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#CreatorConversations: Lenses, Software & Tips For Astrophotography From Our AMA With Stan Moniz Of The Alpha Imaging Collective

#CreatorConversations is an AMA (Ask Me Anything) series hosted by @sonyalpha on Instagram. As part of the series, we were joined by landscape, astroscape and timelapse photographer Stan Moniz (@stanmoniz). See some of the highlights below as the Alpha Collective member shares how she scouts locations, tips for astro and more. Visit the Instagram post for the full AMA and make sure you’re following @sonyalpha and #CreatorConversations to stay connected.

"We all are special in our own right and have something to share and say that might inspire another. Whether to put a smile on someone's face or to share knowledge of a new craft, I think this positive fuel is a must to remind us that we are all in this together." – Stan Moniz #CreatorConversations

“Can you recall the sensation you felt when you figured out that you were passionate about astrophotography, and how that came to happen? Any guiding tips to a fledgling hobbyist trying to find his way?” – @doallthethings_

Stan: “My love for astro photography was fueled by my mother. At a very young age she would drag me out of the house to stare up at the heavens! I didn’t like it back then but I love that she instilled that in me. I would say test out all areas of photography. You’ll find something your heart will lead you to.”

“What’s your go-to app for circumpolar stars? And, stacking software or good old Lightroom/Photoshop?” – @rafred1

Stan: “I’m a huge fan of Starry Landscape Stacker. I also use Starstax to stack for time lapse stuff.”

“What do you think of the Sony 16-35mm f/4 + Sony 70-200mm f/4 G combo as an intermediate landscape/nature setup? What would bother you the most about this setup?” – @lukasrenk

Stan: “I actually love and use the Sony 70-200mm f/4 G. It’s an extremely sharp lens and it’s lightweight – so it’s perfect for backpacking. The Sony 16-35mm f/4 is another great lens but because I shoot a lot of astro photography with wider lenses, I would prefer something much faster like a f/2.8. If you’re doing more landscape I would say go for it!”

“Do you prefer zooms or primes and what are your most used focal lengths?” – @lukes_images

Stan: “Good question! I’m a big fan of primes. My go-to is the Sony 24mm f/1.4 G Master. I’ve never seen any lens quite top that lens for the sharpest stars in the corners at such a wide aperture of 1.4. I’ve been shooting with the Sony 20mm f/1.8 G as well now. It’s a great lens no doubt.”

“Any favorite location for night shooting?” @wanderinglensphoto

Stan: “My faves are Joshua tree number 1! After that I would say Death Valley, then Borrego.”

“When shooting the night sky, how often do you hunt new locations, and what’s your technique for doing so?” – @stormchasincharlie

Stan: “I tend to usually stick in the Southern California desert region. Some of my favorite locations and darkest skies around. I’m one of those guys that will scout the entire location for a long amount of time before I head out to a new location hundreds of miles away. I believe the more you go the more you know. I would rather visit a location again and again until I feel super confident about the shots I got. The desert especially is ever changing so you can go into the same location in all four seasons and get a different effect. For scouting untraveled lands, Instagram is honestly the best tool. Especially using the recent tab! There you can find up-to-date information on a spot your looking forward to capturing.”

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