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  • Andrew JK Tan

Photography Tips - Photography at Bromo National Park with my Nikon D850

Happy Labour Day holiday !!

Some free time today enabled me to catch up on my blogging. This blog will focus on sharing the techniques and knowledge that I used while I was in Bromo National Park between 12th -15th April 2018 to photograph the wonderful scenery , lifestyle and night sky.

Acquiring the knowledge & capabilities mentioned below should provide the photographer with a higher chance of success in capturing the desired scenes. Read On ...........


Bracketing is an important technique that I use quite often when I am faced with backlighting , very high dynamic range daylight scenes & scenes with fluctuating lighting.

Bracketing helps me :

1. Get my optimum exposure

2. Figure out my optimum exposure in the fastest possible manner

Normally I will be do a 2 shot bracket 2 stops apart except for high dynamic range scenes where I may execute 3 shots bracket 2 stops apart using the fastest burst mode of my DSLR.

< 15 seconds rule for Milkyway captures

I used to use the 600 rule which is tighter than the classic 500 Rule when photographing a good quality MilkyWay i.e. one that is bright with relatively clear skies and can be seen by the naked eye. With the introduction of the ultra high resolution sensors in DSLRs , there is now a new rule known as the NPF Rule which takes into account the resolution of the sensor in addition to the focal length used.

So to get what we call Spot stars when using a greater than 36MP resolution DSLR , use no more than 15 seconds exposure time to capture the milkyway for 16mm focal length lenses and wider. ISO settings at 3200 and aperture at f2.8 (default)

If you are using a 24MP resolution DSLR or lower then I recommend a 20 seconds exposure time guideline. Any longer will result in elongated stars captured.

Learn how to estimate the Milkyway position , rise & set time

Also be aware and know how to check the moon phase

This is key to planning for your success in capturing the MilkyWay scene that you desire. You can also capture Blue hour MilkyWay scenes when it sets during the Blue hour period prior to sunrise.

I use an applet called PhotoPills which is available for IOS and Android smartphones.

Learn how to manually adjust the KELVIN temperature of your DSLR

Another very important capability to acquire before a MilkyWay / Night Sky photography trip.

By using an appropriate KELVIN temperature, your image should have a better color balance which also maximises the details captured.

Learn how to do Light-Painting

This skill is key in helping the photographer light the foreground interest and/or main subject during a moonless night or in areas with no artifical lights.

Using a torch where the brightness and beam size can be controlled.

You also need to strategise & practice the lighting motion to minimise uneven lighting of the subjects.

Learn how to get the focus right when AF does not work

This is an important capability to acquire as Auto-Focus would normally not function in light pollution free areas. Learn how to Focus to Infinity with each of the wide angle lenses that you will bring for the trip.

Learn how to use and set an Intervalometer

Many photographers overlook this and try to learn on site which can be very frustrating and result in loss opportunities when photographing the MilkyWay or capturing the required number of shots needed to create a Star-trails image.

Learn how to use Filters (ND and GNDs)

If you are not familiar with digital blending during post production then it is even more critical that the photographer learns how to combine and use Graduated Neutral Density (GND) & Neutral Density (ND) filters of different strength. Using them correctly will help the photographer balance the exposures of the top and bottom half of the scene better.

Learn how to create panoramic scenes

Another important yet often overlooked capabilty that will help the photographer capture scenes that are better when presented in a panoramic format. This will also provide another perspective in presenting an often captured scene.

Remember to use fast enough Shutter Speeds when needed

Shutter speed can often be an overlooked requirement. Using the appropriate shutter speed will help "freeze" motion for both the subject AND the photographer's motion. With the appropriate shutter speed , images free of motion blur can be produced.

Learn to ISOLATE scenes with longer TELEPHOTO focal lengths

One of the most overlooked requirement when photographing landscapes especially wide expanse of landscapes like Bromo National Park. Using longer telephoto focal lengths (up to 400 mm focal length) allows the photographer to capture a much wider variety of scenes which can also have much more impact.

Hope you enjoyed my images from Bromo and found the tips & recommendations useful.

That's it for now , till the next blog.



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