Astrophotography: A Galaxy Far, Far Away

I’ve recently become quite fascinated with astrophotography. It’s such an interesting branch of photography and brings a whole new set of challenges to the table. So far, I’ve made two attempts–one in June and one in August. While I wasn’t entirely successful, I had a blast trying.

My main objective was to capture the Milky Way. I see so many amazing images of the Milky Way from so many photographers I admire. Their work really serves as a great source of inspiration and motivation for me to challenge myself to learn this unique style of photography. So, in preparation, I read a lot of articles about equipment, technique, timing, etc. and watched some YouTube videos about post-production. And, while it definitely gave me a jumping-off point, I quickly learned that it was going to take a lot of patience and a lot of practice before I was going to achieve results even close to that of my mentors.

After my second attempt in August, I was pretty frustrated and couldn’t figure out what I was doing wrong. So, I posted some questions on an Astrophotography for Beginners Facebook page and on my Instagram account and received some great feedback. It turns out that my location may have been too bright (something I was vaguely aware might have been an issue), but that my camera settings were pretty on target. I was relieved to know that my procedures were right, but that maybe I need to find someplace darker. I’m also aware that I’m not working with the best lens. While my 18-55 f/3.5 kit lens does get me something, something wider and faster would be much more preferable. I’ve been talking to some fellow astrophotographers and received some excellent lens recommendations that will not only work well for astrophotography, but the other types of photography I do as well. Hopefully I can treat myself to an upgrade before too long.

You can see in these few shots that the Milky Way is indeed present, but it’s not nearly as prominent or crisp as I’d like it to be. One of the most difficult things I’ve found about this process is figuring out how to focus. I know the technique I’m supposed to do, but I still feel like I’m not getting it. Everything just seems a bit too fuzzy yet. This is where practice and persistence will come in.

I also sat out on the weekend the Presides were occurring, but I was unable to capture any. I did, however, snap a decent (well, to me) shot of the Big Dipper and one of an airplane streaking across the sky.

So, for now, enjoy my first few attempts at capturing a galaxy far (and one attempt at light painting), far away.

Milk Way attempt 4, big shed tree watermarkedMilky Way attempt 1 sky only watermarkedMilky Way attempt 2, edge of tree 1 watermarkedMilky Way attempt 3, grain bins 1 watermarkedMilky Way attempt 3, grain bins 2 watermarkedMilky Way over Grain Bins reedit watermarkedMilky Way in August 1 watermarkedAirplane through night sky watermarkedBig Dipper 1 watermarkedMilky Way 2 (possible meteor top right) watermarkedMilky Way over road (okish) 1 watermarkedLight Painting attempt 1 watermarked

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