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Gems in the sky

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I wanted to capture the nightsky, and would love comments; helpful critic and tips on how to better my photo

Brand:NIKON CORPORATION
Camera:Nikon D5100 Check out Nikon Nation!
Lens:18.0-55.0 mm f/3.5-5.6
Recording media:RAW (digital)
Date Taken:8 Jun 2014 - 6:21 PM
Focal Length:18mm
Lens Max Aperture:f/3.5
Aperture:f/3.5
Shutter Speed:27sec
Exposure Comp:+11/3
ISO:12800
Exposure Mode:Manual
Metering Mode:Multi-segment
Flash:No Flash
White Balance:Auto
Title:Gems in the sky
Username:Niic1989 Niic1989
Uploaded:10 Jun 2014 - 10:16 AM
Tags:Night photography, Wildlife / nature
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Comments

This photo is here for critique. Please only comment constructively and with suggestions on how to improve it.
banehawi
banehawi Critique Team 10867 forum postsbanehawi vcard Canada2865 Constructive Critique Points
10 Jun 2014 - 9:08 PM

Welcome to EPZ Nick, hope you enjoy the community of photographers.


I have never attempted a shot like this personally. I do like what you have using quite a simple and direct approach.

Offhand, I would suggest you shooting RAW, and then you can alter white balance to get a whole range of different looks. The exposure compensation doesnt make any difference to the exposure when you are in Manual mode, it just gives you the impression it does by changing the indicator!

I think theres a technique for this that you can try and experiment with, - heres one link: http://www.astro.shoregalaxy.com/dslr_astro.htm


And heres a link to an article on this site: http://www.ephotozine.com/article/astrophotography-advice---answers-23983


Hope this is helpful.



Regards


Willie

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Sooty_1
Sooty_1 Critique Team 41207 forum posts United Kingdom198 Constructive Critique Points
10 Jun 2014 - 10:20 PM

A pretty good effort considering the modest equipment. It looks like you're starting to get ambient light interfering with your darkness, and maybe you've changed the colour balance to counter it, hence the slightly odd purple colour.

The key to night sky shots, is increasing the signal to noise ratio. You've already upped the ISO, which helps, though the noise level obviously increases. Another thing you can do, is use a lens with a wider aperture to shorten the exposure time even more. The best thing with digital though, is to use a stacking program to superimpose many shorter exposures together (I use Deep Sky Stacker, there's lots of tutorials on youtube, and it's free!). It also uses dark frames and blank frames to filter out hot pixels and sensor generated noise.
The best way is to use a motorised mount, which will increase the time you can expose before star trails occur, but (even though you can make a simple scotch mount), it can be expensive and specialised. It still doesn't get rid of stray light though, and the longer the exposure, the more effect it has.

Increasing the contrast can help a little, with this picture a gradient effect layer (if you have the software) will work. Also, having something in the frame that connects it to the ground can be effective, perhaps buildings, trees, mountains....anything that can counterpoint the vastness of the sky.

These pictures become addictive, the more so for the few really good clear nights we get. A really dark location is obviously best, as is a cool night with no haze or heat shimmer from hot objects. Later (or earlier in the morning!) is better as the heat is more evenly distributed and things have had a chance to cool in the dark, eg. Concrete, buildings roofs, etc.

Nick

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dudler
dudler Critique Team 11103 forum postsdudler vcard England312 Constructive Critique Points
10 Jun 2014 - 10:37 PM

Welcome from me, too!

I suspect the colour may be because the picture was taken near to sunset or sunrise, and the exposure captured the deep purples which night photogrpahers love so much above a skyline or a landscape!

I'd suggest cutting exposure - easy to do, given the ISO you used, and the wide aperture. This will give a darker sky. I've used levels in Photoshop Elements to darken things, and give an effect more as I suspect it looked at the time you took the picture.

I'm sure the tog who shot this night view of Stonehenge would be deeply envious of this sky shot, because it is rather lovely in many ways.

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Sooty_1
Sooty_1 Critique Team 41207 forum posts United Kingdom198 Constructive Critique Points
11 Jun 2014 - 11:44 PM

I suspect it probably looked more like my mod to the naked eye.

A graduated layer mask, curves and a little colour mixing to minimise the light pollution.

Nick

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Niic1989
13 Jun 2014 - 7:21 AM

Thank you all for the comments on how to make a better photograph... Blush This was my first time photographing the stars and I'm very greatful for your advice...Smile

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