astrophotography

Camera Settings for Astrophotography: Northern Lights Photography, Milky Way Photography, Star Trails Photography

Astrophotography is one of the best ways to break the routine and reward yourself with novel experiences that inspire beautiful creations. It transports you to another world while you photograph the astronomical objects, celestial events, and areas of the night sky on your trip to new & exotic places. From Moon Photography and Star Trails Photography to Milky Way Photography and Northern Lights Photography, Astrophotography helps you discover, capture and reveal the mysterious beauty of our universe.

astrophotography

Photo by Chris Slagle, landscape photographer and Grand Prize Winner of the 2020 AAA World Photo Contest. For more such amazing images, do check his Instagram profile here instagram.com/chrisslagle_/

How to photograph the Milky Way

Milky Way Photography is capturing the band of light formed from the stars seen in the clear, cloudless night sky (with no moon) of remote areas/countryside that has minimal light pollution.

Below is the recommended setting for Milky Way Photography:

Camera Settings – A Tripod is needed, use a wide angle lens i.e. focal length of 14 mm or the widest focal length available in your camera, Aperture: f/2.8, Shutter Speed: 30 sec, ISO 3200, set the focus to infinity (you will find the infinity symbol ∞ on your camera lens). If you don’t have the infinity symbol ∞ then go for the hard stop of your camera’s focus ring which is the place at which the focus ring will turn no further.

Pro tip: To avoid a blur image caused by the motion of the stars (due to earth’s rotation) and use of long exposure/slow shutter speed, go for the 500 rule/focal length.

For instance – in the above mentioned setting, 14mm is the focal length, so 500/14 = 35 sec, so shutter speed should be lower than 35 sec, so you can use 30 sec.

milky way photography

Photo by Daniel Damschen, Product Designer and a Photographer. For more such amazing images, do check his Instagram profile here instagram.com/damschend/

How to photograph Star Trails

For Star Trails photography which is capturing the circular movement of stars in the night sky – choose a night with no moon, a dimly lit location, go for long exposure/slow shutter speed, use a foreground for better composition, wide angle lens & a tripod and set the focus to infinity.

Option 1: Use the Bulb Mode

Bulb mode is a shutter speed option for long exposures/very slow shutter speed that you can use only in Manual mode. For instance, if you want keep the shutter open for longer periods than 30 sec, go for Bulb Mode. In this mode, as long as you keep the shutter button pressed before taking the shot that much long will be the exposure.

Shutter speeds for a star trail, ranges from anywhere between 10 minutes to several hours.

Camera Settings: Use the widest Aperture: f/3.5 or less, Bulb Mode: 30 min exposure/shutter speed, ISO: 200. You will need a remote shutter release/cable release that allows you to lock the shutter button for long exposures like 30 min without having to keep the shutter button pressed with your finger for longer periods.

Alternatively, if you don’t want to use a very long exposure/slow shutter speed, you can increase the ISO.

Option 2: Use the Intervalometer

Instead of Bulb mode, you can use an intervalometer which is an advanced remote shutter release that automatically triggers the shutter at timed intervals.

How to use Intervalometer/Recommended Setting

Set the Shutter Speed to 30 secs and set the intervalometer to take 100 shots continuously at an interval of 1 sec to avoid breaks between trails. Seasoned Photographers take many pictures using intervalometer and combine them during post processing to create the final star trail image.

How to photograph the Northern Lights

northern lights

Photo by Chris O’Donnell, an Engineer and a Photographer. For more such amazing images, do check his Instagram profile here instagram.com/christophurous/

Known by various names – northern lights, polar lights and aurora borealis, it is a natural light display in the dark skies of high-latitude regions. You can take pictures of this spectacular ballet of light with a colour palette of green, violet, blue, and pink in places closer to the Arctic Circle – Iceland, Norway, Alaska, Greenland, Sweden, Finland and Canada.

For photographing Northern Lights – you need a place where the sky is dark, clear with no clouds. If you’re planning a trip to Iceland, mid-October through March (winter months) is the best time which increases your chances of seeing the northern lights due to extended hours of night time and clear cloudless night skies. You can check with the locals or check the aurora forecast apps/websites for predicted aurora activity.

For your Iceland winter trip, you will need layered clothing – thermal wear, wind and waterproof jackets with a hoodie, winter boots, woollen socks & gloves, a thermos for keeping hot tea/beverages. Remember to carry spare camera batteries (batteries die fast in cold climate), a rain cover for your camera and a flashlight.

Camera Settings:

Use a tripod, wide angle lens and set the focus to infinity. To avoid camera shake/blur images, use a remote shutter release or self-timer mode. Use Aperture: f/2.8 or the lowest f-number you can get on your camera, Shutter Speed: 20 sec, ISO 1600. Experiment with the settings – if the image has come out too bright, then lower the ISO or increase the shutter speed. On the other hand, if your image has come out too dark, increase your ISO or use a slower shutter speed.

Bonus: Night photography tips

Light trail photography settings

While photographing the street at night, the scene would look very dark. So, your DSLR camera’s light meter will brighten up the exposure to maintain 18% gray and result in a washed-out image. You will have to dial down Exposure Compensation (EC) to -3, -4 or -5 to make the photograph resemble the natural night scene. You can also use the self-timer mode to avoid camera shake/blur image.

light trail photography

Aperture: f/11, ISO: least ISO (Lo1), Shutter Speed: 25 secs, EC: -5

Fireworks photography settings

Aperture (mid-small) f/8 to f/16, ISO 100, Bulb Mode: keep the shutter button pressed until the firework sequence ends & then release the button. (Use a tripod and remote shutter release to avoid camera shake/blur image)

Alternatively, you can experiment with ISO settings from 400 to1600 using a wide aperture and fast shutter speed.

We bring you ‘Jo & His Camera’ Comic Strips wherein a Magical Camera gives DSLR photography tutorials to an aspiring photographer named Jo.

Click on the below Image to see the Comic wherein the Camera explains Jo, the concept of Astrophotography with the help of practical examples.

northern lights

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When you do photography: Remember the 5E’s – Explore, Experiment, Experience, Enjoy & Express to develop your own style as a photographer.

Do Share The Learning – Like It, Post It, Pin It, Tweet It!

Have you tried astrophotography, yet? We would love to know about your experiences, do share them in the comment box below.

Creative Photography

Creative Photography Ideas for the Budding Photographer in You

Life is beautiful! And if you want to make it amazing, fun & inspiring – focus on nurturing & developing your creative hobbies (photography could be one). It will help you creatively express and share your experiences with others and thereby increase your happiness quotient.

Photography is an art; using creative photography ideas – props and composition techniques will help you take your photography skills to the next level.

Some of the ideas include creatively posing with the sun (Silhouette Photography), photographing a scene/object from a different angle (for instance – capturing a person jumping above you while you lie on the floor and photograph them), throwing colours in the air while you photograph the scene, photographing spectacular moments caused by natural activity or different lights, photographing reflection of the subject/scene on a person’s sunglasses or rear-view mirror of the car and so on.

All these photography tricks & techniques make the viewer wonder how the photographer manged to create such amazing photographs.

Take a look at the below photographs to get a better understanding of Creative Photography:

Bokeh effect created with fairy lights in the background give the illusion that colourful bubbles are coming out of the jar placed in the foreground

Creative Photography

To know more about Bokeh, click here

Scene photographed from the cable car when it was drizzling sets the mood (You can spray water/colours in the air to create extraordinary images)

Creative Photography

Photographed kaleidoscopic effect of a retail outlet display glass in a mall (You can look for such interesting installations that amaze the viewer and captures their attention)

Creative Photography

Used the Panning technique: The background is blur but the moving subject (cab) is in focus and appears sharp.

Creative Photography

To know more about panning, click here

Night photography: Captured the surreal experience of Ganga Aarti

Creative Photography

Great divide within reflected in nature: Setting sun imparts two different colours to clouds based on their height (also the sea reflects it)

Creative Photography

Placed Lord Krishna keychain on the money plant and photographed it through a paper cup that was cut from the bottom (Try using props to give a different perspective of your subject)

Creative Photography

Photographed images of the lanterns that was captured in the smartphone camera

Creative Photography

Bokeh effect created with fairy lights in the background reflects its colours on the transparent Lord Ganesh idol placed in the foreground

Creative Photography

Bitter gourds in the shape of Lord Ganesh & his Mushak (mouse)

Creative Photography at home

Photographs of the same Raven captured in different poses stitched together to create a visual story

Creative Photography

To learn Bird Photography, click here

We bring you ‘Jo & His Camera’ Comic Strips wherein a Magical Camera gives DSLR photography tutorials to Jo, an aspiring photographer

Click on the below Image to see the Comic wherein the Camera explains Jo, the concept of Creative Photography with the help of practical examples.

Creative Photography ideas

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When you do photography: Remember the 5E’s – Explore, Experiment, Experience, Enjoy & Express to develop your own style as a photographer.

Do Share The Learning – Like It, Post It, Pin It, Tweet It!

We would love to know about your creative photography ideas. Do share your photographs with us in the comment box below.

Camera Settings and Tips for Silhouette Images

How to Capture those Mysterious Silhouette Images? Silhouette Photography Settings & Tips Explained with Examples

When I think of a Silhouette, the first thing that comes to my mind is a James Bond movie! Well, if you remember the main title sequence of James Bond movies, they have mysterious visual elements that reflect each film’s theme showing silhouettes of the characters.

silhouette photography

As you may be aware, silhouette photography is a type of creative photography where you hide your subject in the darkness, thereby creating a sense of mystery in your photographs.

Your subject could be a person, animal, bird, object, architecture or a landscape represented as a solid shape of a single colour – usually black – with a featureless interior; its edges matching the outline of the subject.

silhouette images

Silhouette images exude mystery, mood, emotion and drama; it kindles the viewer’s imagination to understand/interpret what story the photograph is trying to convey.

silhouette photography tutorial

Pro tips:

  • Let the Sun/any other light source be behind your subject so that your subject is backlit (more light will shine from the background than the foreground)
  • Choose a subject with a defined and recognizable shape
  • Experiment – If you think that the image looks better without the source of light in the frame, go for it.

Desert Silhouette

silhouette

Camera SettingsAperture: f/5.6, Shutter Speed: 1/4000 sec, ISO: 100

Sunset Silhouette

sunset silhouette photography

Camera Settings – Aperture: f/32, Shutter Speed: 1/100 sec, ISO: 100.

Blue Hour Silhouette

silhouette photo

Camera Settings – Aperture: f/3.5, Shutter Speed: 1/50 sec, ISO 400

Rule of Thirds Composition was used in this image.

Golden Hour Silhouette

woman silhouette photography

Camera Settings – Aperture: f/5, Shutter Speed: 1/250 sec, ISO 100, Exposure bias: -0.3 step, Metering Mode: Center Weighted Average

Bird Silhouette

silhouette photography settings

Camera Settings – Aperture: f/5.6, Shutter Speed: 1/60 sec, ISO 3200

We bring you ‘Jo & His Camera’ Comic Strips wherein a Magical Camera gives DSLR photography tutorials to Jo, an aspiring photographer

Click on the below Image to see the Comic wherein the Camera explains Jo, the concept of Silhouette Photography with the help of practical examples.

Camera Settings and Tips for Silhouette Images

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When you do photography: Remember the 5E’s – Explore, Experiment, Experience, Enjoy & Express.  

Do Share The Learning – Like It, Post It, Pin It, Tweet It!

Want to create mystery using the art of photography, then go for silhouette photography! And do share your amazing clicks with us in the comment box below.

Time lapse photography

Landscape Photography: Same Place with Different Light at Different Times

It’s human tendency to rush to different places to capture all the beauty that is there in the world. But, with experience – you learn that slowing down and being patient gets your creative juices flowing that rewards you with some amazing photographs.

As a photographer, you’re aware how light changes a scene; every place wears a different look at different times of the day.

You might be wanting to photograph your favourite place/landscape during different seasons of the year but, if you can’t travel that often – you can surely capture the beauty of the place on your trip by visiting it, the same day at short intervals or by photographing it from the window of your resort room – if you’ve got a good view.

Below 4 photographs depict how light conceals and reveals different elements of the same scene:

Image before sunrise

time lapse photography

Image at sunrise

time lapse photo

Image after sunrise

Landscape Photography

Image after sunset

time lapse android

For time lapse photography – you can either shoot a time lapse video from your DSLR Camera of sunrise, sunset, moonrise, moving clouds or moving people on the street etc. You can also take a lot of photographs at short intervals and then create a time lapse video out of the photographs using a software.

Well, if you don’t have a DSLR Camera, you can shoot a Hyperlapse Video from your android smartphone (remember to keep your phone on a stand to avoid shake as you’ll be recording the video for several minutes). With Hyperlapse videos, you can show actions/movements that are happening at a normal/slow speed in the scene at a much faster speed.

Below is a hyperlapse video of moving people & moving clouds

Below is a sky timelapse/hyperlapse or clouds timelapse    

We bring you ‘Jo & His Camera’ Comic Strips wherein a Magical Camera gives DSLR photography tutorials to Jo, an aspiring photographer.

Click on the below Image to see the Comic wherein the Camera explains Jo, the concept  of photographing same place at different times with the help of practical examples.

Time lapse photo

Keywords: Photography, nature photography, best photography, creative photography, amazing photographs, dslr photo, a photographer, digital photography, photography for beginners, photography website, basic photography, photographyblog, trick photography, photography tutorials, outdoor photo, photography business, photography lessons, free online photography tutorials, photography tutorials for beginners, digital photography tutorials, best photography tutorials, dslr camera tutorial, dslr photography tutorial, dslr tutorial for beginners, free photography tutorials, photography tutorials online,photography tips, photography skills, composition techniques, learn photography, landscape photography, time lapse photography, time lapse photo, morning photographs, time lapse, hyperlapse, sky timelapse, hyperlapse video, time lapse android, clouds timelapse     

When you do photography: Remember the 5E’s – Explore, Experiment, Experience, Enjoy & Express.  

Do Share The Learning – Like It, Post It, Pin It, Tweet It!

If you haven’t yet taken photographs of the same place at different times (time lapse photography) – do give it a try. And remember to share those photographs with us in the comment box below.

People Photography

Adding People into your Travel Photos – a Good Idea or a Bad Idea? Find it Out Here

Trying to photograph an amazing landscape? Just when you’re about to take the shot, you see people posing a selfie in front of it, that blocks your view. So, what do you do? Wait for their selfie session to get over, isn’t it? Well, we’ve all been there.

But, do you know – having people in the scene you’re photographing is not always a hindrance to creating aesthetically pleasing photographs? Yes, you read it right! Adding a human element in your scene engages the viewer as it adds life or motion to a still photo, captures local stories, balances the composition of the image, provides a reference for scale, adds depth to the photograph, conveys popular activities of a place and more.

Wondering, how to decide whether to keep people in the frame or not? Just check whether they fit in with the composition of the image – will they attract the viewer’s attention to your image by letting them think – who are those people in the photograph and what are they doing at that place?

So, let’s dive in and understand both the things – people in photographs that help in creating amazing photographs and people in photographs that don’t go well with the composition of the image.

Girls fill the negative space in the foreground and the photo also makes the viewer think – what the two girls are talking about (Uttarakhand)

people photography

Biker adds motion/speed to a nature photograph (Mussoorie)

Biker adding Motion to Still Photos

Depicts activities of the locals – woman in blue fishing (Meghalaya)

women photography

Tells more about the place – a Sage walking towards the holy River Ganga to quench his thirst for spirituality (Rishikesh)

man photography

Shows Occupational Hazard – Fishermen trying to take the boat out into the sea when it gets hit by the wave (Goa)

photo people

Girl in purple shirt filling a can with the holy Ganga water provides a reference for scale by depicting how grand/magnificent nature is (Rishikesh)

outdoor photo

Another example that gives a reference for scale (Meghalaya)

nature photography

Yet another example that gives a reference for scale- Group of travellers facing inside the frame also takes the viewer’s attention inside the photo (Kashmir)

silhouette images

Girl on the tree holding leaves depicts the local attire (Kashmir ki Kali)

women photography Kashmir

Traveller exploring/wandering through the streets – Girl in pink adds life, colour to the still streets of Mussoorie (Street Photography)

street photography

Now, take a look at the below 2 photographs where having people in the frame spoil the composition

If the man wouldn’t have been cut in the image – the photograph would have been more amazing (Kashmir)

landscape photography

The people are a distraction in the below image or else the photograph of the leafless tree with a cloudy sky would have created a more dramatic effect

nature photography Meghalaya

Pro-tip: Well, there’s a trick for removing people in the scene who’re not adding any value to your photograph by setting slower shutter speed (long exposure).

We bring you ‘Jo & His Camera’ Comic Strips wherein a Magical Camera gives DSLR photography tutorials to Jo.

Click on the below Image to see the Comic wherein the Camera explains Jo, the concept  of Including People into Travel Photographs with the help of practical examples.

People Photography

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When you do photography: Remember the 5E’s – Explore, Experiment, Experience, Enjoy & Express.  

Do Share The Learning – Like It, Post It, Pin It, Tweet It!

Have you photographed a place where people in the scene enhanced the composition and helped in creating a more attractive image? Do share such photographs and your experience with us in the comment box below.