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Night sky photography and the fascination with the stars

Night sky photography and the fascination with the stars

Jaw dropping pictures of the stars can bring an element of depth in any space, and with night sky photography, you can easily immerse yourself in night shots of the stars without leaving your room.

The night sky has been a source of inspiration for artists since the beginning of time. With the advent of photography, it has become easier to capture imaginative and beautiful images of the sky at night, but it takes the eye of an artist to capture the true beauty of stars moving across the sky.

Artists spend many hours under the night sky photographing the stars and transforming them into art using the filter of their imagination. As such, night sky photography exposes the wonders of the night in a variety of ways, each of them unique because of the artist’s perspective. From experiencing the peace of a moonlit lake to gazing at the spectacular Aurora Borealis, viewers get a true sense of immersion into a landscape by embracing the artist’s vision.

How do artists photograph the night sky?

Taking on a dark, star-filled night is one of the greatest and most exciting challenges as a photographer. Whether it’s showing the motion of the stars over a period of time or chasing a particularly elusive galaxy, photographers need to think carefully about the right time of night, whether, the right location and right settings for their photography gear. Waiting for a clear sky that is ready to unveil its mysteries requires patience and finding a good foreground to anchor that unique picture requires research and dedication.

Artists also need to be sure that there is as little light pollution as possible in their shooting location and they also need to think out of the box at any time. Just think about it - the night sky has been painted and photographed ad nauseam for centuries, which means that it is up to the artist to find a fresh and different perspective to avoid the pitfalls of cliché photography.

To make a night sky photograph truly phenomenal, post-editing is required much more than in the case of other subjects. For the colours in the sky to appear magical, artists play around with the split toning sliders in their photo processing software. They also bring out the best from the colours of the sky by fiddling with the hue and temperature sliders. It takes a lot of work to transform a shot of the sky into a photographic work of art.

The Lure of the Milky Way

The Milky Way is one of the most popular photographic themes for night sky photographers. This rather elusive galaxy looks stunning in the summer in the northern hemisphere, but it can also be incredibly stunning in winter as well, provided the artists can find the perfect lightning and location to shoot it in all its glory. Milky Way photographs are the result of long sessions of shooting in various weather and light conditions to obtain the shot that no one else had. A quick look at the Milky Way night sky photographs on Artfinder showcases the lengths to which artists need to go to obtain a fabulous shot.

The magic of star trails

Star trails are some of the most iconic night-sky images out there, but they are also some of the most difficult to create. It takes a series of 30-second exposures and hours spent in post production to obtain a star trails photo. Some photographers prefer to go out on a night shoot with two cameras, one for shooting frames for a trail star and another one placed on a tripod to capture the Milky Way shot nearby. No matter the technique used, star trails photos are exquisite works of art that bring the magic of the universe into a living space.

Avoid the bugs and go stargazing in your own home with some of our top photographers and their mesmerizing night sky landscapes.

Cover image via Charles Brabin

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