Home Forums Open Talk What got you into Nighscape-ing?

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  • #3379
    Marybeth Kiczenski
    Photog Adventures Team
    • February Milky Way | 2018 Icon
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    Howdy all!

    Figured I’d test out the forum section with a the question of :
    What got you into the world of nightscapes and milky way photography?

    For me, it started as more of an accident. Was out one night on the way home from a car club meet, and attempted to take a photo of the stars. It was really terrible, as I had no idea what I was doing – but once I saw that milky way (and i wasn’t even sure if it was correct), I was hooked! It escalated from there. Now that first year, I only went out a few times here and there, just to try it out. It wouldn’t be until 2018 where it went full throttle. I consider last year my first real year of chasing, as I dedicated a ton of time and resources to it. I’ve honestly learned more about myself, and cameras in this past year then the last 10 or do years of playing with photography combined. I absolutely love the unique challenges that long exposure night photography gives you. Anyways, glad to be here and looking forward to everyone else’s stories and images.

    #3385
    Kirk Keyes
    Admin
    • October Milky Way | 2018 Icon

    Great question, Marybeth!
    For me, I grew up during the space race of the 60s. I’d watched the first men on the moon live, looked for SkyLab as it flew over, and watched the US astronauts shake the Soviet’s hands live on Apollo-Soyuz.
    So I started with time lapses of cars and skies and shaky handheld shots through my 3″ untracked reflector telescope that I bought from the Edmunds Scientific catalog. (it was my favorite thing to read in 6th grade!) All on Ektachrome 64. By the time I was in high school, Ektachrome was up to 200 and I again tried some star trails. Very cool! A few years later, I was shooting large format with 4×5 and 8×10, and I tried a few star trails with them and Fujichrome 100.

    About 2006, I bought my first digital, the Sony a100. Flipping through an Outdoor Photographer magazine, I saw some shots of the Milky Way. I immediately ran outside with my a100 and tried a star trail and saw it had huge amounts of sensor bloom. It was not going to be good for astro. A few years later, I bought an a77 and tried with it too. It could do shots to about 1600 ISO at 30 seconds and not look too bad. But all I had were slow f/4 lenses and it was still not what I was wanting.

    When the a6000 came out, I saw how well it did in low light, and immediately got one and bought a new to the market Rokinon 24 f/1.4. And I was impressed! That combo could do Milky Way shots!

    Finally, after decades of wanting to capture the Milky Way, I’d done it! From there, it was an easy move into shooting nightscapes, as I’d always been dragging exposures from blue-hour into the night. But now I could shoot all night long!

    #3447
    theresar
    Participant
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    I took a night photography workshop led by Andy Porter on Mount Baker. Froze my butt off BUT I actually got a (bad) image of the aurora (more than one bad image actually). Then part of the photography class I was taking was on night photography (with no ISO more than 200 allowed!). It wasn’t stars and I still loved it. A couple months later I started doing what I could in our front yard and we started traveling to different places especially for night sky photography. And I still practice in my yard when I can’t get to somewhere else.

    #3497
    Kirk Keyes
    Admin
    • October Milky Way | 2018 Icon

    That’s cool, Teresa! I bet Mt Baker is a great place to learn night photography. Last time I was there my daughter was 6 months old, so no night photography for me on that trip. And I was shooting 4×5 Fujichrome 100 then too. That gives you an idea how long ago that was!

    #3510
    Hijynx
    Participant

    No Achievements Yet!

    It was a mix of natural stupidity and dumb luck I guess. I have spent my whole life fascinated by just about every topic to do with the sky and what is in it. I walk around with my nose to the sky in absolute awe of its beauty. I have developed insomnia by having a few small children and was up late one night just flicking through YouTube clips and came across a Milky Way time lapse. I was blown away and watched it over and over. I have never owned a camera and so it never occurred to me that a mere mortal you could photograph the milky way. I thought you had to be an astronomer. It was love at first sight I guess.
    I have only at the beginning of my starry adventure but very glad I have started.

    #3652
    Kirk Keyes
    Admin
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    That’s a great story, Hyjinx! You’ll have lots of fun with this endeavour!

    #3686
    photos by chris
    Participant
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    For me, like Kirk, I grew up in the 60’s space race and my dad was literally a rocket scientist. My dad who worked on top secret missile tracking and defense, later to become SDI, would often wake us kids up at ungodly hours to witness missile launches from Vandenberg AFB. Always had an interest in the sky, space, meteorology. On family camping trips to the Eastern Sierra I would find myself away from the campfire laying on a rock to view the naked eye Milky Way. For photography, my first foray into any level of photography was an 8th grade elective where we shot and darkroom delveloped our own film. Later in high school, I purchased my firs SLR camera, a Canon T-50 film camera. I attempted to shoot sunsets and landscapes with that camera but never became a photog of any skill. My first digital SLR was a Sony A300 in 2009, that camera could shoot clean up to about iso 200… Any way, at that time I was frequently camping in the California desert for motorcycle trips with my friends and my family. Again I found myself wandering the desert to view the night sky. Probably my first photo that started to get me “hooked” was on one of those moto trips. I made some attempts with the a300 and kit lens that netted crap, but in one of my first crap photos, I spotted Andromeda and was stunned. The chase began… first foto that had stars for me...

    #3772
    Marybeth Kiczenski
    Photog Adventures Team
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    Great stories, everyone! I love hearing them. 🙂

    #3836
    Kirk Keyes
    Admin
    • October Milky Way | 2018 Icon

    Hi Chris! I love your story! So cool to have a dad that was a rocket scientist!
    Your story reminds me of visiting my cousins who lived in Camarillo around 1970 and being up late to see a launch. I think it was scrubbed as I don’t remember actually seeing one go up. But I remember going by Vandenburg.

    #8251
    JGL
    Participant
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    I grew up in the North East always intrigued by space and the stars, but being in the North East there was close to 0% chance of seeing much of anything through the light pollution. Then in 2012 i got My first ILC and started exploring photography. It wasn’t until we moved to Texas in 2014 and subsequently booked a trip to Big Bend National Park(BBNP) that i discovered Night photography. Looking through pictures of BBNP i saw some milkyway shots and knew that is what i wanted to get out of my trip. I had at that point a canon 6d, so i rented the rokinon 14mm and off i went. Through countless hours on youtube and reading up on the subject i got some decent shots(single exposures). Now i am on a constant mission to improve upon those by including better foreground interest and cleaning up the noise through stacking and other techniques. I also recently picked up a tracker that i cant wait to try out. Luckily here in Texas there are some places with some dark skies if you don’t mind a bit of a drive.

    • This reply was modified 7 months, 3 weeks ago by  JGL.
    • This reply was modified 7 months, 3 weeks ago by  JGL.
    #8481
    Kirk Keyes
    Admin
    • October Milky Way | 2018 Icon

    Hey JGL – thanks for your backstory! I love hearing these and seeing how many other people love shooting the night sky too! I’m looking forward to seeing some of your Texas skies, especially with the tracker. I bet they’ll look amazing!

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