Rodney Campbell's Blog

The Vortex

by on Nov.01, 2018, under Life, Photography

Soooo… another lifetime ago (back in April 2017) I went out for an astro shoot I’d been thinking of for some time – flash forward through the vortex…

I’d actually planned to shoot this with Gerry – do a little light painting first and then let the trails run. He was intending to come but had to do some family stuff first… and it went over and then… well he couldn’t make it in the end… which was probably lucky because by the time he would have arrived the clouds had started to roll in and killed the trails…

The Vortex

The Vortex

NIKON D750 + 12.0 mm f/2.8 @ 12 mm, 36 sec at f/2.8, ISO 640 x 211 Frames

Note: These photographs (especially the wider shots) look much better when larger. To see larger versions in an inline overlay slideshow gallery viewer click any of the images.

Here in Sydney it’s hard to shoot astro – the light pollution of Australia’s largest metropolis makes it almost impossible. The best we’ve found is to head to the coast in a less populated/dimly lit area and face east out over the sea to limit the effects of the light pollution in the sky

This method definitely doesn’t resolve the issue – in outback Australia with really dark skies I’d be shooting the frames at up to ISO 3200 and over a minute per frame and see MANY more stars – back in Sydney the most I could get away with here was at ISO 640

So here I am at an old bunker at the top of a cliff looking out over the ocean at North Head near Manly. We’re actually not that far from the heart of Sydney’s CBD but this is probably the darkest, most remote area this close to the city

I arrived just towards the end of twilight just before 6PM and spent the next hour and a bit doing some test frames. For this shoot I decided to try out the Laowa 12mm f/2.8 super ultra wide. It’s not reputed to be very good for straight astro shots (because of the extreme batwing coma it has around the edges) but for star trails that ‘aint gonna matter – in fact it might be beneficial (widen those trails)

Once I had my composition set (looking more south east here) I took a number of long exposure light painting frames that I’d later use to blend into my foreground

Then just after 7PM I kicked off the star trails frames and set to wait… a little over 2 hours and 211 exposures later the clouds had started to roll in and I knew it was all at an end…

This one is for you Gerry man – perhaps one day we’ll both go back and reprise this…

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