Rodney Campbell's Blog

Road Train to the Stars

by on Nov.04, 2018, under Life, Photography

OK… as I have just posted my “most recent” astro session (taken over 18 months ago !!) I figured I’d continue the trend…

Waaaay back in 2015 (over three years ago) I went on an epic seven week adventure with my youngest daughter and my grey nomad parents. We travelled around the remote north west corner of Australia (from Darwin to Perth). During that trip we were in some incredibly remote locations – some of the most remote and unpopulated in the entire world. The dark skies were soooo amazingly filled with stars. It was an astro shooters dream come true…

My parents have once again invited me to join them on what is “apparently” their last big trip around Australia. So next year I’m going to be back here once more, shooting those magical star filled skies

There were many images from our previous trip that I had never published. Therefore in anticipation of the upcoming journey I’m going to begin posting some of them now… a cosmic celebration of all that is astronomical…

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

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.

So here we are – our first night out of Darwin and definitely out in the wilderness. A small rest area (called Vince Connolly Crossing) on the side of the Victoria Highway in the middle of nowhere in the Northern Territory

This is a stitch of five (5) vertical frames using the astro fiend 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. 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. I heard the road train coming a long time before I needed to get off the road. However 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 (or rather remarkably!) didn’t appear to cause any issues with the stitch

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