Stars, Butterflies and Black & White

As the weather was nice, I took a half day on Friday and headed down to Dorset to camp for the night - the annual Perseid meteor shower was due to peak on Saturday night but I'd seen that the forecast wasn't great for then so tried to make the most of Friday. And it was well worth it - the skies were fantastically clear and I had a great view of the stars - and managed to see probably 20 Perseids over the course of a couple of hours until the moon rose just after 1am. This is the International Space Station And so is this - would have been a far better picture if I'd taken a bit more time to think about it and compose it properly. This is the only shot I got that includes a Perseid. I must have taken about 50 photos of the sky but this is the only one that caught something. Not as easy as...
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More stars

I got the opportunity to take some more star photos at the weekend when I camped in deepest darkest Dorset. This was better than France as there was no moon and even less light pollution - there were an incredible amount of stars on display. Tweaking the images a bit in Lightroom showed one thing - there is a huge amount of information hidden in those images. Check out the two copies of one image below - one as it came out of the camera, the other with auto-levels applied. The two long exposures were about 45 mins and have come out really well, but I think I need to experiment a bit more with the short exposures. 2 minutes at ISO400 is producing just a bit too much movement in the stars and makes the image look out of focus, so I probably need a shorter exposure - but that means a higher ISO and therefore more noise. More experimentation required...
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Starry Starry Night…

After an unsuccessful attempt at photographing stars in Dorset in May (see previous post), I was determined to have another go in the dark skies of rural France while on holiday. And I have to say, it went quite well. The new batteries did the job and I was able to take some very long exposures. The first two are 687 and 3642 seconds (yes, an hour), while the others were taken on a couple of nights a week or so later and are 30 seconds to a couple of minutes. The only problem was that there was quite a full moon on the later days which reduced the amount of stars you could see. I experimented with lighting the trees in the foreground by the simple method of shining a torch onto them. Coming home yesterday, the view from the middle of the English Channel was excellent while the view of the skies over Hampshire while driving back from Portsmouth was superb....
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Dorset

We spent a couple of nights in Dorset last week - the first night happened to coincide with the 20th anniversary of our moving in together, which was nice. We stayed in Burton Bradstock on the Jurassic Coast, also the home to Billy Bragg. I thoroughly recommend the B&B we stayed at - Chesil Beach Lodge. We didn't really do much for the time we were there, not venturing away from the beach during the day and no further than the village for dinner in the evening. I also took quite a lot of photos... The sandstone cliffs are really photogenic, particularly when combined with a blue sky and some light cloud. This is a fence that's been built on top of the cliff to stop people using the old bit of the coastal path - erosion and rockfalls mean that the cliff edge tends to move inland somewhat, and there's quite a drop over that edge. Due to enjoying dinner, we didn't quite...
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