Two or Three times each year we try to make it up to Maine to visit family and get away from the crazy of life. And while ‘getting away from it all’ is the goal, the gear and passion for shooting are never left behind. On a warm evening during last Augusts trip I tried my hand at some long exposure night shots across the lake. On a clear night at the end of the dock at our cabin you can easily see the Milky Way galaxy in all its badass glory. It’s truly awe inspiring…literally awesome!
A large print of this shot hangs in my home office and has been my computer background since then. For someone that really enjoys shooting people, spending an evening shooting the sky is hella relaxing and welcome!
This stuff just blows my mind. Some times I wish I would have been born a thousand years from now in the hopes that we’d have an easy way to visit deep space…
Last year NASA started a program to inform nerds like myself about when the International Space Station would be visible in the night sky to anyone interested in looking up. Here’s a link to the signup page if you’re feeling nerdy too. To me, it’s a super cool way to enjoy the amazing things I don’t have the time or knowledge to do myself (like get a Ph.D. in theoretical astrophysics). Watching the ISS sail quietly past on a starry night is about a perfect way to spend 6 spare minutes. Knowing that there’s people living on it, maybe taking a picture back down at the Earth at the same time I’m pointing my lens up…all that is just too cool!
In the long list of personal shoot projects shooting the ISS as often as possible is a new and exciting one. Two nights ago I finally got the gear around and my lazy ass up to go do it. And with a 6 minute pass I was able to get two different shots off in one sitting. On the technical side, there’s plenty I’ll do differently next time. Most importantly, make sure I have a fresh battery in my remote trigger! Doh! Bonehead move. I had to handhold the shutter release for each exposure…doable, but not fun or preferable. More so, having the remote to use would have ensured a more steady 2+ minute shot. Lesson (hopefully) learned.
The heavy line in each image here is the ISS. This first shot is pointed southwest. Of the other two lines in the image, the lower one is a plane…not sure on the upper one. Here’s the camera settings for anyone interested: 11mm, 400ISO, 2 minutes, f/9.
I think I like this second shot a little more. I like using the horizon for a visual reference, particularly when there’s some additional light (artificial or natural, I’m not picky) to play with. Unfortunately I opened the shutter a tad late. In this shot the ISS is flying away from the camera towards the horizon. I’ll try not to make that mistake in future attempts. Regardless, I still dig the shot. Here’s the nerdy details: 11mm, 400ISO, 3 minutes 10 seconds, f/9.
Thank you NASA (and other international space agencies) and the ISS astronauts for making these shots possible and keeping my sense of wonder and amazement grounded firmly in the stars.
Thanks for reading and feel free to share this if you dig it!