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#CreatorConversations: Best Lenses For Astro, Scouting Locations & More From Our AMA With Rachel Jones Ross

#CreatorConversations is an AMA (Ask Me Anything) series hosted by @sonyalpha on Instagram. As part of the series, we were joined by landscape and astroscape photographer Rachel Jones Ross (@rachel_jones_ross). 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 have come together as a global community, and every day we create something out of the adversity we face. To me, that is art...” – Rachel Jones Ross #CreatorConversations

“How do you scout out these great locations? What's your process like once you're in place? Post-processing?” – @sostark

Rachel: “Great questions! Scouting is half exploring and half research online. When I’m on location I really take my time hunting compositions before I commit to setting up my tripod. And I think about how to capture each element of the scene at its best. That could mean focus stacking or exposure blending. But ultimately I think about how to edit it all together while I’m on location.”

“What are some of your most-used lenses?” – @lukes_images

Rachel: “My favorite lens is definitely the Sony 12-24mm f/4 G. But my favorite lenses change depending on where I am. If I’m traveling I lean toward mid-range lenses like the Sony 24-105 f/4 G.”

“What is your go-to lens for night photography? Suggestions on a ‘budget’ option?” – @brady426

Rachel: “I love the primes. I think the Sony 24mm f/1.4 G Master is the sharpest lens I own. But the new 20mm f/1.8 G is also pretty spectacular at a good price.”

“It takes courage to put your work, your creation, your story out there. What are your tips on shooting in high contrast conditions like in photo 5? Would you recommend using any filters (e.g. ND) for these kinds of shots?” – @themindfulnomad_

Rachel: “I couldn’t agree more! Shots like this are tricky because there is so much disparity between the highlights at the opening, and the darks where the light doesn’t hit. I took separate exposures for each part of the cave without moving my tripod, then blended them together in PS. You have a good eye; your work is lovely! I tried using an ND but ultimately it made the dark corners even harder to photograph. I have shots that are perfectly exposed at the cave opening, but I drew the eye outside so I left it as my eye saw it, with light flooding in through the opening.”

“I have a Sony α7 III...are there any neat tricks to capture awesome pictures of stars?” – @rob_rowe_

Rachel: “The new Sony 20mm f/1.8 G is a great lens, and a really reasonable price. It’s also really lightweight if you do much hiking! I highly recommend PhotoPills as a tool for Astro photographers. It makes planning shoots and finding exposure times an absolute breeze! Oh, and setting up bright monitoring on your Sony! It’s a special feature that’s like having night vision on your camera! It has to be assigned to a custom button. You can find a composition in the dark so quickly! It’s a game changer for night shooting!”

See the full AMA here.


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