The Viewfinder

Photographing the Night Sky with Michael Crawley

08 Jun 2023 4:34 PM | Kathleen Kinser, CPP (Administrator)

Photographing the Night Sky

Presenter:  Michael Crawley

Workshop Review by Ron Vachon

I enjoyed attending Michael Crawley’s workshop, Photographing the Night Sky.  Astrophotography has been one of my interests for quite some time.  Even as someone with experience, I learned several new techniques and it refreshed my memory on others. 

Michael discussed several useful websites and cell phone apps including Photopills which I agree is worth the money.  … Just buy it!

He discussed some of the essential equipment for photographing at night; this list far exceeds a flash light, camera (or two), wide angle fast lens and a tripod.  He discussed websites to find good locations, especially those with dark sky.

He showed us images of historical sites he’s researched and has photographed at night with the Milky way as the backdrop.  He even discussed light-painting structures to add an extra point of interest to the image.  Since I’m going on a road trip to a dark sky area later this year, I’m going to use some of what I learned to find some ghost towns or other historic sites.  

Michael taught us how to setup our camera for night photography, including recommended white balance, F-stops, shutter speeds and focusing using the hyperfocal table in PhotoPills.

I found the section on comets & meteors very interesting.  He had some great stories to tell and images to show, and he reminded us of some of the meteor showers coming later this year.

Another of the computer applications he showed us was Starstx which post-processes star trails.  He demonstrated loading multiple images taken a few minutes apart each can be combined to make a beautiful image containing star trails.  It was really neat to watch it as it created the trails.  

So, if you’re up for some night sky photography later this summer, I’ll be glad to join you.  Just don’t forget your red head lamp, lens warmer, intervalometer, cable release, snacks and a comfy chair. 

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