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Old Jul 10, 2010, 12:24 PM   #1
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Default Nikon D90 Star Photography

Hi All,

I apologise if this is covered in another thread but i went through about 20 pages and decided to open my own thread.

I have a Nikon D 90 and live at Ayers Rock which has some magnificent dark skies and great stars. I would love to get some photos but can not work out exactly how to get the right ISO and Exposure right.

I have a Nikon D90 with a 18-55mm lens and a 70-300mm lens. The main problem i have is not being able to get a exposure longer than about 7 or 8 seconds.

I was wondering if anyone would be able to help me out with this as i have seen customers out at my job getting magic photos but do not get the chance to talk to them and ask questions as i am usually dealing with 60 to 100 guests.

Thanks in advance.
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Old Jul 10, 2010, 12:58 PM   #2
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some work from a couple nights ago, im still working on the rest of the batch, this was a quick edit, but all exif data is intact

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Old Jul 10, 2010, 1:19 PM   #3
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Yeah i have been getting pics of close to that quality myself (will put one on in a minute) but i saw a picture taken tonight by a guest who took a picture of the milky way and it blew my mind. He had a D700 and not sure what lens he used.
Am hoping to be able to get pics like that
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Old Jul 10, 2010, 1:37 PM   #4
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If you use a shutter speed longer than about 10 seconds, the Earth's rotation will give you star trails. To combat that, you either need a motorized equatorial mount, or you need to take multiple shots and superimpose them.

An alternative is to get a long lens with a larger aperture. That will let you gather more light in a shorter time. Neither of the lenses you've got are particularly fast. If you're serious about this, or you can get a lens that will do double duty, the Sigma or Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 will do well. Longer than that will cost a lot more.

The attached image is one I took with my D90 and 85/1.8 at f/8.0, ISO 200 for 31.6 seconds. See the star trails?
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Old Jul 10, 2010, 1:42 PM   #5
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OK then. Thanks for that. The guy tonight used a 15 second exposure and had no star trailing. I think he was using about f/2.4 or f/2.8 for his picture and was using ISO 4000.
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Old Jul 10, 2010, 1:44 PM   #6
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It also has not answered how to get a longer exposure time.
I would love to get a Polar Star Trail picture of a hour or more
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Old Jul 10, 2010, 1:54 PM   #7
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If you want the star trails, just leave the shutter open. Stop the lens down to where it's sharp, turn on the Long exp. NR, and experiment with different ISO settings.

Oh, and hope no aircraft fly by.
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Old Jul 10, 2010, 1:56 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CWJ78 View Post
It also has not answered how to get a longer exposure time.
I would love to get a Polar Star Trail picture of a hour or more
I use a Nikon MC-DC2 remote.
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Old Jul 10, 2010, 2:15 PM   #9
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So without a remote there is no way to get longer thn my 7 to 8 second opening?
The guest tonight as far as i can tell had no remote and had a 15 second exposure.
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Old Jul 10, 2010, 2:47 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CWJ78 View Post
So without a remote there is no way to get longer thn my 7 to 8 second opening?
The guest tonight as far as i can tell had no remote and had a 15 second exposure.
You can manually set your shutter speed to anything up to 30 seconds. If you want to go longer, you set the shutter speed to "bulb" and just hold the shutter button down (or use a remote.) In any event, you should use a tripod and probably the self timer as well.

BTW, if you do this in the cold, a metal tripod can get awfully cold awfully quick, so you might want a carbon fiber tripod.
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