Shooting in the dark

Went out on my first real shoot for 2020 last night. My wife was the one who suggested it, as unnoticed by me, the sky had cleared progressively during the evening. The Clear Outside app was showing zero cloud cover though to almost sunrise, I finally snapped out of it and started thinking of what I could shoot. I had just gotten warranty replacements (that is another topic) for a new 80cm motorised slider and a MSM rotator and was keen to give them a go. To give some context, the Australian night skies have been seriously tainted by the smoke coming from the unprecedented brushfires we’ve experienced since Spring, so going out shooting hasn’t exactly been at the forefront of my mind. Never the less this story quickly diverts into a series of setbacks that had me waste a huge amount of time.

Where to start. Well, guess it would be I had not one of my camera batteries charged, then it’ll likely be I had misplaced the new tripod basket I had gotten for the motorised slider controller, eventually getting out the door over an hour later than expected. The sensible thing from here would have been to reroute to a location close by rather than the one I’d had in mind which was a 35 minutes drive away, but nope, that didn’t happen. It was just past 11pm, which made it tight as I was looking to use the light from the 51% waxing moon to light the landscape which was due to set at 12:40am. All this and I was testing a new slider, rotator and two new lenses I’d never used at night before. Turned out about how you’d expect with neither the rotator or slider footage sufficiently usable as the moon set which completely trashed the exposure values I’d dialled in. Great, just the 35 minute drive home at 1am now I guess. Night was not a complete loss however, I managed to get my ever first star selfie which is now used on the about page. I also got some valuable hands on time with this new gear and still really enjoyed just being out under the stars again. From a lessons learnt, I’ll chalk this one up to what happens when you don’t have a plan for your night out shooting and fail to prepare for it.

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