Star Photography 1st Attempt

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Check out the vlog to go with this post:  https://youtu.be/QXYS-wbe-N0

A beautiful hike with my son in the Brecon Beacons to a small glacial lake was the perfect opportunity to make my first attempt at astrophotography.  The Brecon Beacons National Park has a Dark-Sky reserve making it the perfect area for making pictures of the night sky.

Once camp was set up, a quick scout of the area turned up the obvious location for my night sky shoot to include both Pen y Fan, Corn Ddu and the Llywn Cwm Llwch lake.  The lake, I hoped would provide a mirror for the stars and the silhouettes of the peaks.

I also have to mention the lovely couple I met (I’m absolutely awful at remembering names, but I’m pretty sure it was Peter and Helen).  I hope your trek to Bangor Brecon was fruitful guys!  Speaking with you was a pleasure, and an education.

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Back to business – it was time to replenish the reserves for the evening.

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Then time to relax, watch the sun go down and wait for the stars to start peeking out at us from around the mountains.

This being my first attempt at night sky photography, I’d done a bit of research and dusted off my 14mm F2.8 Rokinon lens; also read up on the 500 rule for astrophotography.  The rule, in a nutshell is (if you want static pinpoint stars instead of trails) you take 500 and divide it by the focal length you’ll be using.  In the case of the Rokinon, that’s 500/14 = 35.7.  This means I could make a 35 second exposure without the stars turning to trails.  I’d also want to keep it at F2.8 to maximise the light coming in, so the only variable to play with was the ISO.  I experimented with this over the course of the shoot, and ended up going as high as 1000, which didn’t bother the low noise output on the outstanding 5D Mk III.

Enough waffle – on to the results:

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I was so pleased, that I added a new Night Sky section to my online gallery.

Of course, the camera and the photography were a great excuse and motivator to get up into the mountains and take in all this celestial beauty, but can I think of a better way to spend a few hours with my son than sitting together looking at this?

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