Beth Moore's picture

Stars Over Lost Dutchman

Focal Length: 50mm
Shutter Speed: 6 seconds
F-Stop: 1.2
ISO: 1600

I have never been an astrophotographer, but I've always been interested in it. This is my first try at capturing some stars in the very heavily light polluted Phoenix-metro area that I live in. At the base of the Superstition Mountains, I was able to get a decent amount of stars.

Sony A7riii
50mm · f/1.2 · 6" · ISO 1600
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Beth, pretty dang good if you ask me, those hills sure are green for Arizona lots of moisture ;-) this winter! I don’t have lots of experience with this genre and nothing with the amount of light pollution that you’re talking about. Is that what is lighting the mountainside? From what I understand if you don’t want star trail keep the shutter speed below 20 sec. Also lots of image stacking with plug-in and stand alone software assistance. I don’t know if time of night would help a far as less light pollution it might be a little less the far side of midnight??

Good luck and let’s be carful out there!

There's so much more green here than people realize, but especially by the mountains!

I think the light pollution helped light the mountains a lot, I'm in an area that's locked around city lights everywhere. We did drive a bit to get away, but you could still see really harsh pollution.

I played around with exposure times, and yeah you can really see the trails in the 20 and 30 second exposures. The 13-6 second exposures came out best for me to have a great amount of stars with very little photo doctoring. I didn't have to do any composites/stacking to get this result, but I did mask the sky and bring the exposure down alone to keep the mountains well lit.


Beth, sounds like you've got a good handle on everything all round especially for a first attempt. What are you using for software?

Raw or jpeg or maybe a new format I haven't heard of yet?

I’ve been watching a lot of videos and tutorials online, mostly Alyn Wallace (Rest in Peace 😞) and it helped my first attempt be as successful as possible! I also waited a few weeks for a new moon to get the best result.

I shoot them in RAW and process either in Lightroom or Photoshop. This one specifically was in Lightroom!

RAW is good as are Lightroom and PhotoShop. I mainly post-process with Adobe Camera Raw I'd say 80-95% then depending on the image finish it in photoshop.

I should also mention that my uncle was an Astrophotographer starting in the 80s before he passed away in the 90s. When I was younger, my dad still had a lot of his old equipment and we would take it out together and play with it not really knowing what we were doing. There are some things, like light pollution and moon phases, that I’m already used to thinking about just from learning from my dad and uncle.

Sorry about your uncle. Sound like you have fond memories though and good base of experience from him and your dad.
I'm pretty much self taught in photography with some school early experience in school's industrial arts print shop, a few master photography workshops and community college photography class primarily for darkroom access. My main classroom has been field work in the great outdoors lessons being trial and error through experimentation.

Thank you, I really am lucky to have some great assistance and encouragement from family! I also am *mostly* self taught, other than some tips with astro! I did take film photography in school, which was so cool! And the PPA certification course is pretty cool for a better look into digital. I love trial and error! I love having a problem and figuring out that to do to solve it!

Astrophotography fascinates me. I hope that one day I will be able to take such photos. Considering that this is your first astrophoto, you did very well. Congratulations
Greetings Herbert

Thank you so much, that means a lot!