This is astrophotography week at Alpha Universe. Every day we're featuring content about getting out and making images after the sun goes down including the highlights from this #CreatorConversations AMA (Ask Me Anything) with astro-photographer Andrew Eggers (@andreweggers) of the Sony Alpha Imaging Collective. Andrew shares his passion and techniques for blending terrestrial long exposure techniques with the Milkt Way. Visit the Instagram post for the full AMA and make sure you’re following @sonyalpha and #CreatorConversations to stay connected.
“After a quick Google search with something like, ‘How do you get light trails in a photo?’, the words 'long exposure' entered my world and I've been fixated ever since.” – Andrew Eggers #CreatorConversations
“Is it possible to do Milky Way photography with the Sony α6100?” – @renaud_from_statefarm
Andrew: “Absolutely possible and you’d want a wider lens – something around 16-24mm to get started. You can always use 35 or 50 but it will be more compressed. Always shoot with the lowest aperture the lens allows. The wider the lens, the longer you can shoot without the stars moving. For example I usually shoot 20-25 second at 16 mm and 15-20 sec at 24mm. Oh and you’d want to adjust for the fact your on a crop sensor, those numbers I have are for full frame settings!”
"I’ve always wanted to try long exposure photography like this, do you have any pointers and tips you could help me with?" – @fentenny
Andrew: “Sure! First, a tripod is a must and using a two-second delay on the shutter is also. I always focus my shot first, then switch to manual focus before snapping the photo. Those are basics. To get started, I suggest finding a safe freeway overpass and shooting the light trails of cars at blue hour or at night obviously. Practice shooting for shots within 10-20 seconds and adjust your shots so that you underexpose just a touch. There are some great articles with additional info on AlphaUniverse.com by myself and others on long exposure that are helpful.”
“I want to do light trails during the day. Any advice?” – @erek.raw
Andrew:” You need to have at least a 10-stop ND filter which isn’t too expensive for a decent one. Then try and find a day with good cloud movement in my opinion – trails are possible but harder to get the harsher the light.
"Can you briefly walk us through how you took the first picture? Lens, settings, etc.?" –@joe.kavanaugh
Andrew: "I took the first photo with the α7 III and Sony 24-70mm GM at 24mm, 2.5 seconds f/13 and ISO 50, 6-stop ND filter and underexposed about a stop or so if I remember correctly. It’s a fast moving train (no stop) so a quick shutter did the trick but I asked somebody there how fast the train would go by in advance."
"How was your start in photography?" – @rey_azul_celeste
Andrew: “Thanks for asking! It is essentially the caption of this photo series, where I noticed light trails on IG and a close friend let me borrow his Sony NEX-5N. From there just a lot of practice.”
"How long are you typically exposing shots at night vs daytime?" – @hnguyen
Andrew: “I know it’s a generic answer, but depends on the subject and what I’m going for. I like long trails in certain shots to highlight the other lines in the photo at times, or shorter trails to try and show the viewer what the subject is I.e. bus, trolley, etc. with a more subtle blur. And I’m assuming you’re shooting daytime LE with an ND filter... in that case you may for example take a 30-second or longer photo to show the cloud movement in the sky... or maybe a one-second exposure if you’re at the beach and want to highlight the waves breaking as your main subject.”
“What kind of camera do you usually use?” – @jtc_photography_
Andrew: “Usually the α7 III but I also have the α7 II and used it religiously for a long time.”
"How do I get started in Photography and how do I make such amazing light trail photos?" – @j_p_steve
Andrew: “You don’t need an expensive camera, so I would personally start with an RX100 or something like an α6000 and get a decent tripod, nothing more than 100 bucks to get started. I’d watch basic photography tutorials on YouTube and then get into long exposure tutorials once you learn the camera settings.”
"How do you get crisp clear shots for astro?" – @johnny.flowers
Andrew: “It comes down to having a sturdy tripod, using a two-second timer and most importantly getting the stars in focus, which manually can take several tries to get right before taking the shot in manual focus. I prefer using the red color in my focus peaking. It can definitely be hard to get the stars in focus and practice makes perfect.”
"What are some musts when shooting long exposure photography?" – @pietros_photography
Andrew: “A tripod for sure and the lens is all about preference, but I prefer a wider lens most of the time. ND filters for shooting at sunset/sunrise of daytime LE’s. I’ll have a new article on my kit coming out next week on alphauniverse.com actually and my old one is already there now. But those are the essentials!”