Intro by Chamira Young
Whether you're a wedding photographer or a wildlife photographer (or anything in between), it's important to get out of your comfort zone once and a while. Not only does it keep you on your creative toes, but the additional skills you learn from experimental projects may actually come in handy when you're out shooting your main subject matter later. Or, it may simply continue to keep your passion for the craft fresh and fun! In any case, it's worth exploring something difference and a while.
That brings us to today's featured photographer, Frank Kuszaj. A professional real-estate photographer by day, he's a passionate astrophotographer by night. Using his Sony mirrorless camera with the Tamron 70-180mm F/2.8 Di III VXD telephoto lens, he takes amazing captures of the night sky that will take your breath away!
Check out the post below, and take note of the practical tips he gives to those who want to try their own hand at astrophotography. We love that Tamron is making some of the finest optics in photography, while at the same time providing fun, educational content that is second to none!
How to Shoot: Astrophotography
Frank Kuszaj uses the Tamron 70-180mm F/2.8 Di III VXD telephoto lens on his Sony mirrorless camera to capture the deep-space beauty of galaxies, nebulas, and star clusters.
By Jenn Gidman
Images by Frank Kuszaj
During the day, Frank Kuszaj is a professional real-estate photographer. When the sun goes down, however, he looks up toward the sky and into space. “I’ve always loved the stars,” the Missouri photographer, who’s been specializing in night sky photos for about a decade, says. “I remember in 1997, when the Hale-Bopp comet was visible to the naked eye from Earth—I was fascinated.”
Frank has been shooting of late with his Sony mirrorless camera with the Tamron 70-180mm F/2.8 Di III VXD telephoto lens. “First, I like that this lens isn’t too heavy, so it’s easy to carry with me out to the remote areas where I’m shooting,” he says. “Its focal-length range is also handy for astrophotography. I can go somewhat wide at 70mm, but then zoom in to 180mm when I’m doing my deep-sky photos. Plus, when I shoot in crop mode, that 180mm effectively becomes 270mm with the 1.5x crop factor on my Sony’s sensor.”
For those who want to try their own hand at astrophotography, Frank suggests first using a star finder app like Star Walk or Stellarium to help you pinpoint where the Milky Way and other celestial objects will be in the sky and at what time. Checking the weather in advance is also crucial, as clouds that roll in right as you’re about to start shooting can ruin the whole night.
Looking for a place with as little light pollution as possible is also key, perhaps with the help of a dark-sky map. Frank lives in Eureka, a suburb of St. Louis, and he usually heads to a town called Cook Station, about a 2.5-hour drive from home, for his night sky photos. “There’s something called the Bortle Scale, which measures how much light pollution is in different areas, and Cook Station is about a 3 out of 9 (with 9 being the most light pollution, like what you’d find in the middle of a city),” he says. “It’s one of the darkest places in Missouri.”
Once you’re there and ready to shoot, turn off the image stabilization on your camera. Make sure you have a sturdy tripod, as well as a remote camera release or intervalometer. “You don’t want to be touching your camera, to avoid shake,” he says. “I usually have my camera on an intervalometer so it takes the photos automatically. I also have a star tracker, which slowly moves in unison with the rotation of the Earth, so you can take a much longer exposure than you’d normally be able to. A star tracker is especially important when you’re shooting two-, three-, or four-minute-long exposures of galaxies while doing deep-sky photography.”
Read the rest of the post here.
Check out "Why?" one of the most popular features on the SCU Blog. It's a very simple concept - one image, one artist and one short sound bite. Each artist shares what makes the image one of their most favorite. We're over 100 artists featured since the project started. Click on the link above and you can scroll through all of the episodes to date.