Q&A | Breaking Down the Shot with Jack Mayall

In this issue we take a look at the process behind shooting this image. What gear was used and how to get the shot you want.

Jack Mayall is one of our Tutors here at Camera Workshops, be sure to check out his workshops at the bottom of this page.

Q) How did you plan this shoot? 
A) I have various tools for tracking the weather and sky conditions and even the Milky Way orientation can be calculated in advance! 
That said, you can read the forecasts as much as you want but it's never a sure thing, expect plenty of disappointment. :) 
I think it's important to think up a shot in your head prior to shooting. I have a book I scribble down ideas in and combinations I would love to bring together in an image. Nothing beats just getting out there and putting yourself in the elements. 

Q) How do you go about composing your images and is that something you think about prior to the shoot? 
A) Absolutely. I think it's really important to have key composition points in your image. I think a lot about Rule of Thirds, Leading Lines, Etc... You obviously sometimes just have to work with what you have, but with basic guidelines in mind, help your images pop. 

Q) What gear was used for this image? 
A) For most of my Astro work tend to use Samyang's 14mm F2.8 Lens. It allows me to get everything in one shot. I love it. 
The camera I'm using at the moment is the Sony A7RII but until very recently I was using the A7II (Which is still one hell of a camera).
The last thing was a Tripod, I use the Sirui ET Series for most of my work. I've used their Tripods for a few years now and they're great. Lightweight and solid! 

Q) No cable release? 
A) For this shot, no. It was only 20 seconds exposure which the camera allows you to dial in. When I'm featured in the image I use Sony's RF Wireless Remote.

Q) Auto or Manual Focus? 
Manual. Always...and don't just put it to infinity and hope for the best. It doesn't work out so well. 

Q) What post processing software did you use? 
A) Lightroom. I use Lightroom for 99% of my work. It just works so well for me. Everything is built in! Love it.

Q) Do you shoot RAW or JPEG? 
A) That's a complicated one, but RAW. There is a time and a place to shoot JPEG, but Astro isn't one of them. Raw gets you the best quality possible and ultimately gives you the best, most real life results. 

Q) What camera system would you recommend for someone just getting into photography that wants to capture their night adventures? 
A) Anything fairly modern, that shoots RAW, and has interchangeable lenses. It doesn't have to break the bank, you can still get amazing results with budget kit. If you really get into it, you can upgrade to a more specialist lens in the future. Fast Prime Lenses work best. 
If you're in the UK and aren't sure, get in touch with Cambrian Photography.They will get you set up, just let them know what you want to capture and your budget. 

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