Last night, Steve and I heard tale of large chunks of rock falling into the Earths atmosphere. Objects with so much potential falling and burning really reminded us of ourselves, so we thought we’d go and photograph it.
Now it’s been a while since we’ve been out on a night dedicated to taking pictures. Sure we’ve been about and happened to take pictures, but it’s been a while since we’ve been out and focused on nothing else than taking pictures.
One thing I had forgotten about night photography is how fucking annoying it is. like seriously. Even in the summer you’re just stood in the cold getting shit picture after shit picture. Steve seemed much more content than me, but then he was probably getting good pictures. Or as I like to call them, cosmic windows to disappointment.
Although there weren’t many pictures of the meteor shower, there where some terrible landscape photos, and one or two not so terrible landscape photos.
Before I move on to the pictures I should mention I had almost completely forgotten how to use a camera, and the wide angle lense I was using only shot autofocus. Meaning I had to hold my hand in front of the camera to even get the shutter going, then rapidly guess the focus once the picture had started.
This first pictures a little dark, owing to the fact I was going by the light meter on the camera which is a little off.
The Second attempt was still pretty dark, but getting closer to seeing stars!
The third attempt I was starting to feel a little happy about, the trusty old van is looking nice in the foreground, and you can really see a few of the stars coming through.
Once we ventured away from the car park we were free of the glaze from cars headlights. on top of Butser hill there was a pretty cool view towards the city.
In the next few pictures you’ll see how wrong it went as I played around with the aperture and shutter speed. I started with the aperture at 4.5 with a 30 second exposure and managed to get a few stars in the shot, but a little to dark.
For the next photo I went up to an aperture of 22. of course this would mean leaving the shutter open for much longer which could mean you’d actually start to see the stars moving across the sky. My hope was that you wouldn’t see this unless you zoomed right into the picture, and also the extra sharpness from the higher aperture would go some way to forgiving my inability to focus. This time all of that went out the window as I left the shutter on thirty seconds instead of using the shutter release. The result was expectedly dark.
The next photo was also at F22, but this time the shutter was open for 76 seconds, still pretty dark and almost no stars.
The next photo was again F22, but this time the shutter left open for 127 seconds. Still incredibly dark, and this is probably the point i started getting frustrated at just how much guess work was involved.
Figuring F22 was slightly too high, I scaled it back a bit and went for F13 at a shutter time of 125 Seconds. Getting a little brighter but still too dark. You can start to see that the city lights are looking quite sharp, the high aperture and length of exposure mean the jerking of the camera from changing the focus after the shutter starts isn’t really noticeable. something that becomes noticeable once I drop the aperture and exposure time again.
The last attempt at the city landscape, this time dropping to F4 and a 30 second exposure. You can see more stars, but also see the doubled layer of city lights, probably from moving the camera to focus once the shutter had started.
Moving on to a new scene. and a blurry start!
That one lasted long. Moving on to a mast at the top of Butser Hill that made the foreground just a little more interesting. Again a lot of playing around with settings and a healthy amount of guesswork until we get to a passable shot!
I quite like that last one, everything’s pretty well focused, Steve’s head is in shot, and I think that might be a little shooting star by the trees!
Below are a few more attempts with some trees in the foreground. Again, a lot of guesswork and playing with the settings to get a good shot!
At the point, I started playing with the white balance settings. I had left it on auto up ’til now, which had brought out on the real colours, but I wanted those blue and purple hues that made night shots look all pretty. Once I found it, I carried on snapping with the same level of success, or lack of it, as before.
So there we have it, another night of frustration a disappointment. I wouldn’t say I was overly happy with any of the pictures, just slightly less disappointed with some than others. But in my experience that’s what a lot of photography is, finding a load of shots that just aren’t right until you find out what is.
I didn’t find out what was right, but that just makes me more determined to try again.
Or put’s me off ever taking a photo again.
Either way, Bye.