5 Nikon D3100 Astrophotography Tips And Tricks For Better Photographs!

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Astrophotography is one of the most fascinating styles of photography. After taking a look at some of the jaw-dropping photos others have taken of the night’s sky it’s easy to see why any photographer would want to learn more about it. Taking shots of the sky at night isn’t a job that any type of camera can handle. If you want to start learning about astrophotography then you need a camera with the right features. The Nikon D3100 is the perfect choice to start practicing astrophotography with.

Capturing breath-taking shots of what’s up in the night’s sky is one of the most exciting moments for a photographer. Of course, it takes a lot of practice to start shooting these stunning pictures. The Nikon D3100 is equipped with the right features to help you get these shots. Today we will be talking about how this camera can help you get that perfect moonlit photo.

The Nikon D3100 can make taking pictures of things up in the sky that we can’t see with only our eyes possible. Before we start talking about how the Nikon D3100 can help you take great shots of the sky, there are a few things you should know to improve your astrophotography experience. 

Always do your research and plan ahead. Experienced photographers will tell you the best astrophotography comes from knowing the right location and time to be out. Be patient, it will take a lot of practice to get the hang of this craft. The results will be worth it though. 

Keep reading for 5 tips on making the most of this lightweight camera and getting the best shot of the night’s sky.

Limit Light Pollution

Light pollution can be one of your biggest enemies when it comes to achieving a nice astrophotography shot. This is why it’s important to do your research and plan to go to a location where light pollution is limited. If you live in a city you may need to travel outside of your location to find the perfect spot. 

The Nikon D3100 has 6 automatic exposure scene modes, one of them being Night Portrait for getting clear shots in the dark. Getting a nice clear shot in the dark is a completely different game than taking photos in the daylight. You are up for a much bigger challenge. Luckily the Night Portrait mode shows the details in a dark background letting you see things in your photo that you can’t from the ground. Without Night Portrait mode you will not be able to get the details that make astrophotography shots so extraordinary.

Remember, the darker the location the better your shot will be. Man-made light is something that will destroy the quality of your shot. It is a good idea to get to your location while there is still a bit of sunlight so you can adjust your frame and settings while you are still able to see. You don’t want to be struggling to find the right frame in the dark.

Take Advantage Of Composition

Take a look at your surroundings and see if there is anything that could complement the photograph. You can use your scenery to your advantage when taking a picture of the moonlit sky. The Nikon D3100’s precision high-speed autofocus is capable of changing scenes or composition while maintaining sharp focus so you don’t miss a thing. 

One of the most thrilling aspects of astrophotography is that you never know what is going to happen up in the sky. If you decide that you want the change angles part way through your shoot to take advantage of some of the trees in your background the auto-focus on the Nikon D3100 will still catch a clear shot of anything that happens in the sky. You’ll be able to catch every shooting star with every change in composition that you make.

For the best looking shot, it’s important that you make an attempt to include a bit of the background scenery because it frames the photograph in a way that compliments your subject. Take a look around your location and see what surroundings can fit into your frame nicely. Things such as trees, mountains, and buildings can add a complimenting detail to your shot. 

Having a camera with precision high-speed autofocus helps a photographer feel more confident in switching their viewpoints around without worrying about missing their subject. This feature allows photographers to experiment with different angles without being disappointed in the results. Don’t be afraid to try out new angles when you’re capturing your subject. The final piece could make your jaw drop.

Get Longer Exposure With Bulb Mode

What you see when you stand on the ground and look up at the night’s sky is just a preview of what you’ll actually get to see in your photos. Capturing great astrophotography photos is almost magical. The thing with astrophotography that‘s much different than portraits and other landscape photos is that you can’t just snap a photo and be on your way. You can’t exactly tell from the ground when something’s about to happen, so your shoot could be something that goes on for hours.

One feature on the Nikon D3100 that’s extremely important for you to use to make sure you don’t miss a thing in the sky is the bulb mode setting. The feature was designed so you can get the most beautiful photos of the moon and stars. 

Bulb mode is a shutter speed option that allows you to keep the camera in this mode for the length of time you choose. The Nikon D3100 will stay in this mode until you release the button. You can keep the camera in bulb mode for a couple of minutes or until your camera powers off. When it comes to astrophotography this feature will become your best friend.

One tip before you start, since your photoshoot could go on for a few hours it’s a good idea to make sure you are comfortable. Bring something to sit down on and some blankets to keep you warm. 

Keep Practicing

You won’t master anything without practice. It doesn’t matter how talented of a photographer you are in the day, astrophotography is a completely different experience. It takes different techniques to learn how to get the best looking pictures of your subject. The moon lights the sky completely differently than the sun. This means that you will have to play around with different settings in your camera. 

When getting your camera ready for a photoshoot at night you will need to change the ISO settings in your camera. The ISO is the measure of sensitivity of your camera’s ability to capture light. Astrophotography requires your camera’s ISO settings to be on the lowside, preferably starting as low as 300 or 400. Your camera’s ISO settings should never go higher than 1600.

The Nikon D3100 is an amazing camera for astrophotography when it comes to this feature. The ISO range for Nikon D3100 is between 100-3200. This means that you can focus in and get clear shots when it’s really dark. You can snap amazing shots in the pitch black and still see your subject clearly. 

This is another reason why you should arrive at your scene early. It gives you plenty of time to practice using your camera’s settings before you lose light. It might take a few tries to get used to shooting with a low ISO setting, but eventually you will get used to it and have some breath-taking pictures to show.

Are You Ready To Travel?

We mentioned earlier that if you live in a city you may have to travel to a different area to avoid light pollution. Finding your right location is actually one of the most important steps in getting the perfect photograph. This could be a good motivation for you to book a stay in a private cabin, or camping trip in the wilderness.

The best spots for setting up your photo shoot could take a little bit of hiking too. Luckily the Nikon D3100 is a compact and lightweight camera that is easy to take anywhere. If you have to take a rocky path to get where you need to be, you don’t need to be stressed about bringing your equipment along with you.

This lightweight camera is only 1.8 oz, and everything fits in the camera bag easily. It’s the best choice camera to bring along on any journey. Taking photos is easier too because of the ergonomic grip. The Nikon D3100 was designed to enhance your photography experience while being easy to take on the go. 

You never know how far you will have to hike to find the right location, so knowing that you don’t have to lug around a bunch of bulky camera equipment makes the journey more manageable. Now you can practice taking photos of the night’s sky with a lightweight camera that’s designed to help you achieve the best pictures.