On our last night on the Isle of Skye, we were sitting together in the living room of the vacation home and chatting about many different topics i.e. reviewing the just past week when suddenly the topic Astro Photography popped up.
When I started with photography back in the 1980s, I got a magazine in my hands having an image in it showing how the earth spun under the Northern Star, Polaris. I was fascinated at the first moment. I thought carefully, about how the photographer could have created that image, because there was no further information in the magazine.
- camera, able to keep the shutter open for a long time
- tripod to keep the camera in the exact position
- film – what kind and which ISO?
- cable shutter release with a screw to keep the shutter open (had to be bought at once)
So, that was the easier part. I opted for a slide file with ISO 400 and kept the shutter open for an hour. No problem at that time.
Surprise, surprise – the settings were guessed right and the spinning stars were on my slide as planned. Unfortunately, the lab decided to cut that slide because they assumed having an underexposed image in that place. Thus, I was still without such an image.
I took that image in a rural area, quite far away from my home. So, there was no option to retake it. Over time, I forgot it. But, on that night on the Isle of Skye, all these memories came back. I had everything with me. The only difference is the approach how to capture the starts. Back in film days, it was no problem to keep the shutter open for so long. Nowadays, you have to make sure, your sensor does not overheat. Therefore, you take many, many images of each 30 seconds or so and stack them in postprocessing. We were in a quite dark place on the Isle of Skye and had a clear sky. So, I set up my tripod, put my widest lens on my camera, and dialed in a timer to automatically do a series of 30-second long exposures for a total of about 15 minutes.
The image above is not perfectly aligned with Polaris, but I like it anyway.
Next week, I going to start a new series. You have the opportunity to choose:
a) Northern Wales – 70%
c) Norway – 10%
d) Graubünden (a Kanton in Switzerland) – 20%
Simply type your wish in the comments. I don’t trust the polling tool below very much.
Update: the poll tool seem to have worked. I put the results behind the options-