Basic Guide to Astrophotography for the Western United States
- Equipment needed
- Steps to learn how to take night sky photos
- Best places for night sky photography in the Western US
- Astrophotography groups, workshops, and guided tours
How to capture breathtaking night sky photography in the Western United States
Learning how to take night sky photos
The best places to take night sky pictures
Light Pollution maps or Dark Sky maps are a great tool for helping you find the perfect spot.
Here are a few…
There are a lot of great places in the Western U.S. Just look at this light pollution map from Blue Marble Navigator…
One such place is Tonopah, Nevada, which was once voted by USA Today as the #1 Stargazing Destination in the United States.
Take a look…
The other “location” deals with where exactly to look in the sky.
Another thing to keep in mind is timing and how it relates to where certain objects will appear.
For example, there are certain times of the year (and times of night) when the Milky Way will be in a better position for photographing.
The core of the milky way is only visible about half of the year. The other half it is located beneath the horizon.
In the winter months (December – February) it is not visible at all because it’s too close to the sun.
In the spring (March – May), it will first become visible a few hours before sunrise.
By June it will rise much earlier before midnight. The summer months (June – August) are generally the best viewing time because it will be up most of the night.
By fall (September – November) the milky way will be best seen in the evening, before it sets. Twilight can brighten the sky up to 2 hours before sunrise and 2 hours after sunset, so you want to avoid those times.
So depending on what you want to see and photograph, you need to know where and when your subjects will be in the best position possible.