Astrophotography is something I’ve always been interested in, but other than the occasional shot of the moon, I haven’t done much of it. Lately, I was reading an article about shooting the sky in light-polluted areas, which is a big deal for me because the light pollution in my area is such that I often can only see handful of the brightest stars. The article suggested using a technique called exposing to the right, which basically means overexposing to just short of the highlights being blown out, then post processing the image to darken the sky while retaining the stars. I was outside last night and decided to try a few shots. Looking to the NNW from my house, all I could see was the big dipper and a handful of surrounding stars – certainly no more than a couple dozen. I pointed my camera at the area and took several shots. The first shot below is the SOOC image, taken at 42mm | f/2.8 | 10 sec | ISO 3200. The second shot is what I came up with after processing. While it will never take the place of good, dark skies, this technique actually worked pretty well. The dozens of stars I could see with the naked eye turned into hundreds, and I also got an unexpected bonus in the streak in the upper right corner of the image, which I learned was actually the International Space Station passing overhead.
By the way, if you’re looking for information about what’s in orbit over your head at any given time, Heavens Above is a great resource!