Tuesday, 29 November 2016

HPS "Night Out"

HPS 'Night Out' by Les Pickstock

On what turned out to be the coldest night of the year, Robert Devenish arranged an evening out to practise star photography. Six intrepid camera 'enthusiasts' (or as my wife says "nutters") managed to navigate their way into deepest Denbighshire alongside Aled Isaf reservoir. Four travelled early to try to take a sundown timelapse sequence, but it was a rather disappointing sunset as there were clear skies and little movement or drama.

Spot the member from this rogues gallery
Combating both freezing fingers (you try to manipulate your camera controls in pitch blackness and with cold fingers!) and misting lenses all established reasonable exposures with Robert's help, to both capture some foreground interest and the stars. Exposures seemed to hover around 30s at f5.6 when it was totally dark, so obviously everyone used a solid tripod.

However, with little foreground interest by the reservoir, Robert moved us uphill about 400 yards where a tree and sheep shelter could provide an anchor for taking star trail sequences. Whilst getting colder and colder (lenses mistier and mistier unless you had hand warmers to protect the lenses) this exercise was both practical and wondrous - being in such a dark sky area with a cloudless night provided views rarely seen from home. Though visible, the Milky Way was rather less dramatic than expected.

It will be interesting to see if any body's images/timelapse sequences show up in either competitions or on members' nights over the next few months: if so be sure to catch them. They should be both intriguing and fun. Why don't you give it a try?