Saturday, 2 April 2011

South Georgia night sky

There have been a few stunning nights recently, clear and crisp with just the most stars I think I have ever seen visible. The moon was also impressive earlier in March, being at it’s closest to the Earth in 18 years. These were obviously good opportunities for some night time photography, and I am slowly perfecting my techniques and getting used to what settings yield the desired results. Below are some of the photos I’ve taken so far.

20101115-DSC_5551 One of my first night photos
10mm 32s f/4 iso3200

20101121-KEP-trails-10-11-20 Added foreground interest in the way of King Penguins
94 combined exposures at 10mm 32s f/4 iso400 (52min total)

More King Penguins and trails
61 combined exposures at 10mm 32s f/4 iso400
foreground a separate 10mm 32s f/4 iso400 with flash burst

Having a go at ‘painting with light’ has always been an interesting idea to me. With a perfect evening looking possible I headed out into Grytviken with Sam the base doctor. We decided that Albatross and Diaz were in a good position to get the trails behind so set up our cameras and waited for it to get dark. As the light dimmed we had a play with our torches, and got fairly good at achieving an even illumination. Trying not to illuminate the grass was tricky, as was avoiding silhouetting ourselves against the ships, hopping around in the dark avoiding seals, rocks and lumps of tussac was quite amusing!

20110309-DSC_3973_trails-Edit 100 combined exposures at 10mm 32s f/4 iso400 (55min total)
Albatross and Diaz were lit using a torch in one frame

Perigree moon 
The full moon above Mt. Duse, 70mm 1.3s f/7.1 iso200

Perigree moon
The giant full moon, 500mm 1/640s f/8 iso200

100ish frames at 10mm 32s f/5 iso400

Having the moon rising into the shot caused some issues with it’s brightness, but I think I managed to control it OK. In total I took 161 frames but towards the end condensation formed on my lens fogging and ruining the images. Fortunately because they are separate exposures I was still able to use the rest of the images, something that wouldn’t have been possible with a single long exposure.

20110325-DSC_4457 10mm 30s f/6.5 iso1600

We had a day of gales, sleet and snow, some of which remained on the mountains for a couple of days. I was doing my late rounds (checking everything on base was OK) and the sky was clear and the mountains lit by the moon, I had to pop back and grab my camera.

Milky way pano2
Just before the moon rose the Milky way was stunning
2 frames vertical panorama merged 10mm 80s f/4 iso800

Moonrise, 11mm 76s f/4.2 iso560

20110327-DSC_4511Textured moon, 500mm 1/60s f/6.3 iso560

164 frames at 10mm 32s f/4 iso560 (90min total)

Looking forward to a winter of still clear nights, snow, star trails and painting with light in the whaling station :-)

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