The preamble above is what my brain was screaming at me at 5am this morning. I was up for two reasons. I had noticed earlier the previous day that it would be a clear night so I set my alarm to wake up early to see if I could get some night shots. And second because someone thought it would be funny to blast music from his car stereo at 4.30am. Thanks mate that really helped.
My brain had just woken up and started complaining that it preferred a warm bed to a cold balcony. My feet were in agreement until I covered the complaining with warm socks and stepped out onto the balcony. Ooo bit bracing up here… Once I saw the Moon and surroundings I quickly stepped back in to grab my kit.
The ears had prepared a 10 page document on why they should remain behind. Ears are good at listening but not that good at debate so they thought better of it as I strapped the Canon 24-105 f4L lens to the tripod and sighted up on the moon. I pulled back to 24mm to get more of the surrounding area in the shot for reference.
I found out later after using a program called Stellarium that the bright dots above the Moon are Jupiter, Mars and Venus.
Next up was the turn of Lazarus, the Sigma 70-200mm f2.8. He hasn’t seen too much work since I got the Canon 24-105 f4 recently but this time I wanted to see how this lens would work in extreme low light. The Canon at f4 was good but with an aperture of f2.8 this should be better.
I used the lens collar to spin the Sigma round for a portrait shot. Shame other smaller lenses don’t have this feature as it is very handy. Zooming in to 200mm produced a lot of camera shake even when the tripod was braced with my rucksack suspended underneath so I pulled back to 70mm for a more steady shot.
Ignoring the nagging doubt of my legs who also wanted nothing more than to return to a horizontal position, I wrapped up warm and took only the bare kit for a trip to a local park.
I packed only the 70D, the Sigma 10-20mm f3.5 and the tripod and headed out into the cold October morning. Arriving at the park I noticed how quiet it was.. and how dark it still was. Safety first of course so I stayed in view of the road and in view of the security camera (which I hoped was working) pointing towards me across from the car park.
There was a slight low hanging mist around and dew on the grass. Looking around I noticed that the constellation of Orion was waving at me.He is a bit of a diva so I had to take his picture first. ‘Is that a scabbard or are you pleased to see me?’ didn’t make him smile at all so I just took the picture and ignored any further waving. If you look to the top right of the frame you can see the Pleiades cluster, more commonly known as the Seven Sisters.
Turning back to the road I could see the cluster of planets above the moon getting higher in the sky, clearing the trees in front of me. I spent a few minutes think about how I would shoot this. Close up? Wide angle? From over 1500 light years away Orion shouted ‘Panoramic you fool!’ OK thanks verymuch you mythological, anthropomorphic entity, I will try that.
Setting the Sigma 10-20mm on the tripod, I framed up close to where Orion was desperately waving for my attention. I shot only four frames in total, two of which forms the panoramic below. Two was enough as it shows the brightest part of the sky in front of me.The rest were dark houses and trees.
One thing I have just noticed in the top left of this frame is the constellation of Ursa Major, mostly know as the Big Dipper or the Plough.
Returning back home I made a cup of tea and started to edit the files. As normal I made many versions before settling on the ones above. However the panoramic had me torn between colour and a black and white version.