Top 5 Tips for Astrophotography Adventure

  1. Safety is of utmost concern in darkness. Shooting at night can be hazardous for many reasons, especially if you are going to a dangerous location you are unfamiliar with. I recommend heavy duty flashlights and headlamps and cellphone. Also, it is always best to go out with others in case something happened.
  2. Wear appropriate weather gear. There is a very present bat population that adores the night sky as well so a hat is always a good thing to have on your head, especially when visiting the lighthouses! Sturdy shoes or boots with ankle support in case you happen to catch a root or rock when walking to a location. Hat, gloves, etc... even in the summer as it can get chilly, especially by Lake Michigan.
  3. One of the top tips I learned early on was to always check my histogram display on my camera (if available) to ensure proper exposure. The LCD screen on many of the advanced DSLR's will make the image look brighter than it is in the dark, but could be greatly underexposed and wouldn't be realized that until it is brought into the editing software which is too late.
  4. Aurora lights, to the naked eye, are much fainter in color and light than what the camera picks up. So, always try to get to the darkest place possible with minimal light pollution to view with the naked eye. I describe them as like a milky color and when your eyes adjust you will definitely see the movement. If interested in knowing when the  aurora is visible in Door County, there are countless apps but you can get personalized alerts through a reliable source called Soft Serve News softservenews.com .
  5. What could ruin a fun night in astrophotography? Well, clouds! I always check the satellite situation before heading out. Low lying clouds will interfere with auroroa borealis viewing. Clouds can be finicky, sometimes they hang around or other times they have completely moved out to reveal bright, clear skies. A good site for cloud cover is ssec.wisc.edu which provides a real-time view of the cover in the area.