Search Results

Share Article:

Facebook Twitter Linkedin Mail

Tag: how-to

Testing Pixel 4’s incredible Night Sight photography


Posted on December 18, 2019

7 min read

When Google dropped the unreal Pixel 4, we were impressed by the updated Night Sight feature that allows for incredible astrophotography – the ability to take spectacular pictures of the night sky. We gave a Pixel 4 to Troy, one of our technicians based in regional Queensland, to see just what it could do.

We live in a vast, beautiful country outdone only by what’s above us.

I’m part of the team who builds and maintains Telstra’s mobile and radio infrastructure – more than 10,000 mobile base stations providing more than 2.5 million square kilometres of coverage to metro, regional and remote Australia. It means I’m out of town a lot, so to speak, for work.

When you get away from the city lights, the Milky Way is awesome. Truly awesome.

I’m also a keen snapper. Astrophotography typically requires some serious gear, lots of settings adjustments and patience to yield a result, so I was interested to see how the Google Pixel 4[1] would go on my recent travels.

The key to nailing that starry night shot is to get out of the cities and into the country, where there’s little to no light pollution to clutter an image. Light pollution is the bright hue that is cast across the sky by things like cars, street lights and buildings. It’s a disruptor and stops us from seeing features of the night sky.

Photo by Troy Tozer, Telstra

These photos were snapped near one of our mobile base stations at Mt Kent, west of Toowoomba. Both are straight out of the Pixel 4 with no edits. It really shows off the shots you can get of the night sky without light pollution.

Photo by Troy Tozer, Telstra

I used a high intensity LED torch to help compose my shots (as it was basically pitch black). I used objects in the foreground to provide some depth to the photo.

Once the photo was composed the Pixel 4 basically did the rest. 4 min long made up of multiple exposures that are stacked on top of each other, this gets rid of any movement in the sky (star trails) and as you can see the Pixel pulls light that the human eye struggles to see.

Photo by Troy Tozer, Telstra

On the flipside, you can also use a light to create a fun element to your pic. All I did with this shot is leave the interior light on in my work car to create a cool extra point of interest.

Photo by Troy Tozer, Telstra

And finally, this is a four-minute exposure shot pointing straight up at the stars for a shot that’s unheard of on a phone. You can see the constellation of Orion clearly in the night sky, shot with nothing but a phone camera and a native Android app.

Troy’s tips for better night photos

Google has a number of recommendations for getting the shot after the Sun goes down. Here are a few tips on how to get the shot from the Pixel 4:

● Stabilise your phone to make sure it will not move during long exposures: prop it up on a stable surface such as a rock or a fence post or use a tripod if you happen to have one. 

● Launch the Google Camera App, switch to Night Sight, and frame the shot. 

● Once the phone is steady, the viewfinder should display a message that says “Astrophotography on” to indicate that long exposures are enabled, and that, depending on the brightness of the scene, taking a shot may take up to four minutes. If there’s strong wind and the phone is on a tripod, then the camera may shake too much for a sharp long exposure and “Astrophotography on” may not appear. If that’s the case try shortening the tripod legs to keep the phone closer to the ground, use your body to shield the phone from the wind, or move to a spot that is less windy. 

● The phone will try to focus automatically, but autofocus can fail in extremely dark scenes. For landscape shots you may just want to set focus to “far” so that anything further away than about 4 meters (13 feet) will be in focus. 

● For best results set the self timer to 3 seconds. This shifts the beginning of the exposure to 3 seconds after you have tapped the shutter button, and avoids unwanted motion-blur by ensuring that the phone doesn’t move when it starts capturing light. 

● Once the exposure has begun, the viewfinder displays a timer that shows how many minutes and seconds are left until the exposure is complete. If you want to stop the exposure early for some reason, for example, because a car’s headlights have appeared in the frame, tap the shutter button again. You will get a photo even if you stop early, provided at least one frame has been captured, but letting the timer count down all the way to zero will produce a brighter and clearer image. 

● The viewfinder in the Google Camera App works at full moon light levels, but in environments darker than that the on-screen image may become too dim and grainy to be useful. When this happens we recommend the following: point the phone in what you think is the right direction, then tap the shutter button. As soon as the exposure for an individual frame is complete, the frame will be shown in the viewfinder, and you can check and correct which way the phone is pointing. Wait for the next frame to see the effect of your corrections. Once you are satisfied with the composition, tap the shutter button a second time to stop the exposure. Then tap the shutter button once more to start a new exposure and let it run to completion without touching the phone. 

● You may want to reduce the phone screen’s brightness and also enable Android’s Dark theme. This will help you preserve your own night vision while working on astrophotography.


Customers who purchase a Google Pixel 4 or  Pixel 4 XL through Telstra will also receive an exclusive bonus Google Nest Hub. Using the bonus Google Nest Hub, customers will also be able to take advantage of another Telstra exclusive – Voice-activated Calling – allowing you to make voice calls via the Hub and/or other Google Nest devices.[2] Bonus offer ends 13 January 2020. 

Both devices are available on Telstra’s new post-paid mobile plans that offer consumer and small business customers greater flexibility with month-to-month plans, the freedom to change your plan once a month, no excess data charges in Australia, and the ability to personalise your plan through add-ons, including the option to pay off your device over 24 or 36 months.

The Google Pixel 4 (64GB) will be available from $1,049, which works out to $43.70 a month when you add to any month-to-month mobile plan and stay connected for 24 months or $29.13 a month when you add to any month-to-month mobile plan and stay connected for 36 months, plus your chosen plan costs.

The Google Pixel 4 XL (64GB) will be available from an RRP of $1,279, which will be $53.29 a month when you add to any month-to-month mobile plan and stay connected for 24 months or $35.52 a month when you add to any month-to-month mobile plan and stay connected for 36 months, plus your chosen plan costs.

For a full list of plans please visit our Google Pixel 4 store page.

[1] See to learn more about astrophotography on Pixel 4.

[2] Requires a Telstra mobile service with credit on a smartphone, a powered Google Home/Nest speaker or display* connected to an active Wi-Fi network and activated through iOS/Android Google Home app. Data charges may apply. Call charges will be in accordance with your Telstra mobile plan. To call E000, say “Hey Google, call Triple Zero. *Currently not available on Google Nest Hub Max – coming soon.

The 3 most important tips I’ve learnt from technology leaders

Telstra Careers People

Posted on April 16, 2018

1 min read

I’m halfway through the Telstra Graduate Program and what I’ve noticed since starting here is just how much Telstra invests in and develops its people.

As a graduate, I can connect with senior leaders within the business through mentoring and reverse mentoring programs, as well as at monthly sessions called ‘meet our leaders’.

Being able to gain insights from such a senior group of people has helped me to understand the breadth of leadership styles across Telstra and also learn about how they have overcome obstacles in their own careers.

I’m also encouraged to attend events and gain insights from external leaders. One of the most recent events I attended was called Code Like a Girl, which aims to inspire more women into coding and leadership careers within the technology industry.

I learnt a lot during the event but here are the top three things I took away:

5 ways to kick-start your day (without coffee)

Telstra Careers Advice

Posted on April 3, 2018

1 min read

What does your morning routine look like?

To be honest, mine isn’t great. It takes me a while to get out of my comfy bed, which gives me little time for doing the morning essentials like getting dressed and cooking breakfast.

I know it’s important to be productive in the morning as it helps to set up my day at work. So, I thought I would ask a few Telstra people what they do in the morning so that I can get a bit of inspiration. It might even help you too.

Here’s what they told me:



How Telstra’s Business Technology Services Academy helped me to find my career focus

Telstra Careers Advice

Posted on March 28, 2018

4 min read

One of my personal values has always been to never stop learning and I think that’s what I found appealing about a career in technology – it’s constantly in a state of change.

However, after obtaining my Bachelor of Computer Science from Western Sydney University, I realised that a narrow focus on programming wasn’t necessarily going to be ‘my thing.’ So, I started to look for something to help me find my focus.

Around that time, I applied to the Business Technology and Services (BTS) Academy at Telstra. The BTS group provides business and technology consulting services, project management and managed services to business customers. Their talent development course, the BTS Academy, trains people for careers across networks and security. Some people joined the program straight from university or TAFE, while others joined the program from different careers. For me, it was a win-win that the Academy would allow me to get hands-on experience, while continuing to learn.

In the first six months of the program we needed to obtain two certifications covering project management and technology (covering basic level networking skills). Beyond that, the expectation was that you could move between teams to experience new roles and projects. We were each assigned a team leader, coach, and buddy to help us personalise the program. If we started in an area and didn’t like it, we could swap to another. There was a very strong emphasis on “creating our own journey,” and as a result all 25 associates in the program have had very different experiences.

Between studying and on-the-job learning, I managed to try several different roles. This included Project Coordination, a role as a Technical Implementer and, my personal favourite, Wi-Fi Consultancy. It was good to finally test out my interests, and find out what I liked best.

As a Project Coordinator my role was to assist project managers wherever support was needed – from managing spreadsheets, to project billing and resourcing. This gave me exposure to a wide range of technology projects that were underway at the time. As a Technical Implementer my role involved working with devices, like routers and switches, to create and connect networks. This included working on the network technology that connects ATMs to banks, enabling transaction information to be recorded. While my time as a Wi-Fi Consultant involved talking to businesses about how best to optimise the design of the Wi-Fi networks in their offices.

Along the way, I’ve learnt so many things. But there are three pieces of wisdom I think would be helpful to most people, regardless of their career path:

  1. (Human) networking is extremely important. Building and maintaining relationships will open so many doors for you.
  2. Don’t dwell on your failures – learn from them. At the end of the day you are human and you will face a lot of unknowns while doing your job, so the possibility for mistakes will always be there. I’ve made my fair share of mistakes and thanks to my support network, have been able to bounce back and learn something from each experience.
  3. Be open to new experiences and change. If you had asked me what my least favourite subject was at university I would have said Wireless Mobile Networks. But having had the opportunity to experience Wi-Fi Consultancy I’ve actually come to discover a hidden passion!

Six months down the line, I have now graduated from the Academy into my team, where I will be working towards becoming a Wireless Consultant. As part of the National Solutions Wireless Practice team, I will consult with customers on the best design for new Wi-Fi solutions and working on improving the design of existing networks. I’ll also gain experience in wireless security and data-analytics projects down the track. Importantly, I will continue to have the support and resources of the Academy Program for the next two years, so that I can continue to upskill myself along the way. I’m excited to see where my learnings take me next!

Email Etiquette: The do’s and don’ts of effective emails

Telstra Careers Advice

Posted on February 26, 2018

4 min read

When it comes to keeping up with emails, the struggle is real. A little too real, honestly.

According to reports by the Radicati Group, the average office worker receives in excess of 100 emails a day, with this number expected to grow year on year.

Interested in a career at Telstra? Find the right role for you.

While the numbers clearly aren’t in our favour, there are some things you can do to make life easier, and it means getting back to basics.

By following these simple do’s and don’ts, you can ensure your emails are read, responded to, and well received by your colleagues.

Do: Have a clear subject line

If you want your email to stand out amongst the hundreds of others competing for attention, you’ve got to be smart with your subject line and avoid anything too vague. Make the intention of your message clear so people understand the action and urgency, and can prioritise accordingly. For example:

Good: Document Review for Tuesday 2/01

Bad: Doc review

Do: Get to the point

Long emails are put in the too-hard basket or ignored altogether because people simply don’t have the time to digest what you’re saying. To avoid this, try keeping your emails under 200 words and avoid chunky paragraphs of text. Here’s how:

Use subheadings

Subheadings instantly improve the readability of your email. They provide focus points and create a natural hierarchy, allowing readers to easily determine the most important messages.

Use dot points

Dot points force you to cut out unnecessary words, and are far easier to scan. It’s about reducing the need to re-read a message.

For example change this:

Hi Joe,

Last night Peter sent me a summary outlining the budgetary constraints for Project X. Michelle has reviewed the document and has provided advice from her side of things. If you could do the same by tomorrow evening that would be great, we can then meet later in the week to discuss the way forward in person.



To this:

Hi Joe,

An update on Project X:

  • Peter sent the budget summary last night
  • Michelle’s already reviewed
  • Your feedback is required by tomorrow evening

Let’s meet later this week to discuss.



Do: Edit before you send

Too often people hit send without so much as a glance over what they’ve written. That’s why you should never underestimate the power of a re-read. It will help you to:

Pick up on missed points

You may have forgotten to attach a document, cc a colleague or delegate an action. Checking the details before you hit send means you won’t need to send a follow up email with the missed details – which not only spams your colleague’s inbox but may give the appearance that you’re disorganised.

Fix spelling and grammar mistakes

Loads of spelling and grammar errors isn’t a good look, especially if you’re writing to a manager or an executive. Take the time to check for misspelled, omitted or repeated words, grammar and punctuation.

Change the tone

Ever written an email while stressed or upset? They can read as short and aggressive if you’re not careful. Let those emails sit in your draft for a while before hitting send. When an hour lapses and you’ve cooled off, you’ll be surprised at how many changes you make to the wording.

Don’t: Forward on an email trail without providing context

Nothing is more frustrating than being sent an email that just says “FYI” with a chain of 20 emails below it.

If it must be done, take the time to summarise what’s going on. Let the person know what they’re looking for, and why you’ve sent it.

Better yet, go a step further and highlight the points of interest in the emails so the recipient can quickly identify what you’re bringing to their attention. This shows respect for your colleague’s time and reduces the risk of guesswork and confusion.

Don’t: Unnecessarily reply all or cc in a bunch of people

The best way to determine if someone should be sent an email is to ask yourself two simple questions:

  • Does this person have a direct action to take away from this email?
  • Has this person explicitly requested to receive this email update as a matter of interest?

If the answer to these questions are ‘no’, you can assume they don’t need to be on the list of recipients. If you’re unsure, ask them – confirming this shows you’re taking the time to understand their requirements, and respect their time.

So there you have it – easy!  Want more career tips? Check out our other blogs.

Tags: how to,