With advances in both camera and telescope technology, time-lapse and astrophotography have become even more accessible to photographers. Tethered shooting can help automate the process with the help of astronomical and standard photographic gear and software. The ability to automate an exact timed sequence and shoot straight to hard drive helps combat the technical hurdles to obtaining the perfect shot of the night sky.
If you’re ready to go out and photograph the Milky Way, but are wondering what you should add to your kit, here are 10 pieces of gear we recommend:
Holding the shutter open for long periods drains battery fast! The Case Relay Camera Power System lets you power your camera continually with any USB 5V battery pack, providing peace of mind knowing you have constant, uninterruptable power for your camera.
It’s more cost effective than purchasing multiple proprietary camera batteries and is compatible with most Canon, Nikon, Sony, Panasonic, Fuji, and Olympus cameras.
The StrapMoore is a handy, jack-of-all-trades contraption that secures to the leg of any tripod, and can secure a Case Relay, laptop brick, or external hard drive with ease. Heavy duty GripperElastic lines the interiors of both the leg and object straps ensuring gear is well secured and won’t slide. Easily put small items where you want them, when you need them, during shoots.
Any movement of your tripod will ruin a star trail or other time-lapse shot. A strong tripod that’s weighted down for additional support is the most important piece of gear in any time-lapse shooter’s kit. The rugged Tether Tools Dual Wing Sand Bag is made of durable black Cordura nylon and double stitched for increased strength and can be hung from a tripod with the included D-ring.
BackyardEOS (for Canon cameras) and BackyardNIKON (for Nikon cameras) was designed and developed for astrophotography. This highly acclaimed software is in use all around the world by thousands of users. Its intuitive user interface caters to the amateur and seasoned astronomers alike. Program your image capture plan and walk away. Backyard allows control of your DSLR camera and deep sky long exposure images all night long.
Between BackyardEOS and shooting tethered into a software program to trigger and confirm the quality of images, having a laptop is a must-have for both time-lapse and astrophotographers. When you’re out on location you want to have a sturdy tripod for your camera and telescope, and a secure, stable platform for your computer — having a Tether Table on location is the ideal workstation for shooters.
The Tether Table Aero provides photographers with a stable portable tethering platform, and attaches easily to virtually any tripod. Made completely of T6 Aerospace aluminum, the stunning brushed silver or non-reflective black textured platform was conceived by professional photographers and designed by aerospace engineers. This supremely functional platform is unsurpassed in stability and durability. The Tether Table Aero System also features a multitude of accessories and customization options, read more about that here.
TetherPro USB cables feature the latest technology available for the fastest and most reliable transfers. Designed to the highest USB specifications to filter out signal noise and reduce transmission errors, all cables are fully shielded to protect against external signal interference.
If you’re shooting with a USB 3.0 camera, keep your connecting strong with a TetherBoost! The TetherBoost Core Controller is designed to boost and regulate power from a DSLR camera or digital back systems eliminating USB 3.0 connectivity issues. TetherBoost provides consistent power to maintain a stable, reliable connection when a camera is connected to a computer via USB cables.
Over the course of the evening, timelapse and astrophotographers can shoot hundreds of images. To ensure the highest image quality, shooting RAW is a must, and if you’re sending images just to a card you’ll run of out of space quickly. Shooting tethered and backing up your images to an external hard drive will greatly improve efficiency in your workflow.
The Aero XDC compartment mounts directly under the Tether Table’s surface, allowing you to enjoy all the benefits of having an external hard drive handy without having to worry about where you will put it.
There’s nothing more frightening than losing a tethered connection mid shoot of a long time-lapse. The JerkStopper Tethering Kit is the complete tethered set-up, securing the cable on both the camera and computer. The JerkStopper removes stress and strain from the cable and device ensuring the plug stays in and prevents cable or equipment damage. The patented JerkStopper cable retention device provides an anchor point allowing slack in the cord preventing damage or dislodging. Once installed, the Camera Support’s quick disconnect enables future tethering set-up in seconds.
If you’re a shooter who loves capture star trails, we highly suggest the Triggertrap Mobile. Their application includes a Star Trails mode that sets the desired exposure time, with a two second interval and the desired number of frames. The innovative app allows you to set this to a high number and stop after 30+ minutes if you’re not sure how long you’d like to shoot.