Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Milky Way Photography - Testing the Tamron SP AF 10-24mm f3.5-4.5 Di II Aspherical Lens

This was an absolutely awesome night for photographing the Milky Way. At first I thought it was cloud but it was the Milky Way and clearly visible to the naked eyes. I also saw several meteors and even caught one on camera. I was taking the Tamron SP AF 10-24mm f3.5-4.5 Di II Aspherical lens out for a test run and I have never seen the Milky Way so clearly. Photographed from an undisclosed location (I had the farmers permission to be there) with surprisingly little light pollution around.

The lens performed surprisingly well, at 10mm the image is a bit soft around the edges but as long as the subject is centre frame it seems fine and can be easily be improved by increasing the focal length or f-stop number. Despite the less than brilliant reviews I have read, this "ultra wide angle" lens is a significant upgrade from the 18-55mm kit lens and so far I am very happy with it.

When photographing the Milky Way, it is important that any ambient light from towns/street light is behind you and you are looking towards the Milky Way. The less light pollution, the more easily visible the Milky Way will be. Shooting wide open (maximum aperture) and adjusting the shutter speed and ISO allows you to balance your exposure so the result is not too bright or too dark.

The images below are photographed with the Tamron SP AF 10-24mm f3.5-4.5 Di II Aspherical lens, at f3.5, 25secs, ISO 4000 and post-processed in Lightroom and Photoshop CC. The colour banding in the first two images is mostly caused by increasing the contrast to enhance the detail in the Milky Way.

I am looking forward to taking this lens out and seeing how well it performs with landscape photography and it is a welcome and professional addition to my kit bag.

(click the images to enlarge)

Original Photography by Matt Blythe.

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