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What I Learned On My First Star Photo Shoot

Earlier this week I spent a few days out in Monument Valley and got to do some night-sky star shooting. One of the things I learned was that it actually requires very little gear and that your camera settings don't change much once you get everything set up. 

I wrote a blog post on it today, complete with equipment and camera settings as well as some more photos: http://mattyk.me/Z84pzC
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24 comments
 
Love the expanse and proportions.  The valley provides a wonderfully rich anchor for that infinite sky and I find myself in the scene, naming the constellations.  Beautiful, Matt!
 
Nice advice, thanks! Now I need a place without light pollution to catch all that stars. I remember monument valley and just laying there and watching the sky and stars ... it is about time to develop reliable transporter technology to visit all the nice places ;)
 
Great blog post. Thanks for taking the time to post.
 
Great post Matt. I wish I could do this stuff in Shanghai!. Unfortunately, we're lucky if we get to see the sky during the day, forget about seeing stars at night!
 
+Matt Kloskowski Thanks for the tips in your blog post on astro photography.  I've tried shooting the stars after sunset and at night but still not satisfied with my results.  I'm hoping your tips will help me out.  
 
Great shot of Venus! Amazing how it blazes in the morning.
 
Great shot and a top post thanks.
 
Excellent!   Good inspiration to visit that area.
 
Good one, as always, but I wonder what you did all night besides taking pictures? How did you stay awake? Was there a midnight-meal or something? I'm really curious. Have a nice weekend!
 
Nice shot Matt.  Long time no talk to.  BTW did you try one like this HDR?
 
The biggest problem with star photography is light pollution. It's especially bad near any city. I found the skies around Bryce Canyon, Arches & Zion NPs to be particularly good.

I use an RFN3 wireless remote release which allows me to do Bulb exposures on my Canon 5D2. http://www.amazon.com/RF-811-Wireless-Shutter-Release-Connector/dp/B002X3GAIS (you may need to search around to find one).

Be sure to stock up on extra batteries for both the remote unit and your camera.
 
Thanks for the tutorial blog! Great photo, too.
 
+Achim Schreiner - I slept. If you read the post you'll see it was on the balcony of my hotel room. I stopped shooting by 12-1am and slept for 4 hours :)
 
Matt- That's a cool shot.

The following link is handy for finding dark sky destinations

http://www.jshine.net/astronomy/dark_sky/

Places like Big Bend increase the wow factor of night shots by orders of magnitude. On a moonless night in Big Bend you can see your shadow by starlight once your eyes become dark adapted. 
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