Capturing night sky photographs is challenging, artistic, and fun!

Astrophotography is the newest type of digital photography and only became possible recently with modern camera sensors that can accurately capture at 1600 to 6400 ISO, and fast wide-aperature lenses of f1 to f2.8. Modern camera sensors can capture color in low light that human vision can't see.

In addition to fast lenses and super camera sensors one needs a long exposure to capture enough light, and that requires a steady tripod and lots of patience. For a tight shot with 50mm lens, minimizing star trails, up to 5-seconds exposure is appropriate; for a wide angle lens exposure time can be up to 15-seconds. Many photographers use a tracking device. My night photos are all made with a stationary tripod

Most of us who take night sky shots follow the weather closely. Along with weather apps, we use Photopills, an app that gives us accurate sun, moon, and star positioning, as well as moon phase info and accurate timing of astronomical darkness. The website ClearDarkSky gives us accurate info about the level of light pollution (Bortle 1-9) at a specific location and clear sky weather predictions two days in advance.

The other crucial tool for night photography is editing software, and for most of us that's Adobe Photoshop. It is an incredible tool for any type of image editing.

Wondering around in the dark is not for everyone, but I seem to have no problem with it. There are benefits to darkness, including fewer people at popular locations! And when you stand at the edge of a thousand foot drop in the dark it's no problem as you can't see the drop!

Here are a few cool shots.