Episode 7 Show Notes: Astrophotography ft. Bob Brown

Peggy Farren 2016-10-23
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Show Notes for Episode 7: Astrophotography ft. Bob Brown

Tips for night sky photography - Unique issues for astrophotography: DARK!
  1. Know your camera.
  2. Know your location - scouting at day for nite (GPS)
  3. Know the weather, preplan the exact Milky Way location, moon phase
  4. Star streaking avoidance 400 Rule: Divide the rule (400) by the focal length of the lens - then back off a couple of seconds.
    For instance: 400/18 mm lens = 22 seconds. So Bob would set his shutter speed for 20 seconds to avoid the stars streaking.
  5. Take advantage of various apps
  6. Bring fill light (light painting)
  7. Use Histogram as exposure guide
  8. Take practice shots in your back yard
  9. Include an interesting foreground to give your sky perspective

Best lenses with excellent coma correction

For star and Milky Way:
  • Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8 at 14mm (Expensive)
  • Rokinon (Samyang and Bower) Manual lenses
  • 14mm f/2.8
  • 24mm f/1.4 (shoot and sharpest at f/2.0)

Starting camera settings:

  • Rokinon (Bower) 24mm / 13sec / f/2 / ISO 5000
  • Nikon or Rokinon 14mm / 25sec / f/2.8 / ISO 6400

Fill light:

  • Vidpro Model Z-96K - Mount on tripod or light stand.


  • Sturdy tripod
  • Any Fast Wide-angel 14 or 24mm lens f/1.4 to 2.8
  • Cable release
  • Hot shoe Bubble Level


  1. Sky Guide
    $2.99 on iOS (link) and Google Play (link)

    or SkyView (Milky Way)
    Free; iOS (link) and Google Play (link)

  2. PhotoPills - Best photo plans manager
    $9.99 on iOS (link)

  3. Triggertrap (my cable release vis cell phone)
    Free; iOS (link) and Google Play (link)

  4. Google Earth
    Free; iOS (link) and Google Play (link)

  5. The Photographer’s Ephemeris - map-centric sun and moon calculator shows how the light will fall on the land, day or night for any location
    $8.99 on iOS (link); $4.99 on Google Play (link)

  6. SkippySky (weather website)

  7. Google Maps (Apple Maps)
    Free; iOS (link) and Google Play (link)

Best places for night sky photography:
The best places can be anywhere. During the day or night, take notice of any location with potential for a good night shot. Daytime won’t tell you what something will look like at night. Scout with Google Earth. Almost all public posted images on Google Earth are daytime shots, see if some have potential for night shots.


Expose images the same way as a single shot. Keep all exposures the same as the first shot.

  1. Level tripod independent from camera
  2. Level camera with bubble level
  3. Optional: Use a nodal slide rail. The node (usually at or near the front of the lens) goes over the rotation axis.
  4. Very important! Overlap all images by 40-50% for accurate stitching in your stitching program.

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