Saturday night the skies were clear and the night was supposed to be warm (it actually got quite cold!). So I set out with two others to scout a new dark sky site for the Canberra Astronomical Society. They took their scopes but I thought I might continue to experiment with my DSLR and see what sort of shots I could get in the new location.This was the first shot of the night. Very pretty with Venus in the centre, next to Scorpius, and a faint view of the Milky Way in the background. The glow in the background is the last of the sunset. Settings f4.5, ISO800, 10mm lens, 20 second exposure.
I then thought I might see what star trails would look like. I had a short exposure because I wasn’t ready to set and leave all night, but I just wanted to see what it might look like with the background. Settings: Settings f4.5, ISO100, 10mm lens, 554 second exposure (9:25 minutes).
I quite liked the effect of the previous photo, and wondered if the sky would remain the same colour or begin to get washed out by the Milky Way if I had a longer exposure. I was also worried about the possibility of increased noise and overexposure. The longer exposure did alter the background, making it lighter as it blurred the Milky Way. Still, it’s a pretty nice image. Settings: f4.5, ISO100, 10mm lens, 1800 second exposure (30:00 minutes).
I then turned to another part of the sky – and took some shorter exposure images. This was one of the best – you can see the LMC and the SMC to the left. Settings: f4.5, ISO 3200, 10mm lens, 46 second exposure.
They are the images that I’m happiest with from the night. Here’s one that I wasn’t happy with. I was photographing in a dark area of sky, no Venus, sunset, or Canberra ‘glow’ to light it up. It was so dark – but I didn’t want to lengthen the exposure, I was looking for stars, not star trails. So I upped the ISO to 6400 with an exposure of 19 seconds. It’s very noisy (grainy) just doesn’t have any nice ‘features’ that stand out.
Lastly here’s a image of our setup and location for the night! The ‘glow’ in the background is from Canberra – which is about 45 minutes from the site. It’s a nice shot – you can see the beautiful view, the LMC and the ‘track’ left by an aircraft to the left of the image.
Now that was a fun night! Next I’m just going to see if I can get some more star trails – this time for a bit longer, they seem to be turning out quite nicely so far.