When it comes to doing photography, the universe offers infinite subjects; some near while some far. Among those far away subjects are the comets, the fast-moving objects that travel through time.
They may be gigantic up close but when looked from our point of view, they are as magnificent as they get. The streak of light that fills the sky with infinite possibilities is surely a stunning subject if you are a photographer.
Moreover, comet photographer has been making it to headlines lately due to the sighting of the Neowise comet. So, this article will tell you everything about comet photography and how you can capture stunning photographs of Comets like Neowise, Hailey’s, etc.
Camera and Equipment: Everything You Should Know
While doing comet photography, you can need to make sure that you are well equipped to get rid of any barrier that might come between you and beautiful comet photography.
1. The Camera -
When it comes to capturing a comet, you will be needing to capture a long-exposure image. For such purposes, a DSLR can be handy as you can keep the shutter speed setting on ‘B’ and keep the shutter open for as long as you can. Just make sure that you have a shutter release cable so that you don’t have to hold onto the button on the camera. Also, make sure that you have a tripod to use.
2. Lens -
While doing comet photography, one shouldn’t much focus on the details as comets are filled with snow and dust so they are always surrounded by this gigantic cloud. This way, you won’t be able to capture a very clear picture so you can choose not to use a telephoto lens. But if the comet is clear then using a 300mm telephoto lens can do the job right.
You can also use a wide-angle lens. Just keep the aperture wide open to capture the light coming from the comet as part of it may get invisible due to technical barriers (which can be avoided).
3. Camera Settings -
Above all that you need to have the right camera setting. Apart from keeping the aperture wide open and shutter speed at infinite or 15 minutes, you need to take care of the ISO. You definitely don’t want a grainy or a smudgy image. So keep the ISO high around 800-1600.
If the comet is clearly visible in the night sky, you can keep you push your ISO even further.
If you do want to get a detailed shot of the comet, you can bring down the shutter speed to 1-5 seconds.
Now if you are worried about your focus then let us tell you an easy trick. Just keep the focus at infinite and it will do the job or else you can keep it at manual. Use a telephoto or a zoom lens to capture the details on the comet.
Comet Photography - Choosing the Right Location
Finding the right location to do comet photography is far easier than you would have thought. For starters, you can find information about the nearest date, timing, and location of the appearance of a comet, satellite, meteor, or a satellite. So you can keep your eye for that.
Apart from that, there are many astronomy websites where you can find related information about the comets and the right time to capture them.
Also, if you are in a city, make sure that there’s no clouds pollution filling the sky. If that’s the case, try traveling to a location that is more open and offering a clear sky.
Here are some examples of Comet Photography for Inspiration
Comet Photography is all about being prepared mentally and also in terms of equipment. Comets might be visible to us for a few seconds or minutes but a good picture can last generations.
Being a photographer doing comet photography, you must be able to capture just the right detail or a streak that can turn a regular sunset or night sky into a rare sight.