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Photography how-to: The basics and beyond

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  • 2 months later...

I don't come in this forum very often, but I gotta tell you guys... every time I do, I'm thoroughly impressed. Lots and lots of really bright people who really know their carp in here! Great stuff here- thanks for sharing.

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  • 1 year later...

I have another question for you guys. Mirror lock up.

Our exchange student is shooting a Nikon D3000. She was looking at the mirror lock up feature, and was asking when you would use it, and how the whole thing works in the first place. How can you take a photo with the mirror locked up?

I skimmed through, but only saw one mention.

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The mirror lock up feature is for locking the mirror up to minimize any vibration and movement when taking a long exposure shot. Unfortunately according to the Nikon site the D3000 has a mirror lockup for cleaning only, not for taking pictures. frown

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First on composition, I like to include something to anchor the stars. Another words something in the low foreground, along the side, something to ground the stars so to speak. I think it adds interest to your scene.

Settings. It really depends on what you want and how much ambient you want to let in. Standard settings for just star shots for me are ISO 100 to 400, f8. Remember depth of field doesn't matter here. You are shooting a million miles away! Shutter speed to get bright dots and not slightly streaked can not be any slower than 20 to 25 seconds. I prefer to shoot wide angle to include as many stars as possible, the more there are the better it looks! I also play around with the White Balance. Try using the tungsten setting, it gives you a deeper blue color. And it reins in any stray light from other sources that might give you an orange tint.

Now if you want to get some ambient in or include say the Milky Way or northern lights, ramp up the ISO to around 1000 to 1600. It is real easy, the only thing I change shooting at night is ISO. Change it to give the sky a lighter look. If you want star trails now you will be shooting up to 1 hour or more. Then I will change my aperture to f11 or f16 or higher to keep as much ambient out as possible and bring my ISO down to its lowest setting (50 or 100).

The other thing to add some interest when using the foreground object as I mentioned at the beginning is to include some light painting. Start your shot, pull out a flashlight and shine it back and forth on your object. You can even walk up to it and back out of the frame. A flashight, pen light, even a million watt spotlight all give you different looks. Change the color of the light by using a gel over the lens or something to give you a new shade of color. Great fun!!!

I love shooting at night! When the moon is dark it is the greatest time to get out and get some shots at night.

Light painting with an RC Airplane!


Star Trails!


Light painting a large object!


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  • 5 years later...

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