Astrophotography – Milky Way & Star Trails
Astrophotography has been an interest of mine since the early days of my photography. I started off trying star trails in Old Portsmouth, Hampshire. Using Portsmouth Cathedral as a foreground, but there was too much light pollution so it washed out a lot of the stars. I then gradually progressed as I practised in darker spots of the city and around Hampshire using different techniques and camera settings.
As you can see, the star trails can have different effects depending on what direction you’re facing. The photo of Netley Hospital in Hampshire is facing North, With Polaris in the centre it creates circular trails.
Star Trails are created using long exposure methods, using multiple images stacked on top of each other. I usually take a minimum of 100 x 30 second exposures to get enough star trails. I use a remote shutter, so I can set it to how many shots, how long each shot will be, and how long the intervals are.
Milky Way photography is totally different to star trails. Some photos were taken in Eastney, Portsmouth so are still in the light polluted areas. I use a high ISO to increase the cameras’ sensitivity to light, making it easier for the camera to pick up stars we can’t see with the naked eye, this also creates more noise. 20-25 second exposures so the camera picks up enough light, but short enough for the stars not to trail, I also use a wide-angle, wide aperture lens to get as much in the photo as I can. I then take a longer exposure with a lower ISO for the foreground and merge the 2 together so the foreground is a lot less noisy.