Long shutter on a cruise ship?

Started Feb 21, 2016 | Questions
Lettermanian
Lettermanian Senior Member • Posts: 1,812
Long shutter on a cruise ship?

Hello all, I have a question regarding night shots while on a cruise ship, and just wondering if anyone has experience in this. In September I may be going on a cruise to Alaska, and there is a possibility of the Aurora Borealis. Not to mention that if the weather's clear the stars will be in abundance as well. Does anyone have any tips for shooting from a moving ship? Or is this really an exercise in futility?

Equipment - I shoot micro four-thirds: an Olympus OM-D E-M10ii, and I am hoping to get the Rokinon/Samyang 12mm f2 mf lens by September. If I don't the only wide-angle lens I have is the Oly 12-50mm f3.5-5.6. I have the Panny 20mm f1.7 but it's not exactly wide-angle, and I may be selling it soon in order to get the 12mm f2.

Thanks for any replies

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astrodad1 Contributing Member • Posts: 712
Re: Long shutter on a cruise ship?

Even in smooth seas, I think there would be too much movement.

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Thanks,
David
Evington, Va
www.davidbrown.zenfolio.com

CameraCarl Veteran Member • Posts: 7,587
Re: Long shutter on a cruise ship?

For night sky you need shutter speeds in the range of 30 seconds. For an aurora borealis, somewhat less, but still probably not holdable. I can't imagine a cruise ship which would be stable and motionless enough to do long shutter speed photography. So maybe the best you can expect to do is crank the ISO as high as you dare, get an image stabilized lens, take tons of images and hope for one or two decent snapshots, at least.  I certainly would not buy a 12mm lens just for night sky photography on this trip alone.  It is a great lens (I enjoy mine for everything from the interior of cathedrals to night sky photography), but you need a stable platform and a tripod for acceptable night sky photos, especially with this non-image stabilized, manual lens.

Allien
Allien Contributing Member • Posts: 516
Re: Long shutter on a cruise ship?

If you are handy, maybe rig up some sort of DIY passive gimbal for the camera.

Some of them seem to work pretty good with GoPros etc, maybe it could gain you some longer exposures vs pure handheld.

I don't know if you would use the image stabilization or not with these things, I guess you could try it both ways.

I've never tried one, just speculating here.

dswtan
dswtan Regular Member • Posts: 216
Re: Long shutter on a cruise ship?

Maybe the Alaskan cruises are different because of the expectation of auroras, but my experience of a regular cruise ship was most disappointing for night skies because of the bright ship's lights which were on all night. :-/

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LucyH New Member • Posts: 1
Re: Long shutter on a cruise ship?

Hi,

just following up on the remarks re long shutter - want to agree with much of it: namely if you are moving then you should try to shorten that by cranking up ISO and maybe aperture.  One more remark though:  what about making up for motion by stacking pictures?  amateurs have been using registax and now registar for oh, 20? years now, to make up for the fact that anyway the sky itself shakes.  So they started using webcams and developing software to stack up these many pictures.  they soon were making pictures comparable to observatory work.  the software automates it.  i have used stacking and it is magic in its ability to make something sharp.

so your keys are:  registax and registar  and when you have hunted around re those you will have some options in hand.

Lucy

Tristimulus Veteran Member • Posts: 7,570
Re: Long shutter on a cruise ship?

LucyH wrote:

Hi,

just following up on the remarks re long shutter - want to agree with much of it: namely if you are moving then you should try to shorten that by cranking up ISO and maybe aperture. One more remark though: what about making up for motion by stacking pictures? amateurs have been using registax and now registar for oh, 20? years now, to make up for the fact that anyway the sky itself shakes. So they started using webcams and developing software to stack up these many pictures. they soon were making pictures comparable to observatory work. the software automates it. i have used stacking and it is magic in its ability to make something sharp.

so your keys are: registax and registar and when you have hunted around re those you will have some options in hand.

Lucy

RegiStar and Registax work very well for the intended use - but might not be optimal for long exposure hand held nothern light exposures (the programs need a reference for stacking and fail when the following images diverge too much from the reference points)...

Well - if getting the data needed, there is nothing to loose by trying some added post processing...

Would use whatever in camera or in lens stabilization that is available, and set the aperture of the lens wide open. Then go for lots and lots of hand held 1/4, 1/2 and 1 sec exposures at ISO1600 or 3200 - and just keep the better ones if bright Nothern lights occur.

Practice hand holding slow exposures in advance...

That way there might be something to bring back home - for better or worse...

Matt Fulghum
Matt Fulghum Senior Member • Posts: 1,091
Re: Long shutter on a cruise ship?

Good thoughts, for sure.  I'd like to add that you should explore the areas of the ship you're allowed access to as soon as possible, to find someplace that's not lit up by floodlights all night long.  I did a trans-atlantic repositional cruise about 14 years ago (highly recommended for those looking to truly "get away from it all") and the only place I could see any stars was up near the bow of the ship.  The camera I had at the time had no image stabilization of any kind, so nighttime photography was a waste of time, but with the IBIS-style stuff you might be able to make it work.  crank up the ISO, open the aperture as wide as it'll go, and give it a shot - I doubt you're going to be able to do a lot better than 1/2", but hey, I may be wrong, and you lose nothing but time by trying.

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Lettermanian
OP Lettermanian Senior Member • Posts: 1,812
Re: Long shutter on a cruise ship?

Well, thanks for all the comments. The cruise never happened for me. However, good information for the future

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dasams
dasams Senior Member • Posts: 1,078
Re: Long shutter on a cruise ship?

Lettermanian wrote:

In September I may be going on a cruise to Alaska, and there is a possibility of the Aurora Borealis. Not to mention that if the weather's clear the stars will be in abundance as well. Does anyone have any tips for shooting from a moving ship? Or is this really an exercise in futility?

Try shooting the night sky by hand holding your camera.  The only way to get a sharp image would be to shoot at a shutter speed quicker than 1/focal length depending on your camera's image stabilization.  So what ISO will be required?  Something north of 100,000.

Then cut your shutter speed by 2 or 4 to offset the movement of a ship.  Futility with a capital F.  Would love to be proven wrong though 

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SnipSnap
SnipSnap Regular Member • Posts: 222
Re: Long shutter on a cruise ship?

I haven't used the gear you mention, but here are some samples I took from a small moving boat.

I used a Nikon D750 and Tamron 15-30/2.8, which has image stabilisation. This, combined with the excellent low light performance of the D750 and wide aperture, let me get as much detail out of the sky as I did. Shutter speed 1s, ISO 51,200. This might give you an idea of how much you have to push the ISO to get handheld astro shots.

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