Tonight I noticed some mentions of an Aurora storm going on and being visible as far south as Tayside. With that I grabbed my camera and took a quick test shot out of my bedroom window.
Imagine my surprise to see what the camera picked up while there was lights from a few neighbours houses. Sadly I couldn’t go far, as I had the car battery on charge so I grabbed the tripod and a warm jacket before heading off to see what I could see. I really should have taken a torch but forgot so ended up wandering around the fields/country lanes out the back of my house on the edge of Dundee, not easy to change settings etc in the dark! That’s my excuse for not really liking these images but I share them anyway for anyone else that didn’t manage to see it for themselves.
Here is a selection of the images I got tonight:
I even managed a couple of selfies:
Last night was another outing with the good folks of PK Perspective and Robert Garside Photography where we all headed to Auchmithie. This is the second time we have headed here for an evening shoot and again we discovered that it isn’t the best location for sunsets. However, it is a good location of long exposures with the movement of the water over the rocks and pebbled beach so when I heard that was where we were going I knew I was in trouble due to having no filters and it being a sunny day. But with this in mind I came up with a plan – there is a MachineMart near where I work so I nipped in and picked up some welding glass to see how well that would work as a replacement for a 8 or 10 stop ND filter.
So with a £3.50 something piece of glass off I went:
Turns out that it works ok, it’s not brilliant in that the colour cast it gives means all the images look very flat and it takes a lot of editing to bring that back whilst at the same time brightening most of the image. But as an emergency filter it does its job, without I could only get exposures of up to 1/4th of a second and with it I could get up to 25 seconds. I say up to 25 seconds but I discovered around exposures of between 8-15 seconds worked better. This is because how the glass fitted my Cokin filter holder meant there was a gap between the lens and the filter so light was getting in there after bouncing off the wrong side of the glass so giving a weird effect on the images. This is one of the worst examples I got:
I have thought of a solution to this (i.e. to fill/cover this gap) but in the future I will simply avoid doing longer exposures than 10-15 seconds. But one thing I have learnt is that I need to get myself a proper set of good quality filters as they are essential for any daytime long exposures.
I also took other images I took whilst there and without the welding glass:
While we were there we kept our eye on this very suspicious character who seemed to be taking an age to work out how to use a camera of some description!!! (I say camera but it had “NIKON” etched onto it so I don’t believe it’s a camera at all)
A selection of these images will be uploaded to my Photo4Me account shortly
Dundee was just hit by some stormy conditions (Tay Road Bridge closed most of the day, many houses in The Ferry without power) and my initial thought – long exposure images of the waves/clouds. That’s right I decided to head out into those conditions with the camera and boy it was very windy and very very cold but boy it was worth it:
Finally a clear sky this week. I’d been waiting almost a week to try out an idea I’ve had so I was happy enough with a cold frosty night as it gave me the clear sky I needed.
Seeing as I live on the edge of Dundee and only have fields behind my house the sky is much darker than in a town or city making it easy to see the stars. Because of this I wanted to see if I could get a star trail image from within my own back garden.
The plan then was to set up the camera pointing at the sky and leaving it for, hopefully, an hour or more. The hopefully is because I had no idea how long the batteries would last being out in the cold. It turn out to be much longer than expected and even after 1 hour and 40 minutes there was still power left. But I figured 1 hour 40 minutes worth of 30 second exposures would be enough to see if the plan worked or not.
One thing noticeable is the effect the moon had once it came up, below is the first shot taken before the moon rose and the second is the last when the almost full moon was well and truly out (the temperature really cooled down):
It appears that I also managed to accidentally capture a passing of the ISS (International Space Station) in one exposure, seen in the bottom right hand corner:
Anyway the final image from stacking the 180 exposures looks like this:
What’s the chances I managed to point the camera towards the North Star? In truth I had no idea where it was pointing but seeing the final image I know it was facing the North Star, because the stars revolve around it creating the circular motion.
Yes the images are a little dark, the shed isn’t very sharply in focus and there are a few other little issues I need to work on, but for a first attempt I am happy with the result and will be giving this another go when I get the opportunity. Hopefully I’ll manage at least 2 hours next time – watch this space.
As much as I’m looking forward to summer with the warmer days and lighter evenings, this week I was glad the evenings are so dark. That is because I finally got to go on a shoot I had been planning since before Christmas and thanks to the good folks at the Falkirk Wheel, who kindly allowed us access after hours, I got to see and shoot a structure I’ve been meaning to visit for a long time.
The reason why I wanted to shoot this amazingly well engineered structure in the dark? Because it is light with colour changing lights which can change the mood as the colour changes as well as highlight different sections. The down side to this is I ended up with a lot of images as most compositions were repeated multiple times in order to capture the differing light and colour. That is an issue I am willing to live with.
Other downsides to going at night in winter is that the wheel doesn’t turn at night and it was very cold. But this didn’t dampen the mood and it is somewhere that I can see myself going back to visit either during the day to see it turn or again at night to try out other shots and I would highly recommend it to others too.
After a full week of very cold but dry weather I made to take a trip to North Queensferry hoping to get some images I’ve been wanting to get for some time. Unfortunately the weather turned and the trip was cut short due to rain. But despite the rain I managed to get some shots I’m happy with:
Also enroute I stopped off to get some other shots I’ve been wanting to try for a long time, long exposures from above a busy road. I’ve never found an opportunity or had the time to stop off somewhere to try this before but I had a spare 5 minutes so this is what I got:
Another evening shoot with the folks from PK Perspective. We had high expectations of a really nice sunset, but sadly this wasn’t to be the case. As soon as we entered Glen Turret the clouds rolled down the glen towards us leaving us in a landscape lacking much colour and getting dark quickly.
Sadly it seems that the nights are drawing in and winter doesn’t seem that far away. This meant I didn’t really capture anything that I was that happy with and we all ended up heading home much earlier than planned.
Here is a few of what I took: