“Big Dipper Over Fort Stewart”
“The Big Dipper wheels on its bowl. In years hence it will have stopped looking like a saucepan and will resemble a sugar scoop as the earth continues to wobble and the dipper’s seven stars speed in different directions.”
― Ann Zwinger
This past weekend, I spent a few evenings with my son, who wanted to try his hand at night photography. So, I made a few shots of my own. Night photography is not my area of expertise and I spent quite a bit of time simply ‘experimenting’. I’ve also never used my D800, so was checking to see just how different the sensor was compared with my D300, with which I had become quite comfortable a few years ago.
Conditions were not ideal, despite travelling to a “dark zone”, just east of our camper. Dark Zones are areas identified for their lack of light pollution and should be ideal places for astrophotography. I’ve included a map site if you are interested. On the evening that we travelled to nearby Fort Stewart, the moon was in an advanced waxing crescent, just high enough to light up the low clouds and obscure the fainter stars. Then, of course, the sky clouded up a bit and we had to wait for a few breaks. Add to that the plentiful mosquitoes, brought on by our wet summer, and that was the recipe we had to work with.
In the end, I ended up with a few interesting images, including this one of the Big Dipper, just above a line of trees, with the moonlight reflecting off the clouds. I have yet to see my son’s images. I’m hoping he was successful in what he hoped to capture.
Tamron 17-50 mm f/2.8 @ 17mm
15 sec, f/2.8 ISO 3200
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Nice shot Ed. I particularly like the trees in the foreground. The clouds have a nice sepia tone as well. I see by your photo notes that you had a 15″ shutter speed. In my experience, you can keep the shutter open for almost 20″ before the stars start to smudge. Locking up the mirror is also helpful to avoid unwanted vibration.
Stunning capture, Ed. Capturing the stars is something I’ve never been able to do. It almost looks as if the sky has the shadows of the trees on it.