Lunar Illumination

Recently spent some time in Beechworth in North Western Victoria following the lifting of our second COVID-19 induced lock down. Not an ideal time of the lunar cycle for Milky Way photography with the moon at its brightest, however having so few opportunities to get out this year and being in a new place, I made the most of it anyway. Probably worked out for the best anyway as the illumination provided by the near full moon meant navigating my way around unfamiliar ground much easier. Would love to get back during a new moon during Milky Way season, some really spectacular foreground compositions to be found in this region.

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.

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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