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Category: New Questions

Photography Question 
Jake Stanton
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/15/2005
 

How to Get a Decent Picture of Stars?


I love photographing the stars! All my old pics of stars were very shaky, since I didn't have a shutter cable. So that is the next thing on my list. But they also came out elongated ... if that's the right word. I just want to take a picture of stars as they are without them streaking. I know that it takes a long time, and stars do move. So does that mean that I need a stronger camera? Lens? What?


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2/18/2005 10:37:41 PM

 
Michael H. Cothran   Jake,
First, thank goodness you're speaking of stellar stars, not the ones from Hollywood. In order to get most stars to register in your camera, you need a long exposure, and sometimes the exposure is so long that the stars move - well, actually, it's the earth that moves, but you get my point. That's why they look 'elongated', because they have actually traveled a bit across the sky during your exposure. It's just the nature of the beast. Your best bet would be to get out in the country, away from any ground light sources. The desert is best, as the sky is usually clearest there. Use the lens wide open for the quickest exposure time.
Here's a neat trick if you can't beat 'em: Aim your camera directly at the North star, and do an exposure for at least a couple of hours. Your 'star trails' will all be circles.
Michael H. Cothran
www.mhcphoto.net


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2/19/2005 1:33:28 PM

 
Jake Stanton
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/15/2005
  Yes I do live in the desert, and I have heard of the north star trick! The only problem is that I dont have a shutter cable yet. But I will soon. thanx for the advice! I have a thousand more questions keep an eye out for my name!
Jake


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2/19/2005 1:41:57 PM

 
Dan W. Shallenberger   I think Michaels suggestion is great if you want the star-trail look. But you seemed to suggest that you want star pics without the trails. Using a higher ISO will allow for shorter exposure times, but the added grain/noise from a higher ISO pretty much rules out that option.

Here's what I suggest: http://www.telescope.com/shopping/product/detailmain.jsp?itemID=296&itemType=PRODUCT&iMainCat=6&iSubCat=24&iProductID=296

You can use a product like this, a small equitorial mount WITH the electronic drive system... all together about $100. Mount your camera on this and you can easily get a 5-10 minute exposure *while tracking* the stars, so they come out as bright points, and not trails, and a great many will show up. You can get some spectacular star photos this way.

Good luck!
Dan


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2/22/2005 9:44:54 AM

 
Jake Stanton
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/15/2005
  Thanx Dan That sounds great. ALthough money is always an issue with me! I will see what I can do! I would love to get MANY stars onto one piece of film. Souns beautiful!
Hey did someone change my title?
Jake


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2/22/2005 10:59:03 AM

 
anonymous 
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/7/2005
  To elimiate the "shakey camera" syndrome, use the self timer on your camera if you have one. That is what I do when I am taking long exposure photos and I'm worried about shake. I just set the self timer, then after 10sec the photos is taken there is no movement what so ever on the camera. I did this on photos of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, the exposure was 30 sec with 400 speed film, I set everything up and once I got everything the way I wanted, I set the timer. So each photo took about 40sec (including the countdown of the timer).

I hope I explained myself clearly, cause it is a very simple clever trick!


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2/22/2005 4:00:47 PM

 
Jake Stanton
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/15/2005
  Yes Natalie you explained yourself perfectly. The only problem is that the night sky is so dark and the stars are the only availiable light. So the shutter would never open! if there was more avaliable light like the moon maybe then the exposure time would be less and it would work but im so scared that it will never open and I dont want to break my camera! but i'll try it and see if it works! wish me luck!


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2/22/2005 7:42:10 PM

 
anonymous 
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/7/2005
 
 
 
It should work, I do it all the time in low light situations where I need a long exposure. Most people think it is only useful if you "want to be in the photo to", but I use it all the time to avoid camera shake.

I'll try and down load a photo I took when I used it. I had the camera set at 30sec exposure, and f2.2

You definitely won't break your camera!!


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2/22/2005 7:55:27 PM

 
anonymous 
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/7/2005
  It should work, I do it all the time in low light situations where I need a long exposure. Most people think it is only useful if you "want to be in the photo to", but I use it all the time to avoid camera shake.

I'll try and down load a photo I took when I used it. I had the camera set at 30sec exposure, and f2.2 ISO 400

You definitely won't break your camera!!


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2/22/2005 7:57:51 PM

 
anonymous 
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/7/2005
 
 
 
Here are some pics I took, the Ives Step Wharfs photo was so dark I had to focus manually, the photo turned out a lot better then I thought it would.

As the stars aren't very bright, you will have to focus manually.


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2/22/2005 8:05:25 PM

 
Kerry L. Walker   Using the self timer has no effect on whether the shutter will open or not. When the timer counts down, the shutter will open. When it closes depends on how long you have set the exposure or how long the camera thinks it needs, if you are using auto exposure.


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2/22/2005 8:06:09 PM

 
anonymous 
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/7/2005
  I'd love some feedback on my pics! If they are a little grubby though, please forgive me, I still have a film camera and I scanned them in at work (work scanner is a little to be desired!)


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2/22/2005 8:09:46 PM

 
Jake Stanton
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/15/2005
  Natalie they are beautiful! I love the first one. You can actually see a star in it. And the black and white one looks like it was taken during the day!
Film Camera's are my favorite. Oh and I left you a comment on why my name is Jake. But it's back on my other question about getting work published and sold.
Love Jake


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2/22/2005 8:22:52 PM

 
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