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Rachel Jones Ross Shares Her Tips For Shooting Wide-Angle Astro-Landscapes

Rachel Jones Ross (@rachel_jones_ross) of the Alpha Collective is known for her stunning astro-landscape photography, and she’s become an avid teacher on the topic through her workshops. During #BeAlpha Live Online she led a workshop on wide-angle shooting for astro landscapes and now you can catch it all in the replay video. “I’m an astro-landscape photographer and that means I’m always looking at the landscape. I’m looking at those details that help to draw the eye into the frame and make a person wish that they could go and see or photograph that space. And the night sky, whether it's the aurora or moonlight or the Milky Way, that's just the feeling that I get to capture and it's part of the landscape.” Watch below as she discusses how she shoots night photography and why she likes to use the Sony Alpha 7S III camera with a combination of the Sony 14mm f/1.8 G Master and Sony 12-24mm f/2.8 G Master lenses.

Landscape and astrophotographer Rachel Jones Ross of the Alpha Collective talks more about night photography and the gear she uses to create her stunning astro-landscapes. 

Ross explains what night photography means to her, and how it encompasses far more than what many people may normally think. “Typically when people think about night photography, they automatically think about the Milky Way,” she explains. “ And I do love Milky Way shooting, it is absolutely one of my very favorite times of the night. But I think about night photography as so much more. Night photography is anything that we’re going to do in low light under the stars, basically. And so that can be moonlight, it can be aurora shooting, it can be Milky Way. My very, very favorite kind of light is when the moon is full and low on the horizon and there are enough clouds that they reflect the moonlight during astronomical twilight.”

She’s fascinated by night photography because of how it changes all the time and how the light changes all the time. She says there are really beautiful things out there to capture and having the right gear to do so is going to make all the difference in the world. She chooses the Alpha 7S III camera, which she calls a low light monster. “What makes this camera really, really special is that with that low resolution, each pixel on the same size sensor – so this camera has the same size sensor as my Alpha 1 – each pixel is larger and can gather more light.” 

Ross says it’s difficult for her to say exactly when you should use the 12-24mm f/1.8 G Master and when you should switch to the 14mm f/1.8 G Master, but she explains when she would do it as a guideline. “The 12-24mm f/2.8 G Master is a super versatile lens just because of the zoom range on it. And it is very, very sharp. That little bit of elongation that I get in the corners, nobody’s ever going to really see that when I’m posting my photos online or if I’m using them as part of a timelapse. When we timelapse the motion of the stars moving by makes them look more like what we would expect them to look like so it kind of obscures that little bit of elongation.”

She continues, “The 14mm is going to be faster. It’s going to be better for things like aurora shooting. It’s going to be better if I know I just want to be wide and fast. And it’s definitely going to be better if I’m hiking. I do a lot of hiking and although I like the versatility of the 12-24mm, it is a heavier lens where this one is very small.”

Visit the Sony Alpha YouTube Channel for more #BeAlpha Live Online Replays. 


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