Oscar Wilde said it best:
Experience is simply the name we give our mistakes.
I could start an entirely new website all about the photography mistakes I’ve made in my life and power it with my tears. Or, I could show you a mistake I recently made and learned from in the hopes that you won’t make the same mistake. I don’t do much landscape astrophotography, primarily because I’m too tired to wake up before dawn, but when I travel there are sometimes opportunities that just present themselves. The photographs above and below were taken around 7 or 8 in the evening in Utah, not really ideal star shooting or gazing time but the stars were there.
The lens I used is not ideal for astrophotography but that was not the mistake, it can be done with the Nikon 24-85mm but would be better with a faster lens. The cardinal rule I broke was leaving my aperture at f freaking 8! When shooting the night sky you should always open your aperture as wide as it goes (lowest f/number) to let as much light in as you can. Lesson learned!
The ability to quickly learn from our mistakes allows us to continually evolve into more capable photographers and keep us alive. Some would argue the best way to learn is to make mistakes. I hope you found this article helpful and make a mental note to never make the same mistake. Feel free to share some of your own blunders in the comments below. Enjoy!