This is a story about the first time I tried astro photography, back when I was living in Bali in 2015. I still enjoy looking at these photos so thought I'd share them with you. But you also need to know the story behind them, and well searching through old file on my computer I found this blog I wrote back in 2015. "It isn’t very often that I take up the opportunity to do something different with my photography. It usually takes another photographer inspiring me to break away from the comfort of the underwater world. This story is no exception.
Out on the boat between dives my friend Tom and I are talking when the conversation turns to very familiar subject; photography. Tom talks about how he has got into astro-photography recently and planned to go out that evening to take a time-lapse of the stars. “you can join if you want” He says.
At 5:30pm we meet and drive to a nearby bridge from which you have an amazing view of Mount Agung (the iconic volcano of Bali). Tom’s idea was to set up on the bridge but I thought it would be better on the river bank just below. Almost immediately Tom’s idea is abandoned as a large truck drives over the bridge causing everything to shake.
Once on the river bank we take a few shot of the pink sky, left behind by the fallen sun, before Tom sets up his time-lapse. Soon I turn to face the bridge and see how the light from the cars, bikes and trucks is lighting up the steal structure. It is beautiful, I have to take some pictures.
Turning my attention back to the sky; the stars are shinning bright now; I point the camera up and wait 30 seconds for the exposure to show on the LCD screen. It is black with just a few spots of white light. Not what I had been hoping for.
Tom is still thinking about the bridge and unable to use his own camera which is stuck in a time-lapse, he suggests I ascend to the bridge again to see if the shaking has any affect on the star images.
So I climb back onto the bridge. Within minutes I have discovered that the shaking is not enough to have a valuable impact on the image. But once again I am amazed by how the car lights make the steal shine. I get creative and use this to frame my little dots.
Eventually Tom gets so board he stops the time-lapse to find that the camera did not adjust the exposure correctly and everything is black. But on the positive side he can now join me in taking pictures of the night sky.
The first picture he showed me was unbelievable. With almost the same settings I was using on my Canon 7D he was getting much better exposed pictures with his compact Canon G16. This was not fair.
After some long discussions we decided it had to be my choice of lens or the fact that my model of camera is two years older. Either way to get the amazing star photos we see on National Geographic, I will need to invest in some new equipment.
But the night was not a complete loss I did get those stunning photos of the bridge."
I have since then brought new equipment and will soon be going out to shoot some astro shot again. Hopefully the next blog is a successful report...