We're approaching astronomical twilight, there's still a lot of light out there so definitely not ready to shoot. But I've set up a composition that I think will work once we get dark enough. I can begin to see Jupiter up in the sky, there it is on my screen. We still got almost an hour to go before we're gonna have dark skies, and by the time, it will have moved over and we'll get the Milky Way arching in through here. There's a Joshua tree right to my right here that I'd like to include but because of some other obstructions, I was really playing with the best composition and I think I may end up trying to shoot a pano for this. I might switch it to vertical later but at the moment, I'm just gonna keep it horizontal. And so, my first shot will be somewhere in there, and then I'm going to include that Joshua tree right there. So it's not going to be a very big pano but I really do like the balance that that creates. And even in this light, that might make a great shot. I think I might...
try just shooting this as a landscape shot, sort of during the, cause we're in the blue hour here. And that might look kinda cool. After I've taken those two shots just as a plain, sort of silhouette type shot, might try some low level lighting. So gonna set up a couple a lights similar to the video lights that we've got going here right now and put them off in a distance so that I can get this rock formation nicely illuminated. Rather than light painting it, I can hopefully get a nice even lighting across it, add some dimension to these rocks and we'll see how that looks. But overall, I'm fairly happy with that composition to start with. So in anticipation of that Milky Way showing up, gonna start setting up my camera with those settings. So I was shooting some landscape images earlier so I'm a aperture priority, which is my go to mode for that. But switch it to manual mode, all right. And the last time I was in manual, I was shooting at 15 seconds with the 12 millimeter lens, I'm probably gonna stick with that. I'm wide open, oh no I'm not wide open. There we go, now I'm wide open, you can see everything got a little brighter. Look at my super control panel, definitely not gonna be shooting at ISO 200, so let's crank that up and I'm gonna start at ISO 3200. Gonna move out of auto white balance. I don't want, I don't want any clipping or anything, and auto white balance is going to create a very warm image that I don't think is conducive to a night sky shot. So I am going to change it to a custom white balance and we'll start with 3600 Kelvin, easy to change here in the super control panel. I am going to switch it to manual focus mode. There we go, all right. I'm shooting in raw, all of my settings look good. Because I'm anticipating shooting a panorama, even a small one, I want to make sure that my camera's nice and level so that as I transition from one shot to the next, my horizon stays at the same point in the frame. And so what I've done here is bubble leveled my tripod and making sure that as I rotate the head, I'm not moving at one angle or another, cause that will be important. It'll make stitching any pano a lot easier later.
Peter is a professional photographer and educator living on Manitoulin Island in Northern Ontario. He regularly leads photography courses and workshops for novice and enthusiast photographers and travels across North America as an Olympus Visionary providing lectures and seminars on landscape, wildlife, and astrophotography.
I purchased the Creative Live + Olympus Step Outside Conference Bundle some time ago, and it has taken me this long (too long) to view the astrophotography class. Although not a beginner, I have been using Olympus gear (EPL5 & EM1) for about 7 years now, I have only dabbled in astrophotography – and as a result, blown my fair share of what should have been killer shots. When I did give it a go, I obtained most of my settings’ tips by combing through Peter’s blog posts and then racing out the door. Although I feel that I know my camera pretty well I still learned so much from this course. I appreciate that he walked the viewer through multiple night time photography events including shooting the milky way, the moon, aurora, meteor showers & star trails as well as talked about the different camera features including night sky panoramas, in-camera multiple exposures, live comp & time lapse and presented a variety of lens choices and why (plus so much more). What I love about Creative Live is that once you purchase a “class” you own it and can return to your classroom over, and over again. I also appreciate that they work with experts who are also amazing teachers. Peter is one of those.
Some classes are just fantastic and this is one of them! Peter Baumgarten is a wonderful presenter of his extensive knowledge, experience and passion for the subject. This is a course I will return to watch again and again. Highly recommended if you are like me and are interested in getting into astrophotography and landscape.
To my way of thinking this was the best photographic genre instructor featured during the Olympus Step Outside series. He may be a more seasoned instructor than the photographers demonstrating landscape and bird photography. Whatever the reason, I thought he seemed to understand his audience particularly well. Great advice and the post processing was interesting. Likely because of my familiarity with Lightroom, I found the post production done by the bird and landscape photographers rather mundane whereas the astro photography post production was new and interesting to me.