24. Spectacular night skies

When photographing the night sky the main challenge is calculating your exposure and timings. In this chapter Karl takes us through his thought process behind his fantastic night time shots and shows us how he does it from going there and composing his shot in the daytime through to execution. Sharing with you some tips such as adding in a very subtle amount of light to create a more natural and realistic feeling landscape image.


    1. Hi Edward, I set it on the tree as this was the main point of interest. Usually on wide angle lenses at a certain depth of focus into the photograph then it also almost reaches infinity, this is due to wide angle lenses naturally having a greater depth of field.

  1. Hi Karl. Just a question. What is your tip for taking wedding pictures under a night sky ? In fact I want to mix the results of your courses “fashion location flash” and “spectacular night skies”.

    1. Hi Phillipe the first thing you need to consider is the logic of what you are doing: 1. A night sky picture requires an exposure of about 30 seconds at f2.0 at a relatviely high ISO. Then your wedding couple will require flash exposure to illuminate them correctly, this flash exposure will likely need to be low in power because you are shooting at high ISO and a large aperture. The next problem is that you need to make sure the couple remain perfectly still for the 30 seconds of night sky exposure as the flash will only be at the start or the end of the exposure. As you will likely be shooting on a wide angle lens to capture the sky then any slight movement shouldn’t be too noticeable. So you will need to do a test exposure for the sky first and then manually adjust your flash power to suit.

  2. Karl, you say you were shooting at F2, but your “Equipment” section says 16-35mm F2.8 lens. What lens were you using for the F2 aperture, or did you not list the lens used for F2?

    1. I re-watched, and I guess my question is, what 24mm F1.4 lens were you using? It’s not listed in th e”Equipment list.” Thanks!

      1. Hi Randy, sorry must of missed it, yes Karl is shooting with the 24mm when it gets dark and the 16-35mm in the day, I’ve updated the equipment list, thanks for the heads up

  3. Very nice results!
    When I see the two pictures , I see that one has a lot more stars in it. What was the key difference of the two shots that made that possible? Later in the night?

    1. Hi Jacques, yes later in the night, and or higher ISO or larger aperture. If you go to long on the shutter speed then the stars will streak (unless they are being tracked and then the ground stuff would streak!)

  4. Hello Karl, spectacular. Please tell me what parts of the image were illuminated with the faint light. Both rocks and the tree?

    1. Hi Bogdan, both the rock and the trees were illuminated using the faint light, without the faint light these elements would only be a silhouette.

    2. Hi Bogdan, both the rock and the trees were illuminated using the faint light, without the faint light these elements would only be a silhouette.

  5. Question, you would not use the first pic you took because there’s some light from video man pollute the image a little bit, right?

    1. Hi Devel, the answer would and should only be; Does the light from the video man make the picture worse or does it help the picture better?


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