Starry eyed

I hadn’t set out to get a picture of the Milky Way, I had just gone up onto the Moor to walk, to be shown something by nature and be humbled by it. I was looking for balance in my psyche, to sooth my mojo and to filter out the static in my head.

I didn’t get that either, We had planned to take the boys up to Hound Tor, watch the sunset and pause to take a photo or two, having never been to the Tor before I was curious to see what it had to offer in ways of potential future visits. I had an 1/8th of a tank of diesel left, enough I’d calculated to get me to the Tor and from thence to the fuel station on the dual carriageway.

We got lost. A simple mistake of taking a left at he wrong time sent us on a long winding narrow route that, with failed power steering, had no opportunities for turning around. We made it to Hound Tor eventually but with fuel reserves seriously repleted. The sun had also set.

Still there was enough light to be able to enjoy walking up to and around the Tor, the boys noisily enjoying themselves, disturbing the peace and tranquility of a sunset with raucous laughter and shouts. Eventually they calmed down and we all sat together and watched the fading light.


Dying Light – Nikon D7000, 16-85mm, ISO 400, 1/125 sec at f8

I screwed the 10 stop onto the lens and had a bit of a play before I called time and rejoined the family, I got nothing from all three, this is the best I could do and it’s abysmal.


Cropped to Noisy Hell – Nikon D7000, 16-85mm, ISO 800, 10 stop filter 25 sec at f5

We walked back to the car and drove homeward in a now desperate search for a garage that was open, fortunately there was an Esso open at Newton Abbot which was the best thing I’ve ever seen in Newton Abbot. Fuel onboard we tore through the night to home, on the darker stretches of the A30 you could really see the stars shining out.

I went into the garden and shot this


Now I know it’s not brilliant but that is the milky way.

I will again say, I have taken a photo of the milky Way.

This is a big thing.

You might disagree, however, when I were a lad and given my first camera, I loaded it with the film cartridge and excitedly looked through the tiny viewfinder, snapping away at random stuff for a whole 16 pictures that I then had to wait 2 weeks to get back from Boots the Chemist. Only then did I get to see the amazing picture of the jet that had flown over the house. But it wasn’t amazing it was just a blue rectangle with a tiny black spec in one corner and a bit of our roof in the other. I learnt a lesson that day.

At Art college I learnt ‘proper photography’ black and white 35mm film that was hand wound from a big reel in the darkroom, 20 odd shots per film, developing chemicals, proof sheets, projector filters and dodging and burning techniques. I still wouldn’t have dreamt of just pointing a camera at the night sky and getting a shot of the milky way.

I was just googling when the earliest photo of the Milky Way was taken, when I saw an article about someone capturing a shot on a mobile phone.

Mind blown.


Anyway, true to form just as I was starting to get the hang of exposure times and focusing in the dark, Okehampton performed its party piece and decided to tuck itself into bed by rolling the clouds overhead.

I really should look at the weather forecasts more.


3 thoughts on “Starry eyed

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