Planning an outing

  1. Make a list a possible targets and know where and when the Milky Way will be visible with a planetarium program on your cell phone or computer.

  2. Choose a dark spot away from city lights on a moonless night. The Dark Sky Finder can help you in this regard.  

  3. Set up the camera on a sturdy tripod.  Bring "Hand Warmers" and attach one on your lens to prevent dew formation.

  4. Choose your iso setting. There is much debate about this, do your own tests.  ISO 800 is a good starting point.

  5. Focus.  Practice infinity focus during the day.  It is surprinsingly difficult to focus in the dark.  At night use live view maximum magnification on a bright star.

  6. Shoot!  The astrotracer can track for a few minutes on wide angle lenses and up to 45 to 60 seconds with short telephotos (135 - 200 mm)