Beginner’s Astrophotography Part 2

In this episode we continue with a beginner’s guide to AstroPhotography. We talked about gear and apps and other setup items in the last episode. This episode continues with more shooting and planning techniques.

This is Latitude Photography Podcast, Episode 80 for May 13, 2020

Links Mentioned in today’s show:

Find Tom’s work here:

Check out Kirk’s work here:

Darksite finder:

Palouse Shoot-n-Print Photography and Printing Workshop

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We’re going to continue the conversation we started last time so you can get ready for shooting the stars. In this episode we’ll talk specific camera settings and a whole lot more, it’s just so jam packed with good information.

But I’ve got a few announcements to get out there and the first is all about my shoot-n-print workshop that’s happening this summer. It’s in the Palouse region which is simply an amazing agricultural landscape filled with rolling hills of mostly wheat. 

It’s now happening over labor day weekend. Please visit the website, the show notes has all the links and this one is the fourth link down, and you can see about all the changes there. We’ll get to maybe shoot some harvest activities as well as all the printing and sunrise shooting we’ll do. I’ve moved the venue and am limiting it to 5 participants. I hope you’ll consider joining us for this exciting time shooting in one of the most awesome agricultural regions this nation has to offer, and of course, the main purpose which is learning all the post-processing and print techniques required to get awesome gallery-quality prints from your photos.

Thank you to those who are leaving comments and reviews in Apple Podcasts. Like RbrtR who recently said, “An enjoyable podcast that often touches on some unexpected areas for a Landscape and Travel Photography program. Yes, there is a fair amount of discussion on potential shooting destinations and travel tips. And there is the expected content related to the technical and artistic sides of photography. But the host often invites guests who bring a broader context to the program. Conversations about creativity, motivation and the creative process would be interesting to a wide variety of artists and creatives. Occasional discussion of the business side of landscape and travel photography make this a pretty well rounded program. Brent, the host, is a university professor, and so his “educational instincts” are never far away. As a result, his content, and his presentation, are thoughtful and calculated.” 

Very nice, thank you so much for these kind words. I’m so glad you’re finding value in the show and that you like the mix of material covered here. As I look forward in the calendar of upcoming shows we’ll have a discussion about various locations to shoot on the southern edge of Vancouver Island and we have another conversation with a “newbie” regarding something I call compositional awareness. It’s all about assessing a scene and helping those who are more on the beginning side of the photography journey to explore more and to think about assessing the scene before you.

We also have an interest in doing a show on infrared photography too. And one other show we want to do soon is a Q&A. So if you have questions about something related to travel and outdoor photography please drop me at line or as it in the facebook group and we’ll get it covered on a future episode.

And one last thing, did you know that Google has finally released their own podcast app? It’s available for android and iOS. Just another location where you can enjoy the show if you’d like to listen there.

OK, now on to the conversation with Tom and Kirk and we’re just going to pick right up where we left off from episode 79.

Main Topic: Astro Photography

When to go out and shoot 

  1. Milky Way Season
  2. Milky Way angle in sky for composition (early in season, it is more horizontal, later it is vertical, etc.) 
  3. Astronomical Dusk/Dawn – Civil/Nautical/Astronomical Twilight, Blue Hour, Dark Night
  4. Moon cycles
  5. Clear skies – but clouds are not always your enemy.

Deciding on where to shoot

  1. Plan Your Shoot
  2. Dark skies – shoot away from areas of light pollution if you can’t get to truly dark skies, like out over the ocean.
  3. Foreground elements – composition, composition, composition
  4. Other environmental considerations – humidity, dew, wind, 
  5. Bring a friend, let someone know where you’re going and when you’ll return.
  6. Practice, Practice, Practice – learn your gear before you’re in the dark.

Setting up and getting the shot

  1. Arrive early
    1. Warm Clothes, Bring Layers.
  2. Take Care in setting up your tripod.
    1. Aperture
    2. Shutter
    3. ISO
    4. White Balance
  3. Camera settings
    1. I have a guideline on steps for focusing – Kirk
  4. Focusing – perhaps the hardest aspect – 

We’ll leave post processing for part 2 with Ariel Estulin

Tips of the Week.

Kirk: Memory cards – don’t leave home without one! It seems like such a simple thing to remember, but I hear so many stories about people finding a great shot, only to find they forgot to put a card in their camera. We have a new series at we call Tuesday Tips- this week, our staff writer Stanley Harper has several tips so you’ll never be without a memory card for your camera. 

Tom: Take about 5-8 photos for each composition with the Milky Way in quick succession and use star stacking to reduce noise. This process is involved and beyond the scope of this episode, but it will probably be covered in the post-processing episode, or there are plenty of YouTube videos about how to do it.


  1. Find us on the web at
  2. Find me on facebook at
  3. Find the podcast facebook group at
  4. Find me on instagram @brentbergherm
  5. Find me on YouTube at
  6. Find me online at
  7. And finally, my online learning platform for photographers is found at
  8. Find Kirk Keyes here: 
  9. Find Tom Wagner here: & @tomwagnerphotography (Instagram)