I've started to do a little night/star photography this month, September 2016. I shot a couple nights in Maine while on vacation, and then again when I got back to Maryland. In Maryland I shot sunset and then some more at a Sunflower field north of Baltimore. And then finally last weekend I shot some stars in Cape May New Jersey.
The most unexpected thing I immediately discovered is that after an hour or so the lens on my camera would start to fog up. This appears to be a result of the lens getting colder than the outside air and can be combated with a handwarmer placed on the lens to keep it warm - I will try this next time, now that I have handwarmers.
Another obvious challenge is getting the lens focused properly while it is nearly pitch black out. I basically winged it, and then checked my focus on a test shot or two or three and then figured it was as good as I could get at that time. I was considering marking my gear for infinity focus, or using gaffers tape (now I own some), but I haven't done this yet while out shooting or before hand to prep.
Here are a couple of images I took this month.
This was a shot of my setup, done with my D810. I was shooting with 2 cameras and cable releases, and then decided to shoot my D4 setup. The focus isn't that great, but it was good enough for a setup shot. Notice I have duct tape covering where my little jog dial used to be before it popped out! I had it fixed once before and then it happened again and i lost the rubber button, so now that.
My critique of the sunflower and images in general that I got is that I underexposed everything by a stop or so. I wish the sunflowers were brighter. And I should have know it would be that way. In reading a lot of folks recommended ISO 1600, 30 seconds at f/2.8. I stopped down, and shot a shorter duration of about 20-25 seconds. But it was a good learning experience, and after 4 nights of night shooting/star shooting I think I'm ready to try again, and hopefully do better.
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