Saturday, November 20, 2010

Night Creature

I've always been completely fascinated by what some photographers can capture at night, especially with no artificial lighting whatsoever. Quite frankly a lot of the photos I see make me very jealous of what they are able to do.

So, if you can't beat them, join them!

My wife made me aware of an upcoming meteor shower that was to take place that night, and should be visible if the skies were clear. I live in an area with substantial light pollution, so only on the clearest of nights can you see the stars well. As the meteors would be best visible and active in the dead of night (around 3-4:00am)I checked the weather, and conditions looked promising. Making all the necessary preparations, I set myself up to wake up at 4:00, take an hour long exposure, while I slept, and wake up again at 5:00 to stop it before the 90min before sunrise mark (which is enough light to completely wash out the stars).
When I woke up, everything went according to plan, the sky was crystal clear and there was very little wind. I set up, and ran back to bed for another hour...or so I thought.
My alarm, for reasons not clear to my brain at the time, went off at 6:00 and I could see it was already getting much brighter out. I scrambled downstairs to see if the exposure was ruined. Yes. The whole thing was completely pink, with no stars, and definitely no meteors.*
I was not happy....and there may have been a few choice words uttered on my way back up to bed.

I kind of stewed about it throughout the day, and told myself I'd make it up by taking some good photos on my upcoming trip to the white mountains. However, Andrea convinced me to give it a go again, on the off chance the meteors were still around, and probably just to make myself feel better about executing a shot that I wanted to get.

Well, there were no meteors to be found, but the shot still came out interesting. This was later in the morning, so the creeping light added an interesting effect. i can do much better, I know it...but that will come with practice, and patience.

*(For those who don't know, leaving your camera's shutter open for a long time is kind of like making it a sponge for light. Every bit of light it sees it soaks in, so if it sees too much, that light will basically override the much fainter light of things like the stars, etc).

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