I have toyed with photographing the night sky on a few occasions in the past with limited success so I am not expecting a great deal from last weeks trip. However, Lightroom on my computer proved a far better bet for processing than it’s iPad sibling and I’n reasonably pleased with how this one turned out. It’s a start as they say!
We were away for three nights and on the first night the sky was totally covered in clouds. Night two brought some breaks in the cloud and between 10pm and 11pm I was able to get out with the camera for an hour. The third night alas brought more cloud although there were the odd break so I went out anyway for the practice as much as anything – more in hope than expectation I believe the saying goes. On reading further this morning I should probably stayed up longer and gone out around midnight but thats all part of the learning process.
My previous research suggested an aperture of f2.8, a thirty seconds exposure and pushing the ISO dial upwards to ensure sufficient exposure. In the end I opted for ISO 800 knowing that the RAW files from the D750 could take being pushed a couple of stops or so in post processing. A tripod and cable release completed the set-up which shows just how little equipment is needed to make a start.
It seems to me having now compared the RAW files with the iPad edits and those done in Photoshop/Lightroom that post processing is a vital part of astrophotography. The top image was reprocessed using a black and white layer blended to control colour luminosity and the results (below) whilst very subtle at this size was subtle but still very noticeable at full screen size. The crop helps of course as everything appears to be bigger in the frame but the subtle changes to luminosity help bring out some of the detail in the lower part of the sky.
I’m going back to the same spot at the end of August, the tail end of prime “Milky Way season” here in the UK. This gives me plenty of time to research further and of course brush up my processing skills.