Category Archives: photography

4 tips to improve your Astrophotography

Introduction

astrophotography improve panorama sony a7 natural night didymium filter stacking exposure tracker guided guiding
Sony A7s | Voigtlander 35mm 1.7 + 5m PCX OptoSigma + NiSi Natural Night filter | panorama from 5 shots

The shot above can be found in higher resolution here.

With the increased High ISO capabilities of even entry level cameras astrophotography has become available to almost anyone. But if you want your files to show low noise and high dynamic range – or you want to print big – it might be worthwhile using some of the techniques I am going to show you in this article.

Continue reading 4 tips to improve your Astrophotography

Making of series part 3: “Milky Valley” with Voigtlander 1.7/35

milky way astro astrophotography twan dark night stars milchstraße valley dolomites italy sony a7s voigtlander 35mm 1,7 asph ultron
Sony A7s | Voigtlander VM 35mm 1.7 Ultron + 5m PCX filter | f/1.7 | higher resolution

For decent Milky Way shots you need really good conditions – which don’t come often – and a good location. Regarding the latter I decided to go for the Dolomites in Italy, so I followed the weather forecast for quite some time and one weekend the conditions were finally said to be what I needed, so I decided to go there and challenge my luck…

In the Bag

As I wasn’t bound by airline carry on restrictions this time I brought a little more gear than usual. For astrophotography I carried my trustworthy Mindshiftgear rotation 180 panorama* backpack. In the belt comparment I was carrying my A7s, Zeiss Loxia 21mm 2.8, Voigtlander VM 35mm 1.7 + 5m filter and my Samyang 14mm 2.8. I also carried a very sturdy Gitzo Series 4 tripod and of course a remote trigger.

Continue reading Making of series part 3: “Milky Valley” with Voigtlander 1.7/35

What I learned from shooting nothing but a $25 lens on my a7II for a month

When I decided to use only my 45-years-old Minolta MC 1.7/55 in February I had only one basic idea: I wanted to get out of my comfort zone because I know that I improve my skills much faster in anything if I can’t rely on my routines. And I guess I was also curious how I would fare without all the fancy gear I normally use.

My lens cabinet with most but not all my lenses. I think I can safely say that I am a gear head.

During the project I tried to take pictures everyday and I also created additional challenges for myself: One day I only allowed myself to take 5 pictures and on another I had to photograph in conditions I had little experience in.

1. It was much easier than I anticipated

Continue reading What I learned from shooting nothing but a $25 lens on my a7II for a month

Best lenses for Sunstars

sunstar sun sunburst blendenstern diaphragm stroke 10 7 8 14 18
Zeiss Loxia 21mm 2.8 | f/11 | 10 straight blades

The shape and appearance of sunstars is very important for landscape and architecture photographers. For some of them, they are even a defining element in their photos. Sunstars can appear around strong point light sources under certain circumstances, in this article I will talk about how to get them and how certain lenses (being more specific: number and shape of aperture blades) can influence their rendering.

Sample Images

sunstar sun sunburst blendenstern diaphragm stroke 10 7 8 14 18
Zeiss Loxia 21mm 2.8 | f/5.6 | 10 straight blades
sunstar sun sunburst blendenstern diaphragm stroke 10 7 8 14 18
Zeiss Loxia 35mm 2.0 | f/11 | 10 straight blades
sunstar sun sunburst blendenstern diaphragm stroke 10 7 8 14 18
Zeiss ZM 35mm 1.4 Distagon | f/11 | 10 straight blades

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Project: $1500 camera with just one $25 lens for one month – updated

I am a gear head. How do I know? Because I own about a dozen normal lenses.

Usually I enjoy the choice I have but I was asking myself what would happen if I had no choice and could use only one lens for a whole month?  There is only one way to find out and so I decided that I would limit myself to the Minolta MC Rokkor 1:1.7 55mm which is 45-years-old and cost me $25.

When I started the project I was curious how it would affect my photography. I have always progressed the fastest when I was outside of my comfort zone and I expected that this project would give me many experiences outside my comfort zone.

In this post I will recapitulate my experience so far.

Day 1: Black and White

On day one I decided that the lens alone wouldn’t push me outside of my comfort zone enough so I decided to give myself additional challenges each day which would make the project more interesting.

For day one this was photographing in black and white only because color is usually essential for my pictures. I think it worked quite well as did using 55mm for zoo images.

Day 2: Unknown territory

Continue reading Project: $1500 camera with just one $25 lens for one month – updated