Change Is Hard

…but change is certain.

Elusive stars

25 Comments

You know I’ve been working on my night photography, right?. Well, I was lucky to be able to meet Heather, aka Snap Happy Gal, while I was up north. We met out on the beach long after sunset and she gave me a few pointers about night shooting even though the skies were cloudy and the stars were hiding.

A rock.  And too blue.  But still...

A rock. And too blue. But still…

I learned a lot, though I need much more practice before I can even begin to think I understand all of this.

But I didn’t get much time to practice night photography on this trip because, as you have seen in recent blog posts, we had days and nights filled with clouds.

Clouds rolling in.  Again.

Clouds rolling in. Again.

Lots of them. Luckily my last evening the sky cleared and I hoped there might be a chance.

I checked the sky at 10:30 and found stars! So I rushed down to the beach with my tripod and my camera and tried to figure out what there was to shoot. The milky way was directly overhead, making it difficult to include in a photo of much of anything.

Stars over trees.

Stars over trees.

But the Big Dipper, my star symbol for my dad, was out there over Lake Michigan.

Hey Dad!

Hey Dad!

It was pretty high in the sky, so it was hard to include it along with anything on the ground. But I tried.

A little trick with a flashlight...slightly overdone.

A little trick with a flashlight…slightly overdone.

I tried a lot. I struggled with the tripod in the sand. But I think I’ve almost got that figured out.

It was fun to be out on the beach late at night. Slight breeze, no mosquitoes. Not cold. Not hot. Just perfect.

Beach grass under the stars.

Beach grass under the stars.

Now I have to say these shots aren’t close to what I hope to do someday. There’s definitely a shake showing up, and I found it hard to focus on anything in the dark, but they are the next step toward fully understanding how to capture the magic.

Freighter slides through the night.

Freighter slides through the night.

I’ll be trying again, the next time I find myself outside in a dark place. I figured out a few more things about the tripod. And I’m getting more confident in the camera settings.

Thank you Heather for all the helpful tips!

Flagpole points to the stars.

Flagpole points to the stars.

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Author: dawnkinster

I'm a long time banker having worked in banks since the age of 17. I took a break when I turned 50 and went back to school. I graduated right when the economy took a turn for the worst and after a year of library work found myself unemployed. I was lucky that my previous bank employer wanted me back. So here I am again, a long time banker. Change is hard.

25 thoughts on “Elusive stars

  1. it really does help to have someone teach you hands on with the camera – I have been trying to learn to use my ‘fancy’ camera’ for ages – read all the blogs and help sites but it just doesn’t sink in – I think I need to find someone who can teach me one on one 🙂

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  2. Lovely photos! I do like the flagpole! 🙂

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  3. I think you’re doing great! Learning about the manual settings is a challenge.

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    • Yep it’s all a challenge. And then we get days and days and days of rain…and it’s not really dark here…though I’m thinking once the mosquitoes die I can go over to Katie’s park. It’s not open at night, but I could walk in there and get away from lights a little bit. Would take husband with me though because that would be just creepy back there alone.

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  4. That is wonderful stuff. I particularly loved Hi Dad. (As for me, there is no “too blue.” I digress.) Do you have one of those remote clicker thingies? I forget what they’re called – but Scott Thomas says they eliminate shake. The very best night skies tend to glitter in the coldest weather. I stand in awe until my fingers tingle.

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    • Yes I have one of those remote clicker things, and I even figured out where to plug it into the camera before I went up north and then I forgot to use it. Of course. I think I need to come back up in the winter and try again.

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  5. I LOVE these shots, Dawn — and it’s obvious how much you’ve learned (yeah, you!) I always think of my dad when I see the Big Dipper, too. Probably that’s because it’s one of the first constellations he pointed out to me when I was little. We never forget those early lessons … or the people who taught us, do we? You had a great night for star-gazing!

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    • I imagine a lot of people identify the Big Dipper with someone. And it’s one of the only really identifiable constellations. Plus my dad, as I’m sure your dad was on you as well, was a big influence on me.

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  6. I like that “Stars over trees” one a lot. And I know you will keep learning and getting better, too.

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    • That one fascinates me…because it looks like the stars stop in a straight edge and they didn’t. Not that I remember anyway. The trees over that way were the lot line between the property I was staying at and the neighbor to the north. In all the years I’ve been there I’ve never seen anyone in that house. There was no one there the whole time I was there this time either, until the night of clear skies, when the family was there with all the lights on. The entire house glowed while I was trying to photograph stars. Finally they went to bed about midnight. And it was after that that I pointed the camera in that direction and got this shot.

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  7. It’s comforting to see someone else struggling through a learning curve. (That first one of the lake and rocks is kinda cool.)

    I made my first attempt at photographing stars in August. I was in the light pollution glow of the Seattle metro area, but a darker part, and was surprised to get as many stars in my shots as I did. So that was the positive. After I got setup I discovered that somehow I ended up with only half of my wireless shutter release in the park with me, so had to use the timer. Then I discovered that my 3-way pan head tripod can’t point my camera anything close to straight up at the sky, only at a somewhat high angle. My pictures turned out ugly. But it was a first step!

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  8. You did get a fabulous “Big Dipper” shot, we do live in a pretty wonderful time for sharing information.

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  9. What a happy blog to be catching up on! These are wonderful – I’m especially fond of the warm and cool tones in the first one 🙂 Keep playing, and you’ll be happy with the magic you’re getting in no time.

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  10. Good for you Dawn! These are nice! I’ve tried with very little luck to get some star photography.

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  11. We love your pictures of the stars. Perhaps your Mom was dancing with the star? BOL

    Sherman & Gemini

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  12. I loved the blue rocks. And the freighter lights… thems aliens, I tell you.

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