In 2005, Zhang Qian Li won an award from the U.S. magazine National Geographic, for a piece of his travel photography work. He has always placed travel and photography hand-in-hand, and has diverse experience in travel photography. He has been to Europe numerous times, and has taken many photo shoots in Southeast Asia. He has toured the likes of Spain, France, Germany, Austria, Italy, Greece, the Czech Republic, and Nepal
On a silent night I opened the window. The heavens were filled with stars. I was gradually able to see the Milky Way with surprising clarity! I quickly grabbed my equipment: full-frame camera, ultra-wide-angle lens, tripod, cable release, headlights, spare battery, and left in a rush. I then drove to a suitable spot to take pictures.
Any ground lighting will create light pollution. This includes even the weakest of lights. They can easily ruin any long exposure work involving starry skies, and so I needed to find somewhere with no lighting. Fortunately, I had been thinking about this before, and had spotted a great location during the day. It was by the lakeside, with no houses or streetlights. I left the town and headed straight there.
Facing the Milky Way, I found a row of pines that would work nicely as a foreground. However, it was a struggle to distinguish subjects in the pitch dark through the viewfinder. I made my car headlights as bright as possible, and aimed them towards the pines. They could only be faintly seen through the viewfinder screen, but I could get an idea of their position. After finding a good spot, I set up the tripod and made sure it was stable. I then used the camera’s electronic level to adjust the level of the screen. Having installed a programmable cable release, a fine manual focus, and tightened all of the adjustable apparatus, I was finally able to begin shooting. There was only one problem – it would have been better if the lens was a little bit wider, then I could taken more of the Milky Way.
Both the operations and parameters of shooting starry skies are similar to that of shooting the aurora. For the aurora, you need to use the aurora’s brightness level to make necessary amendments, and that’s all. One thing to bear in mind is that shooting the aurora mostly involves working in the cold and at night, so make sure you bring enough batteries and a warm sweater!
Guest blogger: Zhang Qian Li, www.visionending.com
Sina Weibo: http://blog.sina.com.cn/me2foto