The conditions were perfect for gazing up at the celestial show; the air was cold, the sky was clear and the moon was new—waned to the point of non-existence; not even a visible sliver. The only light disturbance came from a distant radio tower and a yard light on a small farm across a large, recently harvested cornfield.
Taking pictures of the night sky is a bit trickier than, say, other things. There are a lot of variables that shifting angles and adjusting for light can’t fix. For instance, and for obvious reasons, there can’t be clouds in the sky. Also, the moon shouldn’t be waxing or waning, but new. A new moon decreases light disturbance, causing your stars to be brighter and more ubiquitous. In other words, a full moon steals the show from the true enthrallers, the stars. Moreover, in the fall and winter, the longer nights coupled with the cold and dry air additionally increases the chance for a great stargazing.
Last Friday night, the stars aligned and the conditions were like that mentioned above—perfect—so Ashley and I busted out the camera, drove up the gravel road and set up shop. It was the two of us, a little whisky for warmth, a Canon 5D Mark II and 35 MM lens. The results are below. This is our second time aiming the lens at the night sky, getting better each time.
Caution: these photos may cause you to ponder your own existence in the universe and/or watch a Star Trek marathon.
I hope you enjoy!
10-30 sec exposures