky Way over Bear Woods Wildlife Sanctuary.
 
When I got the Tamron 17-35mm f2.8-4 Di OSD lens I wanted a compact, lightweight alternative to the 15-30mm lens. The 15-30mm lens is my go to lens for night skies, but isn’t always the perfect lens for traveling when I need a variety of filters. The 15-30mm lens requires a larger filter and that doesn’t always pack into a bag easily. Don’t get me wrong the Tamron SP 15-30mm f2.8 is still the ultimate night sky lens for me, but on some trips I want to use graduated ND filters and polarizers. The 17-35mm will use regular 77mm filters which pack nicely. Last night was the closest to perfect opportunity I have had to shoot it for night skies, the humidity was a little lower and the haze wasn’t as bad. I stepped out and did an exposure and was very pleased, but then I thought about using a Reverse Graduated ND filter to reduce the light coming from Jasper. I did an exposure with just a slight amount of the ND covering the city lights and it was perfect. There was a little more haze down low, but for a lens test, I was very pleased. With a trip out west coming up real soon this will allow me to pack a little lighter and use this lens for all my landscape wide angle work and night skies as well. My back will be very happy being able to carry one less lens!
 
Tamron 17-35mm f2.8-4 Di OSD lens on a Nikon D-850, Manual Exposure mode, f2.8, ISO 3200, shutter speed of 30 seconds, Sirui 3 stop Reverse Graduated ND filter with Sirui holder, Sirui SR 3204 tripod and K40x ballhead, processed in Lightroom Classic CC. #WithMyTamron, #TamronUSA, #TamronLensesUSA, #TamronImageMaster, #SiruiUSA, #SiruiImaging, #SiruiProfessional, #BearWoodsWildlifeSanctuary

A Review of Night Sky Settings

Posted in Equipment I Use, Favorite Places, Photography Workshops, Random Thoughts, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 18, 2018 by lilybug1960

A Review of Night Sky settings.
 
I was really fortunate that in my 2 shoots on Driftwood Beach I was able to have the Milky Way present in the sky for one of them. It was questionable for a while with the haze, and never did clear completely, but it was enough for me. I wanted to take a moment and talk about the settings I use for night skies. They are a starting point and can vary from place to place and should simply be used as just a starting point. First, my lens of choice is a Tamron SP f2.8 Di VC USD lens set at 15mm on a full frame camera, in this case the Nikon D-850. I shoot in Manual Exposure and Manual Focus modes setting the shutter speed to 30 seconds, aperture at f2.8, and ISO to 3200. I use the RAW setting on the camera since I will be adjusting the White Balance in Lightroom. On this lens I set the focus ring to infinity, on otherslenses I will back it off just a little. A must is a sturdy tripod and ballhead, for this image the Sirui N3204X tripod and K30X ballhead. A cable release or self-timer is needed to minimize camera shake. When I did this scene I did my first exposure at ISO 3200, but it was a little too bright, so I brought the ISO down to 1600. You want the image to be bright on the LCD, but you do want to see your Milky Way, be careful about it being under exposed, you will need the extra light for the processing of the image. After your first exposure, zoom in on the LCD to make sure your stars are good “point” sources of light, if not, adjust your focus. That is why I love this lens, it is always spot on at the infinity mark.
 
Get to your location and let your eyes adjust, use an App to locate the “Galactic Core” and move around to set your composition. Be patient and learn to process the image in Lightroom or another program, because more than half the image is achieved in the post processing. Most of all have fun!
 
#WithMyTamron, #TamronUSA, #TamronLensesUSA, #TamronImageMaster, #Sirui, #SiruiUSA, #SiruiProfessional

Driftwood Beach, Moonrise and the Milky Way

Posted in Equipment I Use, Favorite Places, Random Thoughts, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 13, 2018 by lilybug1960

Driftwood Beach, Moonrise and the Milky Way.
 
Yesterday started at 4 a.m. for me, remember I am an insomniac, by preparing for a trip to Driftwood Beach. It is about a 2 minute drive from our hotel for the GNPA Expo, so it didn’t take long to get there. A good friend and I decided we would go out and shoot the Milky Way and a sunrise. After walking out on the beach and finding a perfect subject we set up and noticed that a layer of haze had moved in and blocked the view of the Milky Way. We were standing around talking when 2 other photographers walked up and we started chatting. They had been out since about 1 a.m. and said the haze had just moved in…of course it did. As we talked for a few minutes, I noticed the haze moving out. The other 2 photographers said they were going to call it a day since it was hazy, but I stated I wouldn’t give up on it just yet as it appeared to be moving out. They chuckled and commented about my optimism, but after about 5 more minutes they noticed it really was moving out. We all set up and shot for about 40 minutes before our new friends did call it a day and 4 other photographers showed up as well. We all continued to shoot when I noticed the beautiful orange crescent moon rising over the horizon. I recomposed slightly to include the moon in my frame. The scene, slight layer of haze and all, was exactly what I had hoped for on my first trip to Driftwood Beach, and surely not to be my last trip. We stayed until after sunrise and I will post those images in the next few days as well, and trust me when I say, you want to see how our morning finished. What an incredible scene!
 
Tamron SP 15-30mm f2.8 Di VC USD lens on a Nikon D-850, Manual Exposure mode, f2.8, ISO 1600, shutter speed of 30 seconds, manual focus set to Infinity, Sirui N3204X tripod and K30X ballhead, MindShift Gear PhotoCross 13L slingbag, processed in Lightroom Classic CC. #WithMyTamron, #TamronUSA, #TamronLensesUSA, #TamronImageMaster, #Sirui, #SiruiUSA, #SiruiProfessional, #MindShiftGear

Get Ready for Night Skies!

Posted in Equipment I Use, Favorite Places, Random Thoughts, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 6, 2018 by lilybug1960

Get Ready for Night Skies!
 
Obviously we can photograph night skies and the Milky Way at any time during the year, but the peak of the season is considered from mid-April to the end of July. That is when the galactic core is visible the longer during the night. It is when I like to photograph it to be able to place an object into the bottom of the frame and improve the composition. A few settings I use for my starting point are: Manual Exposure, 30 seconds, f2.8, ISO 3200, and infinity focus on my lens set to manual focus as well. I prefer the Tamron SP 15-30mm f2.8 Di VC USD lens. A good sturdy tripod, like my Sirui N3204X tripod, is a necessity. These settings are a starting point and some adjustments will be made to optimize your image exposure. All you need to do is get to a really dark place and then check Apps like Photopills to see where the core will align and the optimum time to shoot and then have fun! The lighting in the image on the rock and tree was done by a passing car as it rounded the curves in the road.
 
Tamron SP 15-30mm f2.8 Di VC USD lens on a Canon 5Diii, Manual Exposure mode, f2.8, ISO 3200, shutter speed of 30 seconds, manual focus set to infinity, Sirui N3204X tripod and K30X ballhead, processed in Lightroom CC. #WithMyTamron, #TamronUSA, #TamronLensesUSA, #TamronImageMaster, #TamronUSAMagazine, #Sirui, #SiruiUSA, #SiruiProfessional

Jasper and the Stars

Posted in Equipment I Use, Favorite Places, Random Thoughts, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 21, 2017 by lilybug1960

Jasper and the Stars.
 
When I returned home last night from my presentation, I couldn’t help but notice how bright the stars were above Bear Woods. I decided to get the camera out and shoot the stars above downtown Jasper. Fall is my favorite time to shoot the night sky over my hometown since the Milky Way is just over the town not long after sunset. This was about 10:30 last night. I truly love my beloved Bear Woods.
 
Tamron SP 24-70mm f2.8 Di VC USD G2 lens on a Nikon D-800E, Manual Exposure mode, f2.8, ISO 3200, shutter speed of 15 seconds, Sirui W2204X waterproof tripod and K20 ballhead, processed in Lightroom CC. #WithMyTamron, #TamronUSA, #TamronLensesUSA, #TamronImageMaster, #Sirui, #SiruiUSA, #SiruiProfessional

Will it be there?

Posted in Equipment I Use, Favorite Places, Random Thoughts, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 18, 2017 by lilybug1960

Will it be there?
 
I am headed in the near future to Apalachicola for some work and it has me reflecting on sights I have seen and whether they will still be there when I return. Recently Florida announced the allocation of funds to clean up the abandoned boats around Apalachicola. I understand the need to do that but they sure were great subjects for some images. There are plenty of other things to shoot down there beyond abandoned boats, so it will be fun searching for a few additional things to use as subjects.
 
Now for a short rant. Recently a new photographer with 3 or 4 years experience, the name is unimportant, made the statement about shooting film vs. digital and how film makes you actually a better photographer. Why? Because you have to select apertures, shutter speeds, ISOs, focus and compose as opposed to digital where you could just point and shoot. I had to listen to that statement several times, because I had to be hearing it wrong, but I heard it correctly. They have only been shooting for a couple years, but talked about the old days. Folks, a digital sensor is just like film. A photographer can get point and shoot results with film as well as digital. A good photographer who knows his craft, does the exact same thing with digital that they did with film but the only difference is the latitude you can get with digital, plus you aren’t doing the harm to the environment by dumping chemicals down the drain. I’m not saying this person is doing this because I don’t know how they are capturing their chemicals. A skilled photographer, takes the time to select an aperture, set their exposure, compose and focus. They develop their image on a computer vs. in a darkroom. It truly bothered me and was honestly an insult to photographers who work on improving their craft. There was the suggestion that digital photography is lazy and film photography is not, when in reality it isn’t the type of photography being done, but the photographer. You may be fine with what comes straight of out the processor in a camera, but I like to do the processing myself. If a photographer wants to point and shoot, great, but those that are wanting to master their craft learn why and how. For a photographer to suggest digital photographers are, well, lazy, is such an insult. I guess it I should not let it get to me when a photographer that has 40 less years experience talks about the old days, but I honestly have cameras older than they do experience. Learn your craft, know it, practice it, but don’t talk about things in which you truly have no idea. As my friend Andre says about photography, the only rule is “don’t lie”. And let me add, don’t pretend to be someone you are not, one of the best photographers I know openly talks about the fact they never shot a roll of film. Rant over.
 
This image could not have been done using film by the way, well not anywhere as easily as digital. Tamron SP 15-30mm Di VC USD lens on a Nikon D-800, Manual Exposure mode, f2.8, ISO 3200, shutter speed of 30 seconds, Sirui N3204X tripod and K30X ballhead, processed in Lightroom CC. #WithMyTamron, #TamronImageMasters, #SiruiPro, #SiruiUSA