Now that we are descending into winter in the Southern Hemisphere the days are getting shorter and it’s more difficult to catch a stunning sunset, especially for those working during the day.

But thankfully during our Winter months the Milky Way reappears in the night sky (during Summer, it is below the horizon and not visible at night). Right now the tail of the Milky Way is visible as soon as it gets dark and bright core of the Milky Way is currently rising in the Southern sky around 3:30am.

We humans have always looked to the heavens at night. The night skies and stars have provided guidance, stories, myths and legends and much more over the the span of our existence. This week, your challenge is to get out with your camera and a tripod and Shoot the Stars and discover some of the mystic our ancestors felt when looking into the heavens.

For those who have not had much success or have not pointed your camera at the stars before, here are a few tips to get you started.

  1. Try and find an area that has as little light pollution as possible
  2. Use a tripod
  3. Use the widest lens you have
  4. Focus your lens to infinity – you may want to do this before it gets dark and switch the lens to ‘manual’ focus and leave it there (or use masking to tape to keep it in the same spot)
  5. Use your camera in manual mode
  6. Put your camera on a 2 second delay before it fires the shutter
  7. Open the aperture or f/stop to the widest it will go (lowest F/stop value)
  8. Set your shutter speed to 15-20 seconds. If you leave your shutter open too long, you’ll get little trails of light where the stars move that will make them look blurry
  9. Set your ISO at 1600 to start with, then move it higher and higher to get brighter shots
  10. If you are in the Southern Hemisphere – point the camera to the South for the Milky Way

I recommend you check out Daniel Gangur from Gippsland Images’ tutorial for Basic Night Sky Photography for more detailed info. Daniel has several other star shooting related articles on his site that is well worth a look.

You can post your responses on Instagram using the hashtah #photorangerschallenge and on our Photo Rangers Community Facebook Group

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Milky Way core – Wreck of the SS Speke


Street lights reflecting on low clouds


Stars and a full moon landscape


Milky Way rising


Full moonlit landscape

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