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very first attempt at the night sky
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Doesn't really mean a lot to the general photographer. It may well show what you require.
It might be better to show the whole constellation, as it is more easily recognised.
As the stars are not points, but circles, I'm guessing this is either an enlargement from a larger frame, or the lens is not focussed correctly. The change in temperature from indoors to outdoors will change the focal length, and most lenses these days focus past infinity at the end stop. They rely on the autofocus to stop them at the right point, so if you focussed manually at the end stop (as there is not much for the AF to lock on in the night sky) focus will be out. Hard to see through the viewfinder at night!
Keep trying though, but better to include more field than less.
Astrophotography is a whole field of its own and the best results are, of course, obtained by connecting your camera directly to a telescope. All I can offer is critique as a general photo and half-remembered suggestions from watching The Sky at Night as a child.
As a photograph, I'm afraid it's not very interesting to the general viewer because it's just three dots in a line and another dot. Somehow, we need to get more into the shot. Nick's suggestion of zooming out and showing the whole of Orion is a good one -- after the Great Bear, it's probably the most recognized constellation in the northern hemisphere sky so you're immediately onto something iconic. And something a little unusual, too -- I've seen lots of photos of the moon here, and lots that use startrails as a background but I don't remember any others of constellations.
Now, a brief intermission. Anyone who is even remotely interested in astronomy should check out NASA's Astronomy Picture of the Day (APOD). If you go "Oooooh, pretty!" at the Hubble photos that are on the news every few months, you are "remotely interested in astronomy" for the purposes of this advertisement. I am not responsible if you spend the next three hours clicking back into the archives.
We now return you to your regular programming. The alternative is to zoom in and here, I'm going to start getting quite speculative. Have a look at this photo of Orion's belt on APOD. It was taken "through a small telescope" giving a view of about 4.5x3.5degrees; your 200mm lens on your 1.6x crop-factor camera is a, essentially, a small telescope with a field of view of about 6.5x4.5 degrees. If you're shooting through a clear sky in an area with little light pollution, you should be able to get a lot more stars in view. You won't be able to get anything as amazing as the APOD shot because that would almost certainly need an exposure so long that you'd need a special motorized mount to keep the camera pointing in the same direction as the earth rotates; telescopes also have very wide apertures, which helps keep the exposure time down.
Live view should help with focusing. If you can't actually focus on the stars, focus on the horizon instead as, optically, there's not much difference between something a couple of miles away and a couple of trillion miles away.
cheers all, thx dave for those links. i know the photo aint the best it is to show its just the start, i find it amazing that pic of orions belt on apod with all the other stars and clouds in there, its just for me i now have something to aim for.
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