My Entrance To This Vast Sky
That is the name of the first image I ever created of the night sky. It was underexposed, the trees appear warped, it was out of focus, it was cloudy… but I captured a star!!
I was so proud when the screen on my little D3200 lit up with this image. I could not contain my excitement. Now this is not a good photo at all, and I have never showed it to anyone because I knew that I would go on to capture more stunning images. But I am showing it to you because I am one to understand that we all start out somewhere. Your first star images are going to be amazing and crap, all at the same time!
I ventured out to try astrophotography again a few days later and my images became significantly better. I encourage everyone to first understand how/why to use basic settings (wide open aperture, high ISO, long exposure) then I tell them to experiment. Try different combinations of settings, try other white balance settings, find your perfect lens!
You’ll begin to create your personal style and then begins to understand how to get better and more creative. Astrophotography is amazing because it is a continually evolving niche. You may currently understand your camera better than the back of your own hand, but then a new lens will come out! Or a new tracker. Or the season will change. Or you’ll travel to a new hemisphere and all the elements you knew so well will be challenged.
I strongly suggest that every photographer try to shoot for the stars, if not for the art, than for the challenge!
By Annie Case