Rodney Campbell's Blog

Road Train to the Stars…

by on Aug.15, 2015, under Life, Photography

One of the things I had planned to shoot whilst I was on this trip was some wide stitched panoramas of the whole Milky Way arching over from horizon to horizon. Might as well start now…

I did a stitch of five (5) vertical frames using the fabulously sharp Samyang 14mm f/2.8 prime. The great thing about this lens is that it is fabulously sharp even wide open at f/2.8.

I also did a little light painting of the foreground during the frames to just slightly lift them out of the darkness.

Road Train to the Stars

Road Train to the Stars

NIKON D750 + 14.0 mm f/2.8 @ 14 mm, 36 sec at f/2.8, ISO 5000 x 5 Frames

I learnt a few new techniques this night.

I wanted to include the top of the arch of the Milky Way so I had to angle the lens upwards for the shots. As I don’t have a multi row pano head I couldn’t just rotate the head to take the shots – I basically had to just manually rotate the ball hoping to keep the vertical angle intact across the frames.

The second factor I had to deal with was how incredibly dark it was. Looking through the viewfinder it was pitch black. Even using the torch it was difficult to see anything in the distance so I had to learn how to guess just how far to manually rotate the camera to get the roughly 50% overlapping frames.

Lastly for this particular set I had to get myself and the tripod off the road in the middle of the sequence and come back later to complete :).

Out here it is so dark and quiet it is almost deafening :).

There are very few vehicles along the road at night but we do get some massive road trains.

The road train is an interesting thing. It consists of a relatively conventional tractor unit, but instead of towing one trailer or semi-trailer, a road train pulls two, three, four or more of them. It’s one massively long chunk of momentum…

Anyway it is so quiet you can hear any vehicle coming many minutes before it arrives, so I heard the truck coming a long time before I needed to get off the road but with 36 second exposures and fiddly manual recompositions between frames it takes a long time to complete the frames. I was facing up the road when the light came into view far far into the distance.

Not wanting to be smashed to oblivion like so many Roos on the side of the road I left the road in plenty of time :).

Even still moving off the road and back to roughly the same spot thankfully didn’t appear to cause any issues with the stitch.

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