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How to Shoot Long Exposure Night Photography 

Before setting out to shoot an epic astro photo session, it is essential to plan your night so that you can make the most of each moon cycle. Astronomical night photography is intimidating but with little knowledge you will be on your way to a rewarding and educational form of photography. Below is a brief overview of night photography tips that will greatly improve your night lapse photos.

Astro Photography Tools Needed

  • Camera with manual mode (M)
  • Tripod
  • Intervalometer
  • Shoot in RAW image format
  • Shoot in manual mode
  • Use Manual Focus
  • Use an aperture between F/2.8 – F/4
  • Set your white balance setting to daylight
  • Set your exposure length to 15 – 30-seconds
  • Shoot with an ISO between 400 – 1600
  • Set intervalometer to capture photo every (X+2) seconds
    allow extra time for shutter to recycle before next exposure

Calculating the Moon Phase

Since the beginning, the moon has been an vital reference object to mark time and celebrate seasons. To achieve best results when capturing The Milky Way and other galaxies, it is best to shoot 1-2 day before or after a New Moon. Even a small crescent moon provides enough light to reduce the brightness of the stars. When the sun does not illuminate any of the moon’s surface this is considered The New Moon and it repeats every 29.53 days. Therefore you can roughly calculate when the darkest nights of the month will be based on the last moon cycle.