How to Get Started with Astrophotography

Charles Hinckley
3 min readNov 6, 2021

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Astrophotography is the process of photographing celestial objects and occurrences, such as stars, the moon, the sun, planets, asteroids, and galaxies. In recent years, astrophotography has grown in popularity due to improved photographic equipment, making it a far more attainable form of photography.

There are several styles of astrophotography that even inexperienced photographers can enjoy. Wide-angle photography is a fantastic introduction to astrophotography because it is the least technical. With minimal equipment, simply a DSLR camera, a wide-angle lens, and a tripod, you can take some fantastic photographs for very little money.

Time-lapse photography is another subcategory of wide-angle astrophotography. The main difference is that you take numerous exposures over time and then stitch the frames together to create a time-lapse video. The same method can create a star trail image.

Given the milky way’s distance of approximately 25,000 light-years away, it is another popular subject matter in astrophotography. This type of photography is known as Milky Way astrophotography and is often shot in deserts or other low-light pollution areas. With a standard DSLR and a few simple adjustments in manual mode, you can capture an excellent photograph of the milky way.

With deep space astrophotography, you’re photographing red and blue nebulae, other galaxies, their planets, and solar systems. The only disadvantage to deep space photography is the gear required. To photograph galaxies and nebulae, you’ll need specialized equipment such as a dedicated camera (CCD), an astronomical telescope, an equatorial mount, and a laptop (to control the CCD camera).

Beginner astrophotographers should start with star trails or nightscapes. Nightscape photography refers to astrophotographs that contain any earthly terrain in the images. For starters, you can take them with your standard DSLR. Also, they are a great way to get away from the city at night.

You will need to find your darkest sky first by getting away from city lights and choosing nights with a new moon. Due to the large amount of light entering your camera, distant city lights or a full moon can spoil your images entirely. While photographing the night sky with long exposures is very simple, any time your shutter is open, you will record the relative movement of the stars and other objects.

You can fix this problem in three ways: one, short-exposure, extremely wide-angle photographs such as landscapes. Two, for close-ups of the moon, planets, or deep-space objects, you’ll need a specialized tripod that rotates the camera in lockstep with the Earth’s rotation.. These are called star trackers. Or, three, accept these movements and capture them in your photographs.

While the image capture method is straightforward, you will still need photo editing and cleanup work. Software like Photoshop, Lightroom, and Aperture provides a great deal of creative license for post-processing processes, especially when shooting RAW format.

This is advantageous for astrophotography since it allows for greater control over the image, but it can also be a double-edged sword. While an over-processed photograph may go unnoticed by the untrained eye, it is critical to keep your processing in mind when producing high-quality astrophotos.

Not everyone is suited to night sky photography. You have to take pleasure in going out of town and bundling up for a long evening in the bush. Often, it entails considerable travel and planning. However, for those who enjoy gazing at the sky, astronomy and photography go hand in hand.

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Charles Hinckley
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Charles Hinckley — Investment Banker based in New York #renewableenergy #solarpower #windpower #solar #chuckhinckley #charleshinckley