Quick Notes on Night Sky Photography

A sturdy tripod is a must. If you’ve never shot longer exposures (up to 30 secs) at all, you may want to have some type of weight on hand that you can hang from the center of the tripod to help stabilize it.

A remote shutter release is always a good idea. A self-timer can help in its place.

A compact headlight to help see and find things in the dark. Some night photographers when working together go far to keep stray light from bleeding into another person’s image. Some will use red lights or red gels on led lights, while others will go as far as cover spots of their cameras that light up.

L brackets are a type of mount for tripods that allow for steady shots in portrait mode. Dedicated brackets can be pricey, but there are cheaper DIY-type work arounds, such as RAYSUN Camera Flash Mount Bracket pictured below.

Wide angle lenses are common, 24mm give or take Lenses with vibration reduction should be turn off when on a tripod. To help reduce blur!

Manual focus is a must. You cannot simply focus to infinity in most cases. There are a number of techniques for this, one being to use the zoom function in live view and manually focus by eye or the focus guide – most DSLRs have one - in your view finder.

A reasonably fast lens such as 2.8 is best. That aperture will still necessitate shutter speeds around 25 seconds and ISO values around 3200.

Shutter speeds slower than 25 seconds begin to run the risk of a blurred night sky caused by the relative motion of planetary objects.

A site survey of an area in daylight is a great idea for planning and safety considerations

PhotoPills is an indispensable app for just about any planetary photography and is best described in an in depth discussion of its own.


RAYSUN Camera Flash Mount Bracket

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