This photo was taken April 21, 2015 at Ranger, GA. I was attempting to take pictures of the International Space Station (ISS) as it made its pass in our area at about 9:45pm. The horizon was a bit cloudy so I wasn't sure how things would go and the moon was out at about 10% illumination.
I typically us a Nikon D610 full frame DSLR and for night sky shots a Rokinon 14mm lens. For this shot, I used a tripod and an intervalometer to make several long exposures.
HQ-spotthestation, which is sponsored by NASA is an excellent resource and if you subscribe to their service, they will let you know when the ISS will be in your area and provide the location and time. In this case, the ISS would be traveling from WNW to WSW at about 69 degrees above the horizon so I set up my camera accordingly.
At the prescribed time, I started the intervalometer and took 10-25 second exposures at 1 second intervals, f/2.8 and ISO of 1000. My typical ISO for night sky is usually higher but this night, the moon and reflection on the clouds provided a great deal of light so a lower ISO was possible. Also, a 25 second exposure will give you crisp stars. Any longer than 30 seconds, and this depends on the focal length of your lens will cause the stars to show movement in the form of small streaks as the earth turns relative to the stars. I took ten photos and chose this one because it shows the ISS as it passed Jupiter. Also in the shot are the moon and Venus. The very next shot, the ISS disappeared as it lost the sun’s reflection.
For post processing, I opened the photo in Photoshop CC and did my initial processing in Adobe Camera RAW. I use the same settings most of the time for night sky photos so it is easy to use these settings as a pre-set. Once processed in Camera RAW, I opened the photo in Photoshop and did a little more tweaking to contrast and brightness and also lens correction. I had already done some sharpening in Camera RAW and saw no reason to further sharpen in Photoshop.
For my final processing, I opened the photo in Topaz Star Effects, a plug in to Photoshop and added the star effect to the moon. Due to the long exposure, I couldn't save any detail in the moon and thought the star spikes added a nice effect to the photo.
I hope you have enjoyed reading about how I took this photo. Please feel free to ask questions and make comments below or through my contact page.