Moonlight Bay

Following on from my last post, this is a short edit showcasing my day of scouting followed by a night of shooting under a 62% moonlit sky. No surprises the stars were massively washed out, however the trade off being the rugged sandstone coast I was on was brilliantly illuminated. Spending so much time out under the stars where the moon is completely absent, so dark that even with night adjusted eyes you can’t see your hand in front of your face , it was really a pleasant change. Anyway, hope you enjoy this clip of a very special part of Australia’s coastline.

Coastal Moonscape

With the majority of my night photography I am looking for the clearest of dark skies. Usually this means very intentionally avoiding the moon and any sort of cloud cover where I can. I’ve been visiting family on the coast for the past few weeks and was excited to visit some of my favorite coastal spots. Knowing bad weather was due to set in for days, I took the opportunity to get out and take some shots while I had the clear skies. As usual, I scouted during the day with plans to return that night. The big drawback though was the 62% moon that was going to be present for the entire time I was out. I almost didn’t take my full kit, thinking the washed out sky was going to be too large of a degradation to do any serious photography. How wrong I was, it was so refreshing to get a different perspective on the night with the spectacular coast taking on a very different persona under the illumination of the moon.

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Milky Way at 150mm with my MSM

So I’ve finally been getting a bit of use out of Move Shoot Move 2-in-1 Star Tracker & Rotator for actual star tracking sessions of late. I’ve used the rotator function of this device extensively, a function that to my mind almost justifies the cost of this device on its own merit. The star tracker however wasn’t quite working for me. With Australia being in the Southern Hemisphere, I had no bright pole star to align too even if the star pointer laser was legal. I went with the polar scope option with my purchase, however simply could not positively identify Sigma Octantis, the tiny magnitude 5.5 pole star for the Southern Hemisphere, through the scope no matter how hard I tried. I retired myself to the idea that I was going to have to make do with blind alignment using apps on my phone for a “near enough” polar alignment for which only wide focal lengths could be used without trails. To date, I have been quite pleased with how wrong I’ve been about this.

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