Advanced Optics: What Is Astrophotography?

Astrophotography is the art of taking photos of space. This can be accomplished by using a camera, or a combination of cameras, lenses, telescopes, computers, guide scopes, software, tracking mounts, filters, and more. In the upcoming weeks, I will cover some of the more advanced methods that we employ at David Rives Ministries, but for now, let's look at simple astrophotography that anyone with a quality DSLR can enjoy. The first necessary item is a sturdy tripod for your camera. These can be acquired at any electronics store or catalog at a fairly low cost. The higher-quality glass your camera lens is made of, the better the photo that you will get. For this type of photography, more megapixels does not necessarily mean better. You will want to pick a dark location away from any major cities or towns where light pollution might be an issue. A correct infinity focus must be obtained, and the camera switched to manual focus. Exposure settings should be in the 10 second-to-30 second range, and gain or ISO should be experimented with to obtain optimal images. Keeping these tips in mind, you will be amazed at the photos you can achieve without a telescope. Send your photography to us, and we may feature one of your images on our fan-gallery astrophotography page. I'm David Rives.... As you explore the night sky, remember that... Truly, The Heavens Declare the Glory of God.