In anticipation that the comet ISON hopefully putting on a show later this fall, I have been experimenting with taking night sky pictures and I’ve been sorely disappointed in the results. Back in the day (that is, too many years ago to mention), I did a lot of night sky film photography, and got good results with a cheap range finder camera, so I’m having a problem understanding why my DSLR is underperforming my expectations.
My night sky pictures end up with an almost-daylight brightness to the horizon, but I’m only capturing a very few of the brightest stars. I’m going far away from city lights and I have a dark, very visible, moonless night sky to shoot. So, I’m wondering what I’m doing wrong with my DSLR that is giving me crap for the night sky. I’ve looked at other posts in the forum and I think I’m using reasonable settings... so I’m not sure what’s up.
With this week being the new moon, the next clear night, I’m going to try again using a different location to see if that makes any difference, thinking that the little distant light on the horizon may be overwhelming my sensor and causing it to ignore the sky. But, before I do that, I thought I’d ask for some advice, and maybe someone can give me a clue what I’m doing wrong.
Here’s what I’m shooting:
Nikon D7000 with 24-85mm f/2.8-4D at 24mm and f/2.8
Nikon D7000 with DX 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5G at 10mm and f/3.5
Manual Focus (camera and lens)
Focused at infinity
Exposure times tried: 1, 5, 10, 20, 30 secs and time w/ remote: ~1min, ~2.5min, ~5min
Auto White Balance: Normal
Picture Control: Standard
RAW + JPEG fine-large
Active D-Lighting: Off
Long exposure noise reduction: Off
High ISO noise reduction: Off
Mirror Up (and on a solid tripod)