Starry night in the Smokies

Photography This Week: Astrophotography

If you've noticed a theme of late, you're not wrong. I think I'm attracted to astrophotography partly because opportunities are so rare. I live in a dense, highly-built-up neighborhood of Washington, DC, so honing my night photography skills is not something I can do regularly. In any case, along with the profiles of my efforts, I wanted to provide some of the resources that helped me prepare. This week's photography contest section is a tad eclectic, with a London-based competition, a contest focusing on seawater life (I've never had the opportunity to do any underwater stuff, and two contests that focus on helping the planet and animals. As the proud housemate of a rescue dog, and having fostered quite of few rescued dogs, I'll put a personal endorsement in for that one. Lastly, your bonus link is going to help you up your photography something serious.


Night Photography: Highlights from around the web

The Beginners Guide to Landscape Astrophotography and Landscape Astrophotography - Before the Big Night Out

Some like a simple foreground, some like a single focal point, some like a lake or pond in the landscape and some may like distant mountains.  Whatever your preference is this rule applies to you!  Make sure you find your location in daylight.  Please don't go out looking for that location in the dark.
Takeaway: Site commenter and highly-experienced astrophotographer Darryl Van Gaal gives you some some really great common sense tips and lessons learned in his two intro posts to astrophotography. He notes how different things are at night, and how the dark can sometimes raise the stakes.

How To Photograph the Milky Way

It is a common misconception that you need an expensive camera and lens combination to make a great Milky Way photograph. Pretty much any Digital SLR (DSLR) or camera with a Micro 4/3 sensor or larger is more than capable of photographing the Milky Way, especially when paired with the right lens. 
Takeaway: I've mentioned Lonely Speck previously, but Ian Norman has gone out of his way to make capturing these magical images accessible and sensible.

Photo Tutorial & Gallery | The Milky Way

I’ll preface this post by saying that the key to taking good photographs is to know your subject. Photographing the Milky Way is no different.
Takeaway: Besides the detail of how he captured the image, I really appreciated that the writer believes it's important to know and understand a bit about your subject, even though it's literally the galaxy.


Featured Photography Contests

“Love Story” – Photoion Google+ Photography Competition (London)

Deadline: 2/28/2015

Subject Matter: Love story.

#EachDayISee WorldBank Instagram Contest

Deadline: 2/13/2015

Subject Matter: Everyone wants to change something about the world to improve it. Take a picture of your inspiration and submit.

2nd Annual "Kiss Me I'm Rescued" photo contest

Deadline: 2/14/2015

Subject Matter: Rescue pets being cute. Just entering shows support; please do it.

The 2015 NPRB Photo Contest Goes off the Deep End

Deadline: 2/28/2015

Subject Matter: Images of underwater sea life and marine research within the waters of the North Pacific Ocean including the Gulf of Alaska, Prince William Sound, Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands, Bering Strait or Chukchi/Beaufort Seas.


Bonus: Cause it's educational...

2015 Photo Contest Jury Interview from World Press Photo

Takeaway: When you’re entering a contest, do some research on the trends of the subject matter. Find a new angle, a different process, or just a slightly different moment. If you can capture a story that’s just a little bit different, you’ll move exponentially closer to being the signal instead of the noise. Bonus takeaway: The sports guy and the nature guy are the two most insightful interviews, but the woman from Vogue had some really intriguing ideas.

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  1. DSLR vs Mirrorless Cameras - Digital Druthers - February 22, 2015

    […] on this subject, but I’m not comfortable recommending mirrorless for night photography, as discussed previously. However, as sensors are getting so much better in these things, low light performance […]

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