I’ve been staying in Wales for nearly a fortnight now and every night I’ve hoped for a clear sky so I can do some astrophotography. I had a close call about ten days ago, when the skies looked clear so I drove up to the top of the hill and set up my camera and tripod. A couple of long exposures later it became clear there was still a thin layer of cloud partially eclipsing the stars. Without a breath of wind there was no point in hanging around in case things changed so I gave up and hoped for a better night.
This evening my luck finally changed. After our evening’s music finished I poked my head out of the door and realised I could see some stars – quite a lot of stars in fact! Instead of driving anywhere I strolled down to the end of the yard, far away from the house lights and looked up. What a sight met my eyes once they’d adjusted to the darkness! Living in a light polluted area you forget just how many stars there are above us – it’s truly awe-inspiring. I could even make out the milky way with my naked eyes – not as clearly as you see in photos, but there was definitely a denser band of stars above me. Aiming my camera I took a series of pictures, experimenting with different exposure times and adjusting my focus to ensure the pinpricks of light were sharp. Eventually I found the sweet spot was ISO6400, f2.8 and 25 seconds – long enough to capture the light from as many stars as possible, but short enough to stop them turning from specks of light into streaks. Mission accomplished!
6 October 2018