Monday, 29 April 2019

Misty sunrise over Surrey

A nice bright misty forecast for dawn, so I set off to Virginia Water to find bluebells near the South car park.
Didn't find any, but got some lovely shots of the misty sunrise and Chobham Common shrouded in mist on the way there.

Chobham Common

Chobham Common

Chobham Common and the M3

Virginia Water sunrise

Virginia Water sunrise
(processed with just a touch of Orton effect)

Virginia Water sunrise
(processed with just a touch of Orton effect)

Friday, 26 April 2019

Spring Evening... Sunsets and star trails

After a fairly cloudy, damp afternoon, it looked like a nice sunset might be on the cards, so I headed out to Guildford to a field of oil seed rape I'd scoped out with the kids a couple of days earlier.
The sunset didn't disappoint, and with my son for company, we both got some great shots of the sunset over the glorious yellow field...

Surrey sunset over a field of oil seed rape

Later that evening (around midnight), with a clear sky, I headed up to the top of Curley Hill to get a star trail shot. Really pleased with the outcome- based on 30mins of shooting before a torch started coming towards me along the ridge.

Stacked in StarStax, with a fair bit or Lightroom work to reduce the light pollution from Bagshot and the M3.

90 x 20sec shots @ ISO3200 (total of 30mins exposure). Light painting done on the plinth for just a second or so, using my head torch

Friday, 19 April 2019

Hunting Bluebells

It's bluebell season and we headed to Guildford, to the Chantries, a well-known spot for bluebells.
An early start with the family, I got a couple of early morning sunrise/pre-sunrise shots around Guildford and from Pewley down before getting the bluebell shots once the sun had risen a little.

Pleased with the results, but I think the bluebells could do with being a bit more dense, or maybe I just need to get a lower vantage. Might give it another go later in the week.

Pewley Down Sunrise

Chantry Wood Sunrise

Pewley Down Sunrise with the family

Bluebells in Chantry Wood

Bluebells in Chantry Wood

Guildford Cathedral from Chantry Wood

Moon setting over the River Wey- Pre-sunrise

Sunrise over Surrey, from Pewley Down

Monday, 15 April 2019

Sunrises and sunsets in Fuerteventura

Combining family days out with late night/early morning astro shoots, I managed to get a nice collection of sunrise/sunset shots from a week in Fuereventura....

Dawn Milky Way over the East coast

Sunset lighting up clouds over the East coast

Sunset over El Cotillo beach on the West Coast

Sunrise on the East coast after an overnight astro shoot. Love the "coffee bean" rocks on the beach.
20sec exposure, no filter needed as it was quite dark.

Sunrise over Caleta de Fuste beach (East coast) on the way home from an astro shoot.
Right out the back of our apartment.

Saturday, 13 April 2019

A night of astrophotography in Fuerteventura

A week's family holiday in Fuerteventura and I have been planning the weather/hire car combo for weeks!
As it turned out, I had to wait until the last night to get clear skies and access to a car so I could find some dark skies.
With just a little light pollution from a nearby village (Pozo Negro), the sky was very dark, with the entire Milky Way arch visible to the naked eye.
I took a tracked (4min @ ISO400) shot using my new MoveShootMove tracker, which turned out great.

Canon 77D, Sigma 10-20mm F4.0, 4mins @ ISO400 on MooveShootMove tracker
I then tried to get 4 more shots to get the full MW arch as a panorama, which seemed to work well, but once I got back home to edit, I noticed that the tracking is out after the first 2 shots, so the majority of the image has streaking stars. Oh well... Will be more careful next time!
Interesting to see the light pollution, even in a very dark area. The central glow is from a handful of streetlights in the nearby (2 miles) village and the glow on the left is from the large town of Calete de Fuste, about 10 miles away. There's no escaping those damn streetlights!

Canon 77D, Sigma 10-20mm F4.0, 5x 4mins @ ISO400 on MooveShootMove tracker, then stitched into a panorama using Microsoft ICE (PTGUI couldn't manage it!)

I also tried a 9xshot 20s @ ISO3200 and stacked using Sequator. Quite pleased with the results and it's good to compare quality with the tracked shot...Also got a similar one of the hire car under the MW.

Canon 77D, Sigma 10-20mm F4.0, 9 x 20sec @ ISO3200, stacked on Sequator
Canon 77D, Sigma 10-20mm F4.0, 9 x 20sec @ ISO3200, stacked on Sequator

As dawn was breaking, I headed to the coast and got this last shot of the Milky Way hanging on as dawn breaks..

Canon 77D, Sigma 10-20mm F4.0, 4 x 20sec @ ISO3200, stacked on Sequator

All in all, a great night and I'm pleased with how much I've squeezed from my mid-range kit, just by using all the tools available (tracking, stacking....etc).

Tuesday, 9 April 2019

Dark skies in Fuerteventura

On the way home from a trip to the North of the island, we stopped off at the Windmill (next to the observatory) to try to capture some of the clear, dark skies in the centre of the island.
There was a bit of cloud floating about, but I'm please with this shot, with the moon and Orion centre stage.

Canon 77D, Sigma 10-20mm F4.0, 4 x 20s @ ISO3200, stacked in Sequator

Monday, 1 April 2019

Missed opportunity?

Had every intention of going down to Dorset last night for what was forecast a super-clear night, with MW and no moon.
Work/family balance got the better of me and I switched off the alarm at 2am and went back to sleep. I can always go later in the week, eh?
Unfortunately, the rest of the week is now cloudy. Oh well. At least I'm well-rested.