Photography

Astro Photography – Shoot the Skies (p1)

Now this is a work in progress. After reading an article in a photography magazine about night photography and seeing the potential results, my new project is Shoot the Skies. 

This will be an on-going project and I shall post my results and findings here. I am very excited about this project, the ultimate aim is to take a shot of the milky way that I can be proud of – but I am a long, long way off that just yet!

So as a first attempt (I have never done anything like this before) I set up my camera and tripod outside on a relatively clear night in Harrogate. This was just done in my back garden, as I just wanted to get a feel for the technique without expecting to get any results worth writing home about. This was my first shot:

The first thing that strikes me is that although the sky looked so dark to the eye, what the sensor of the 5D mkIII can pick up is staggering. The light pollution that was not evident at first is clearly visible on the pictures. So after a bit of research I found a wonderful website http://www.darkskydiscovery.org.uk/  that details the darkest spots on the map so you can see where there is a recommended dark sky area near you. Surprisingly for living in a town, there are 2 dark sky spots near me at Thruscross Reservoir and Fewston Reservoir. Both claim to be spots where the milky way can also be seen, which is also a surprise and a huge bonus. Obviously conditions need to be near-perfect for this, and at this stage of my project I am more interested in getting away from the light pollution. I did go and scout out Fewston reservoir at night but it was too cloudy to really do anything, unfortunately. I shall try again when there is a better night for it.

So here are a few more shots from the test-shoot, I know they are not great but it was incredibly fun to do and as a first attempt, it could have been worse – and it is a decent starting point for me on my journey with the stars.

And on this one, I (unintentionally at first) noticed the Plough constellation at the bottom (between the trees), which adds a bit to the picture, I think:

More updates on this project to follow.

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