April 2021 // The Travel Edition

The Best Settings for Night Photography | Jennifer Wu

settings: f2.8 @ 1/25 iso 6400

To have a wide-angle view of the sky with the Milky Way, I selected the 15mm fisheye lens. The area of the Milky Way with its most colorful gasses is smaller in this frame as compared with a 24mm lens. There is a curvature on the horizon line created by the fisheye lens. Photographed in Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah, EF 15mm f/2.8 Fisheye, Canon EOS 5D Mark III.


Set the shutter speed for the maximum shutter speed you can use with your wide-angle lens choice to keep the stars as points of light. The checklist on page 90 has my recommendations on shutter speeds for various lens focal lengths to minimize most of the movement of the stars. Review your image on the LCD screen with a loupe and if you see oblong shapes or trails, use a faster shutter speed until you see circles instead of lines.


This will vary depending on how much light is in the sky. For a dark night use a wide-open aperture to get as much light into the camera as possible. I recommend f/2.8 or faster, such as f/1.4. With strong moonlight, such as the week around the full moon, you can set your aperture to f/4 or higher, such as f/8 with proper exposure.

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