Billions of Stars over Capri

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!

Prints for this photo and others are available here!

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  1. Dave DiCello says:

    Wow Adam, this is just awesome! Incredible night photography! I gotta get to a place where I can do this, way too much light pollution in the city!

  2. Len Saltiel says:

    Awesome night shot Adam. Love the composition on this.

  3. Rick Louie says:

    Very nice! I’ve been wanting to get out and capture some stars. I may have to get out this week since it’s a new moon and see if I can see the milky way.

  4. Mats says:

    Super nice shot! When I’ve been shooting at night I have gotten better results with lower ISO’s but this looks great! :)

  5. ken bello says:

    Fantastic photo, Adam. And thank for the tips. If we get any clear skies here I’d give this a try.

  6. Marcie says:

    This is absolutely magical. WOW..WOW…WOW!!!

  7. What a gorgeous scene, and thank you SO much for the highly useful tips on how to achieve this, Adam! Great shot, my friend!

  8. LensScaper says:

    Fantastic shot and wonderful colour at the base. Thanks for the info as well, I’ve never tried Live View on my D80. May be too basic for such a function! I’m considering picking up a second hand D700 – I’m guessing that with the launch of the D800 there will be a lot of D700s traded in.

  9. Nice shot and a great explanation, too! Those of us who live in/near any big city will not be able to enjoy such a view because of the light pollution. I have not been fortunate to see anything like this for quite some time.

  10. Tim Pursall says:

    WOW! Fantastic picture. The interest at the bottom just finishes it off!

  11. A.Barlow says:

    Wow dude, that’s freaking sweet!

  12. This is an amazing shot Adam! Feels like there is a journey through the whole picture. Stunning scene, stunning processing, everything!

  13. Edith Levy says:

    Adam fantastic image. I love it. Thanks for the tips as well. You know I’ve never shot in Live view (although I’ve only had the 7D for a few months and it wasn’t an option on my last camera).

  14. lisa says:

    How beautiful this is Adam!

  15. Jimi Jones says:

    Stunning shot, Adam! Love this beauty.
    Nice tips on processing this.

  16. Jim Nix says:

    wow Adam this is awesome, such a great shot!!

  17. Rich McPeek says:

    Just AWESOME! Love this Adam!

  18. Viveca Koh says:

    That is an absolutely stunning photo Adam – be very proud of it, it’s terrific! Beautiful colour, quite magical.

  19. mollie says:

    i really like your picks
    the stars are really pretty

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