Tips from Nikon Creators to capture Earth Day 2023

    Earth Day is just around the corner on April 22nd, 2023. This event provides a great opportunity to remember how amazing Planet Earth really is, providing a platform for us to live our lives. Its also a time to remember our responsibility to look after the planet and make the right decisions throughout the year to make our presence here more sustainable.

    Earth Day began back in 1970 and is celebrated by people around the world, many contributing their time and energy to planting trees, cleaning up waste, exploring outside and shutting off all lights in homes.

    Even the slightest contribution can spark conversations about inspiring positive change! Nikon has put together a list of Australian Creators, complete with 7 great tips from Will Eades to help aspiring photographers capture the day in style.

    Will Eades

    An Australian Nikon Creator who is an award-winning storm and nature photographer and creative, has shared his top tips to capturing the perfect shot of the starry sky in celebration of Earth Day, to ensure Aussies don’t miss out on this opportunity.

    Find his tips here, and assets here. The tips can be used for a piece on Australia’s Natural Wonders After Dark where readers can take a broader look at the beauty of Australia’s natural landscapes after dark with the focus on the stars. 

    Aaron Molenkamp

    An Australian Nikon Creator who is a professional macro photographer, has shared his top tips to capture the perfect macro shot – including advice on lighting, composition and camera settings as well as how he overcame the initial challenges of macro photography.

    Another angle could be about the preservation of insects through photography as a way to highlight the importance of insects to the health of our ecosystem.

    Jake Wilton

    An Australian Nikon Creator who is an award-winning nature, ocean, and travel photographer, has shared his top tips on “Sustainable Tourism” on how to travel the world sustainably.

    Jake understands the importance of responsible tourism and his tips suggest ways individuals can reduce their impact on the environment while still enjoying all that the planet has to offer! Another angle could be about how photography helps to raise awareness of environmental issues and inspires people to take action.

    Marissa Knight

    An Australian Nikon Creator who is a passionate landscape photographer, has shared her tips on capturing the perfect image during golden hour by utilising the most powerful time of the day for natural light.

    Marissa can also speak to the power of shadows, and why shadows are an important element in natural light photography – adding depth, dimension and drama to images.

    Top tips for capturing the perfect shot of the starry sky in celebration of Earth Hour

    1. Scout good foreground elements.
      This could be anything from mountains, a lake, a local monument, or your own house. This is simple with apps like ’Sky Guide’ to help you plan your composition. I also use ‘Windy’ to predict how clear the night will be. Take advantage of the dark skies during Earth Hour and shoot some of your favourite landmarks with the stars above. 
    2. Focus on your equipment set-up.
      When setting up, you want to mount your camera on a sturdy tripod, obtain focus and then turn autofocus off before you begin shooting. A tip for obtaining focus is to use the autofocus ability in your camera to lock onto a bright star, like Sirius or Canopus, then turn off autofocus before taking your shot.
    3. Use a fast lens.
      For best results in making those stars stand out even more, use a fast lens with a low f-stop – f/2.8 and f/1.8 give amazing results for astrophotography with their superior light-gathering abilities. Stopping down on an f/1.8 lens to f/2.0, or f/2.2 will reduce vignetting.
    4. Get creative with lenses and try different focal lengths.
      Shooting with an ultra-wide lens will capture more of the sky and show good details of the Milky Way. I use the NIKKOR Z 14-24mm f/2.8 S and the NIKKOR Z 20mm f/1.8 S for the majority of my Milky Way images. I’m also excited to try the new NIKKOR Z 26mm 2.8 pancake for astrophotography too – I think it will surprise a lot of people with its versatility. To get in closer with some more detail, try shooting with a fast 50mm like the Z 50mm f/1.8 S lens, or the Z 50mm f/1.2S.  
    5. Shutter speed matters.
      With exposure settings, a shutter speed of 20 seconds or more is preferred to really pull out the light and colours of the night sky. Anything longer and you may start to see star trails as the earth rotates on its axis. ISO should be high to capture the faint light of the stars. I would recommend ISO4000 or higher on a standard tripod set up, and ISO800 – ISO1600 on a star tracker mount.
    6. Hunt for features of the night sky that might usually be obscured by light pollution.
      This could be the core of the Milky Way, or something harder to find, like the Zodiacal Light, a faint glowing beam of diffuse sunlight scattered by interplanetary dust. Apps like Sky Guide will show you where to look for these targets.
    7. Try your luck at M42 – the Orion Nebula.
      This beautiful region of the night sky is perfect for a telephoto lens 300mm – 600mm. At this focal length, you’ll have to drop your shutter speed much lower to avoid star trails. Try 3-6 seconds and boost your ISO sky-high to see what is hidden. Taking multiple images of the Orion Nebula and stacking them with post-processing software will also bring out much more colours and details.
    Jason Cartwright
    Jason Cartwright
    Creator of techAU, Jason has spent the dozen+ years covering technology in Australia and around the world. Bringing a background in multimedia and passion for technology to the job, Cartwright delivers detailed product reviews, event coverage and industry news on a daily basis. Disclaimer: Tesla Shareholder from 20/01/2021

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