Sutton Bank Stars - 11 January 2015

Since gazing in complete awe at the night sky in New Zealand I have always wanted to have a go at photographing stars.  Last weekend I discovered that Sutton Bank is a designated Dark Sky so I couldn't resist the urge to visit as soon as there was a clear night.

Last night was IT.   Daylight takes a few hours to fade from the horizon so I arrived at 7.00pm which was 3 hours after sunset.  Was it dark? I should say so!  I hadn't realised how difficult it would be just composing each photo as I literally couldn't see anything through my LCD live view screen so I aligned my torch with the lens to get a rough idea what was in range and then made amendments with other shots if I needed to make changes.  Consequently I didn't fiddle much with the controls.  I shot on f4 at 17mm for between 20 to 30 seconds.  That was it really.  Point and shoot.  I didn't attempt any start trails but I would like to try them on a still night.

Even though it appeared to pitch dark, (and it was), my photographs show that there is still a lot of ambient light around in the sky.  Timing long exposures to avoid car light trails was also a challenge as the location is on a major route across North Yorkshire.

Fortunately the paths were extremely smooth and clear as they are built for wheelchair users but night time photography in the middle of nowhere isn't something you should do on your own.  I'll definitely need to enrol a buddy if I want to venture off path.

Was it worth it?  Oh yes!  Even though there was quite a bit of wind the stars were wonderful and bright.  I found the experience as invigorating and exciting as a good sunrise and one I shall definitely repeat.