“My God, it’s full of stars” – Astronomical Time-lapse

Portugal Astro Time-Lapse

Recently there has been a lot of interest in Vivid Towers about space, the stars and the moon. I always remembered how clearly you could see the stars from where I stayed in Portugal. I thought that whilst I was on my holidays, it would be a good opportunity to learn a new time-lapse skill. Having never done an astro time-lapse before was a bit daunting. The Portuguese weather offered me numerous clear skies to perfect my skills to produce this video.

Photographic Equipment

As I was travelling with my family, I wanted to pack the minimum amount of equipment needed. So the only camera equipment that I took was a 6D. This was packed with a Tamron 11-16mm f/2.8, a Canon 28-105mm f/4L lenses, a camera remote controller and a basic (cheap) light-weight tripod. I started a few nights into my holiday capturing the sky above. My first problem was having to navigate with a camera and tripod up a very steep slope. This turned out tricky climb onto the roof of the villa.

Focus & Exposure

I have a lot of experience in commercial time-lapse projects but this was my first ever astro time-lapse and I was learning as I went. My first major obstacle was trying to get the correct focus for the stars. The method I used was to:

  1. use live feed
  2. focus on the largest stars
  3. take a picture
  4. check picture
  5. repeat process until happy.

I would then have to play around with length of exposure and this is where some more time was needed. It was also where I noticed the level of light pollution that was apparent, as my early attempts looked like I was shooting during the day.

The Time-lapse Shoot

As I was capturing mainly one complete video a night, I had to to really think about what would be the best composition, this was slightly hampered by lack of knowledge of the night sky. I had sole access to the roof and this allowed me to leave the camera capturing for most of the night, sometimes ending up with a warm camera, if I did not wake up early enough.

One of the aspects I enjoyed the most about this astro time-lapse, was the anticipation of seeing what I had captured that previous night. This anticipation has been somewhat lost since the change over from SLRs (film based) to DSLRs.

Astro Time-lapse video - Moon over the sea

“My God, it is full of stars.” Astro Photography Time-lapse

I really enjoyed my time trying out a different time-lapse style and I am pleased with my output. It is really amazing to see how many stars are actually out there, especially when you zoom into the pictures. Looking over the whole video, I think my favourite shot is the Moon moving and reflecting over the sea. This project has now inspired me to produce a better astrological time-lapse, one that really captures the Milky Way in all it’s glory

If you would like to find out more about Vivid Photo Visual’s time-lapse service please visit our time-lapse page or to read more on the same subject, please check out our time-lapse blog. Alternatively please call 0161 477 2404 to speak to a member of the team.

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