NightScapes: Chasing the Light across the night sky. Exploring the techniques of capturing one of Natures most exciting photographic opportunities. We'll look at still photography, deepsky photography, and time lapse photography. We'll talk about navigating across the Constellations to identify what we discover. We will keep it as simple as possible and try to have some fun along the way as we explore techniques and contraptions, capturing and processing, posting and sharing, and maybe throw in a workshop or two. Join me as I set sail across the ocean of the's gonna be fun!

Friday, July 18, 2014

Light is Still the Key

In any kind of photography, light is the key ingredient. It’s not so much the quantity of light that is important, it is the quality of that light. When you view one of those amazing nature photographs taken by one of the amazing nature photographers what stands out the most is how they were able to use light to great effect. Light is the most important element when it comes to defining and creating a great photograph and this holds true even for astrophotography. The difference between a great astrophotography image and a generic landscape is the quality of light is almost always inherent in the night sky, it’s just really, really faint. That factor alone is what makes night sky photography a challenge, but one worth attempting.  

Photographing the night sky comes with all kinds of technical challenges, but even novice photographers possess most of the basic skills required to capture a fantastic shot of the Milky Way on a clear dark night. If they do lack anything, it is a lack of understanding about the night sky itself. Even though light is the key, composition plays off that key and without a clear and organized composition, even a wonderful night sky event will often fall short. 

I find myself expressing jealous feeling toward those who have the opportunity to photograph the night sky from a vantage point out west with its wonderful dark sky opportunities. It is there one can find amazing foreground objects to enhance the composition which is embellished by the brightness of the night sky. In Kentucky we have to contend with a lot of hazy and often overcast skies not to mention the abundance of light pollution. Even so, with a little research one can find a suitable location. Then it becomes a matter of being willing to be there and a little luck with the timing of a dark sky with a clear night. 

For night sky photography, the absence of light is what shapes the image. It is those dark areas that add character and drama. Break up those dark areas with glowing nebulas and star light and your image begins to glow with a resonance that is out of  this world, literally.


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