Astrophotography is a discipline dedicated to photographing the night sky in all its splendor.
For this exercise to be successful, there are a series of environmental conditions, equipment demands and photographic operational- plus post-production techniques that we will explore in broad lines in in this article.
Thus, people who are starting out in the discipline can have a general idea on how to achieve satisfying results and, in addition, can prepare properly for a night excursion taking the necessary precautions for their greater protection and comfort.
In Chile we are still fortunate enough to find fairly dark locations relatively close to the big cities, an essential condition for astrophotography.
Although there are many people in other latitudes whom have to cope with far worse conditions than ours, nothing beats a location with low light pollution to capture outstanding sky images.
In Santiago we can access relatively dark skies in the Cajón de Maipo, at distances between 90 (San José de Maipo) and 180 km (El Yeso Reservoir Lake), respectively, while those traveling to places like Vicuña – in the Elqui Valley – or better yet, to San Pedro de Atacama, can still find clear skies with very low levels of light pollution.
It is no coincidence that Chile’s second to fourth regions concentrate a large number of astronomical observatories, such as Tololo, Paranal, ALMA and E-ELT, among others.
The ideal nights are clear and moonless, while the best locations are as high up as possible.
My locations in the Cajón de Maipo are all well over 2.000 meters, above the flying dust and as far away as possible from major potential sources of light pollution.