How to Shoot a Starry Night Timelapse

In this video, photographer Corey Rich takes us on a journey to demonstrate how he creates a landscape photograph timelapse sequence. His goal is to capture a landscape photograph featuring a glowing tent against a breathtaking background under a perfect star-lit sky:

Rich emphasizes the importance of setting up your gear and composition while you still have daylight.

“I have learned the hard way that it always makes sense to try to set up your night timelapse in the day light, so that you are not fumbling.”


Rich sets up his gear well before dark.

Nighttime Timelapse Tips

  • Think in terms of a still photograph when composing the frame. Look for a compelling shot.
  • Lock the camera on a tripod.
  • Shoot in RAW file format to give yourself that extra leverage when editing the photos.
  • Set the intervalometer interval higher than the exposure. For example, if you need a 30 second exposure set your intervalometer to shoot at an interval of 45 seconds or more.
setting intervalometer

Some DSLRs have internal intervalometers.

  • Use a wide-angle lens for landscape timelapse and shoot wide open (Rich uses a 24mm f/1.4 lens set at f/1.4)
  • Depending on the camera that you are using, a higher ISO number between 800-1600 is recommended. Rich uses a Nikon D800, which can go all the way up to ISO 25,600)
  • Switch to manual focusing.
  • Fresh batteries are imperative; you don’t want to run out of juice in the middle of the shoot.
camera settings for time-lapse

This is just one of the stills from Rich’s timelapse sequence.

“The beauty of shooting time-lapse is that at the end we get a video clip as well as a high resolution still photograph that we can print and hang on our wall.”


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