These timelapse videos I’ve been doing are merely trials and tests to see just how well I can apply techniques that I’ve learnt from reading and watching video tutorials.
I started off with a basic sunset timelapse and progressed to a setting moon timelapse in the same weekend. About two weeks ago I attempted to capture a sunset into nighttime timelapse and two days ago I attempted to capture my first astrophotography timelapse. In this blog post I’ll talk about how I captured this last one.
What is Astrophotography?
By looking at the word, you could probably figure out that astrophotography is a combination of astrology and photography. Wikipedia defines astrophotography as: “a specialized type of photography for recording photos of astronomical objects and large areas of the night sky.”
In this context, astronomical objects usually exclude the moon, but include stars, galaxies, planets and nebulae.
One of the prerequisites for a clean astrophotography image, however, is a clear sky. And we haven’t had clear skies over the Roseau areas for a few weeks. In fact, that’s the main reason why my last video was two weeks ago… I’ve been waiting for a night with no clouds.
Two nights ago I decided to stop waiting and I drove up to Laudat which is probably the nearest location to Roseau with the (1) least light pollution, (2) best elevation and (3) direct view of a large area of the night sky.
I got to my location at approximately 3:45 that morning. It was dark, quiet and a perfect time to shoot. A thick layer of clouds hovered in the sky, but I was determined to shoot regardless.
I captured a few test images to determine the correct settings for my exposure. Research had taught me that I’d have to increase my ISO from the usual 100 to a range between 2000 and 3200. And I knew that I’d need to use a long exposure of at least 15 seconds, so that the camera’s sensor could gather enough light from the distant stars.
For night photography, it’s best to use the lowest f-stop your lens allows, so for my timelapse images, I settled on these settings: 15 seconds at f/2.8, ISO 2000 with a focal length of 13mm.
Now, I had to set my in-camera intervalometer. I had encountered a problem with the intervalometer during my last timelapse session, but I had neglected to research a solution to the problem. So I encountered a similar issue with the long exposure shots that morning.
Thankfully, the problem isn’t one that could hinder my progress… all it did was cause me to miscalculate the number of intervals and ultimately, the amount of time required. (Note: I have since solved this issue and it should not re-occur in the future.)
After editing the images and dumping them into Adobe Premier Pro, I was very happy with the final result. This had been only my second time shooting the stars, and it was amazing to see those points of light move in one direction while the clouds moved in another.
Check out the short video below and give me your feedback in the comments!