I thought I’d share a few photographs I took of the night sky in and around Glen Haven Michigan – Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. This was my first attempt at this kind of photography, so I took a few notes as well.
1. Don’t rock the tug boat (use a tripod and shutter-release cable to prevent camera-shake). Even with a high ISO setting (3200 +/-) and a wide-open lens capturing stars requires slow shutter-speeds (30 seconds +/-). Earth’s rotation will cause motion-blur / star-trails in exposures of much longer than 30 seconds.
2. The moon can be surprisingly bright (shoot during a New Moon or wait for the moon to set for maximum star-capturing power). The illumination on this mast comes entirely from the moon, and while it can be helpful at times, if the moon is too high and/or full it can significantly reduce the number of stars you (and your camera) will see.
3. Got a light? Bring that, too. I know, I know… I just mentioned how bright the moon is. Still, it’s very easy for a blogger (and her/his gear) to go bump in the night. Also, in extreme low-light situations you’ll often have to rely manual focusing – shining some light on nearby objects can be a big help with that.
4. Charge your battery (and your camera battery, too). Pre-plan (scout locations, look-up moon phases, weather reports, etc.) and pack-up early. Then get some rest. If you are like me, you will easily get carried away and the sun will be up in no time.
5. Shoot the lights out (take lots-o-photographs). I find it never hurts to hedge my bet. It’s often easier to delete a few ‘bad’ photos than it is to get back on location and shoot more ‘good ones’.
6. Thank your lovely wifey. It takes great patience to help scout locations, transport gear and carefully aim flashlights at 3 o’clock in the morning, etc. It will all be greatly appreciated.
About these images: digital photographs (Canon 600D) lightly modified in Adobe Photoshop