Ahhh, astro photography, lush images of stars and planets in the sky above, how fantastic that we have truly affordable ways to create these stunning images. Not too long ago this area of photography was just not practical for anyone apart from those with deep pockets and specialist knowledge of how to use the equipment required. Pre digital it was almost impossible.
But it’s 2016 and the Perseid Meteor shower is due to make an appearance, time to dust off the Nikon and brew the really strong coffee, it’s going to be a long night.
Nature may be putting on a really good show, and all around Dartmoor, people are capturing stunning night sky vistas with oodles of meteor streaks, but not where I live, nope, uh uh, not tonight matey, you get to look at the underside of a cloud. It was that bad I couldn’t even be bothered to get the tripod out. weather forecasts confirmed the worst.
Still the peak night is tomorrow, off to bed then.
Fast forward to last night. Conditions are looking promising! I take a few test shots to get me in the ballpark in terms of time shutter speed etc.
I’m quite chuffed, it looks like the front cover of the National Geographic is within reach, if not then Dartmoor Life Magazine surely will be knocking the door down come morning.
I alter a few more settings and start to play with a new shiny thing, A Nikon ML-L3 remote trigger. Yes there are cheaper ones, but this has Nikon written on it! I’m not ashamed that I am a dirty gear slut.
Settings were really spot on so I decided to try to compose a little better, I moved to the bottom of the garden.
Boom, much better, the clouds even add to the atmospheric of the image, just need the cloud to roll through or thin out a bit and we will be golden.
Is that a couple of Meteors I spy?, why I do believe it is. Amazing. I go back inside, put the battery on charge brew some very strong coffee and wait for the moon to set. I watch some You Tube videos of very talented people taking stunning, stunning images of the milky way and Meteor showers, and then blending them to create star trails and all sorts of exotic images, the coffee is also very good.
And so, low, it came to pass, that the moon did set itself below the horizon. And in that time, man came to gaze heavenward, to behold the wonders. Warm clothing did he garb, and a light affixed to his forelock. For as it is foretold, he shall come to capture the stars from the heavens, and set them before you.
And it was so.
Clouded in again! Still could be worse, I could have loaded the boys into the car and made them sleep in sleeping bags on the folded down rear seats, and waited there all night into the early hours with a rapidly cooling thermos of increasingly bitter coffee chilling my soul. As I stood laughing at the weather in Okehampton, once again not disappointing with its ability to be reliably crap, I espied the growing swoop of car headlights descending the road from the higher Moor.
Someone else had given up on trying to photograph the ‘Visually stunning spectacle of the Perseid Meteor shower TM” and was going home, or they’d been up on the moor for a late night smoke of something herbal and a clumsy fumble. The car headlights were illuminating the bottom of the cloud so I fired a few shots.
It was not a bad consolation prize. I headed to my slumber happy.
‘Blue Blow’ – Nikon D7000, 16-85mm, f3.5 – 10 secs, ISO 3200