You should see the stars tonight... they shimmer shine so bright. That was an old Jesus camp song that I still love, even though I have not been to church in over 10 years and I am no longer religious.

Finally coming out of the COVID wreck. I went down to the Oregon coast last weekend on one of my regular weekend surf getaways. I go down and meet one of my old college friends. We surfed, cooked on the beach, and car camped. This past weekend was also the Perseid meteor shower! We laid out under the stars just on a pullout off the 101 and watched the stars. There were some fat meteors and the stars were incredible. I am a firm "look at the sky" person, for sunsets, the clouds, the moon, the stars. I brought my camera but was struggling to capture the photos I wanted.

As much of my entire everything journey has been, and photography has not been an exception, most of what I do in life is "fuck around and find out". I have never taken a formal photography course, I just play around and will do my own Googling. When I came home I got online and found some more tips and tricks on how to better capture the stars.

Last night I drove out to Rainier to beat the heat and try again for the new moon.. and I am much happier with my results :)

Here's what I learned/what helped my photos:

  1. Longer exposure. I think when I had shot before I was closer to cities and had shorter exposure times bc there was more light pollution. My OR photos were too underexposed and trying to edit them in post led to having too much noise. According to Google/online photographers, you should use the "500 rule". Divide 500 by your focal length to get the exposure time - long enough to see the stars, but short enough to not get a "tail".
  2. Lower f stop. I was using my 24-70mm lens, at 24mm. I went down to the lowest f stop I could, which is f4.0
  3. Use the 2 second timer delay. Before I was just clicking the shutter, and even with the tripod I was getting some shake/blur. So last night I used the touch screen shutter release and used the 2 second timer delay so that it started taking the picture after I let go. Which I did find helped.

These all seem like really dumb or obvious tricks, but I hadn't thought of them when I was just messing around.

So here's what I got :) I can't figure out what edits I prefer. If I like the more black or blue finish.

These shots were a mix of 24mm, 15-25s exposure, f4.0, and ISO 2500-4000. They are all single exposure Milky Way shots, I am not fancy enough for any stacked, tracked or blended pics.

OR coast

This isn't a "fail".. I just wasn't happy with it.


After making those adjustments... much happier with these