Today I wanted to share a photo of the beautiful night sky, taken from the quaint and peaceful tip of the Sorrento Peninsula this past weekend. The amount of stars you could see was memorizing, considering the bright light pollution of Naples was only about 15 miles away.
Night shots like this are really not that difficult to take. You must have a tripod (or hard surface, beanbag, etc…) and be able to manipulate some aspects of your camera settings – ISO, Shutter Speed, Aperture. A remote release helps as well to reduce camera shake, but the self timer will work. Focus is difficult because the camera won’t be able to grab on to anything in the darkness for reference. A quick tip if you are shooting with a DSLR – switch to Live View and zoom in on the LCD, manually focusing until your subject is sharp. Want more sharpness in the frame (increasing depth of field), close up your aperture. If it is too dark to see anything brightly, exposure compensation can brighten up your LCD a tad to be able to distinguish details effectively. Really, you should always shoot in live view if on a tripod and you have the time to compose the shot. The movement of the mirror can cause camera shake, even when on a tripod. With Live View, the Mirror is already up so there are no moving parts when the image is captured. Another random tip is to take off your camera strap if there is any breeze, as it will act like a sail, resulting in more camera movement! The best advice I can give is try one group of settings, then try another, then try another, until you are happy with your results. This way you will have a range of photos to choose from.
For this shot, I was at ISO 1600, F/9, shutter speed of 25 seconds (stars start to blur from the Earth’s movement after about 20 seconds, depending on your focal length), and shot it at 10mm.
As far as post-processing goes, if you increase the contrast and blacks of the frame, it will put more of an emphasis on the stars. Pair that with upping the exposure and sharpness, and stars will begin to appear that you wouldn’t have even been able to see with your eyes. With a little noise reduction, your photo should look pretty good. Anyways, I hope the tips help and you enjoy the capture!
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