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To The Stars

This year has been odd in regard to weather, it was hot and dry most of the time with perfect clear skies. For my landscape photography it was a disaster: No clouds to go with a sunrise/sunset or to give detail to an otherwise boring sky, no waterfalls or flowing water to shoot and, to add insult to injury, no fresh greens but dead yellowish/brownish tones everywhere. What do you do? Well, you rethink your options and then take advantage of the situation.

Meet Deep Sky Photography. You may remember that I shot the Milky Way and the lunar eclipse a couple of months ago, so I already had an idea of what Night Sky Photography is about: Shooting dim objects at rather high ISOs and wide open aperture, paying attention to Earth rotation and trying to counter it and, of course, hoping for clear skies. So in a nutshell, the usual rules of photography still apply, but it’s a different world entirely if you want to get serious about it.

It all started with a picture on fstoppers.com, showing a picture of M31 – the Andromeda Galaxy (that is the galaxy that will collide with our own galaxy eventually, but no need to get worried about that just yet). It was a stunning picture, but what was even more baffling was, that this guy had taken the shot with his DSLR, a 300mm/f4 telephoto lens and a sky tracking device. No telescope. To get the shot he had to take 27 frames with 90 seconds shutter time each. Without the sky tracker that would have been very hard to do.

So I thought to myself, “if this can be done with a 300mm/4 lens, can I do it with a 200mm/2.8 lens by bringing the shutter time down to around 2 seconds?” – there was only one way to answer that question, here’s what I got.

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