Starry night canvas prints look fantastic in the bedroom or bathroom, but it’s not always easy getting a clear snap of the jewels of the sky. In the northern hemisphere, astro photography can be easier in the summer months when we’re that bit closer to the Milky Way. If you’re making it your mission to snap the stars in the coming months, today on the blog we’re sharing a few tips along with starry spots to visit.
For clear astrophotography your number one essential for a great starry sky photo is to set up in an area free from light pollution. That means away from housing estates and other built up areas. On your kit list at the very least should be a tripod and remote shutter release.
You may be surprised to learn that a DSLR isn’t a must-have for star photography. Your main aim with astrophotography is likely to be to avoid blurring (hence the use of a tripod and remote shutter release) and this can be done with a smartphone or simple point and shoot camera. That said; when light is in shorter supply, a DSLR used with a wide angled lens will help you illuminate your subject more easily. Using manual focus will help you to sharpen things up in the dark with the aperture set to maximum width you’ll need to experiment with shutter speeds.
You may also want to try juxtaposing stars against a lit building or other object in the frame to add a little interest. You can use a torch to give you a helping hand with this if buildings aren’t physically lit up. Other fun things to try out are capturing star trails moving round the North Star or creating a pattern or your name against the sky using sparklers.
As above, when you’re looking for the ideal spot for taking photographs of the stars, you really want to look for large spaces that aren’t lit up with artificial lights. On a small scale, this might be heading out to your local countryside fields or parkland.
If you have the opportunity to venture further afield and perhaps spend some time camping, there are some fantastic places in the UK that offer large swathes of unpolluted skyline. Exmoor in Devon, the Brecon Beacons in Wales, the Lake Distract in Cumbria and the North Yorkshire Moors and Cairgorms National Park in Scotland are among some of the places named as top UK spots for stargazing by the International Dark Skies Association. They’re also stunning places that offer lots of chances to experiment with your nature and animal photography in the day time, so if you’re thinking of planning a photography based holiday this year, make sure they’re top of your list!
Have you experimented with astrophotography? What did you find the biggest challenges to be and did you manage to overcome them, if so, how?