Malibu Sea Cave

Over the past few months, I've been bringing a new piece of gear with me pretty much everywhere I go. Since you're here, you know that I'm talking about the Google Pixel 6 Pro. And before I get any further, I want to make sure it's totally clear that I was gifted this phone from Google. 

 That said, when it comes to something like this, I've always been a firm believer in letting the results do most of the talking.  So, while I'll certainly share some of my thoughts, I really wanted to show a range of images that I've taken so far with the Pixel 6 Pro. 

Twilight Milky Way, Venus, & Mars

Twilight Milky Way

Astrophotography - Photographing the Stars & Planets

Taking photos of the night sky has always been somewhat reliant on having quality camera gear. I've got to say, I've been thoroughly impressed with the quality of image I've been able to achieve while taking images with the Pixel 6 Pro in Astrophotography mode.

To do this, I purchased a special mount to hold my phone and place it right into one of the normal tripods that I use for the rest of my photography. 

Once the camera app is opened at night, it first defaults to "Night Mode" which allows photos in low light to be taken in a much similar way to the Long Exposure mode (see more on that below). But, once you have your phone mounted so it can be held perfectly still, the Astrophotography mode becomes available. 

Simply swipe over to select the icon with multiple stars on it, tap the screen to make sure your phone can take a second to focus, and then tap the shutter button. That's pretty much it.

The Pixel will take up to 4 minutes taking multiple exposure and then automatically stack those images. This is common technique in traditional astrophotography to capture more detail and produce a cleaner image. Although when applying this technique using a standard mirrorless or dslr, it is not typically an automated process. 

The above image was taken as the Milky Way faded into twilight along the Jersey Shore. 

The below images were captured in various sea caves and of various sea stacks along the California coast.

Untitled photo

Magic Eraser - Before & After

These photos were edited with the built-in photo app on the Pixel 6 Pro. You can follow along to see the simple steps I used to go from start to finish with my image. The Magic Eraser tool is very similar to the healing brush in Adobe Photoshop. Definitely useful for cleaning up images or removing annoying lights, boats, or airplanes at night.

Edit Process - Astro Preset - Magic Eraser - Crop - Done

Moonlit Astrophotography

Handheld Long Exposure Photography

During the day, these photos were taken by using the Long Exposure setting and holding as still as possible. The Pixel takes multiple exposures and then automatically stacks on top of each other to create a type of long exposure effect. Each image captures a little bit of movement and the combining of images are very similar to what you might achieve while using a Neutral Density filter with a traditional camera. 

Wide Angle vs Zoom Lens

The Pixel 6 Pro boasts a 4x optical zoom and up to a 20x digital zoom. In most cases, I try not to go too much further than the 4x zoom to keep image quality at it's best.  The quality of the image will degrade a bit while using a digital zoom on any camera, but it's definitely a pretty crazy feature to have on a mobile phone. This is more of a feature traditionally found on point and shoot cameras.

Portrait Photography

Perhaps one of the reasons I've loved having the Pixel 6 Pro on me at all times. Using the Portrait Mode mimics the style of photography where a very fast aperture creates a shallow depth of field around your subject. It centers attention and can help remove distracting elements. As much as I've had a blast taking photos of the stars with the Pixel, having something that I've been able to capture beautiful photos of Kona and any family gatherings has been a really huge and unexpected benefit.      

Thank you so much to Google for reaching out and providing the Pixel to me.  It truly has had a much bigger impact than I ever expected.

I've never been the type of person to carry my camera with me on random outings, so I've really enjoyed capturing a lot of those moments that I never did previously. 

Also, being able to so easily capture quality behind the scenes content during the day and at night is something I'm really excited about.  Most of the time I head out to take photos, I'm traveling by myself. So capturing that type of content often meant bringing an entirely separate camera, lens and tripod to do so. The weight, the setup time, and the hassle often meant I went without doing this at all. Being able to do all of that now with just my phone and an adapter for my tripod has definitely been a gamechanger in the field.

Keep an eye out for more Pixel 6 Pro astrophotography soon! 

Thanks for checking this out!

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