Monday, October 29, 2007

The Dark Arts 5


As British summer time gives way to GMT again I bet that a few of you out there in the interwebby spaces between my life and yours were pleased with the extra hour in bed. Probably unable to see any obvious downside to the prolonged snooze. Pity then the poor amateur astrophotographer. When all the others are grabbing shuteye and being smug, I have to get up an hour earlier than usual to get the same shot as the day before. I preferred the darker mornings.
So at four a.m. today I leapt like a salmon from the stream of unconsciousness. Dashing to the window it was with a special joy that I noticed that yesterday evenings rain had washed the sky to crystal perfection, leaving stars laser sharp. Mars and Venus both hung like exotic diamonds and the three quarter moon, hung high, was providing the perfect lighting for landscapes with stars. All this I observed aloud as a special treat for She Of The Townhouse, who shared the special joy of the hour with a hippopotamine grunt from the pit of those less fortunate than the early riser. Not that she is like a hippo you understand, its just the sounds.
I skipped lightfoot to the car. Loaded the ‘special equipment’ and left hot hooved for a mountain rendevous. It constantly amazes me how few others are around at that time of day, the roads were clear all the way to Tryfan but as I progressed deeper in to the mountains it became increasingly clear that thick cloud was going to blight the photographic prospect.
I am trying to build up a small portfolio of pictures for an exhibition you see. Constellations with a mountain backdrop, perhaps a noteworthy building or two. But these are tricky blighters to take. To get the shot you need a mountain in the right position in front of you, a constellation that you want to photograph and a reasonable amount of moonlight. The moonlight, if you are lucky, will illuminate the landscape. Being far weaker than sunshine it will allow you to take a long exposure (say 10 to 20 seconds) and have bright shiny stars as well as a clearly recognisable scene.
If you are lucky the conditions for this are right on three or four nights a month.
This morning though the cloud messed up the whole thing.
Giving up on the mountains I drove around for a while and eventually noticed a clearing sky over Llyn Gerionydd, a lake above the Conwy valley. Quite by chance I snapped this.
The cloud at the end of the lake has a little dispersed light from the valley town of Trefriw the only other light is moonlight.
I shall certainly be staking this spot out again.

16 comments:

buffalodickdy said...

That photo was so incredible, I called my wife over to see it! Nat'l Geographic should be calling you soon about that job offer....

DaveM said...

Excellent photo and well worth the getting up. Morning light is often the best for shots. I like the "balance" in the photo. You could say it symbolises a meeting point of sorts.

Rosy said...

Ah we are waiting (California) one more week before we change our clocks according to the News last night which was news to me for I had already changed all of my Clocks before I even heard the News last night. (sigh)

That is a wonderful photo there!

Jayne said...

Great pic, but are you mad? I'd be too grumpy at that time of day/morning to want to do anything.

I look forward to more.

startare said...

A beautiful photo, well worth sharing with others.

sablonneuse said...

That picture certainly has the 'wow' factor. But leaping out of bed in the early hours and feeling brighteyed and bushytailed at that hour of the morning? Just reading about it makes me feel tired - or is it ashamed?

Peach said...

wow that is art indeed, what a gorgeous shot

john.g. said...

Best photo yet!!

Vi vi vi vooom!!!!!!!! said...

Fantastic photo! This clock turning back has depressed me though, kids can't go out and play after school and give me a little peace!

bittersweet me said...

It is a beautiful photo.

The rest of us don't need to get up earlier when you do it so well!

Ariel said...

Stunning! Blow it up and get it framed.

Sally Lomax said...

So where's the exhibition then?

Sally Lomax said...

Good photo btw. You need to click on it to get the full effect..

Richenda said...

We were up at 4 a.m. too.
But we werent looking at the sky.
We were looking in a dismayed fashion at blood-soaked bed linen from the previous evening's cut hand.

Then we were on a bus at 7.30 to get to Ysbyty Gwynedd.

And we've missed the Conwy Food Festival - how did that happen?
T

meredic said...

buffalodickdy - Nat Geo give me a job! Well if you can put in a good word...

davem - Praise for a photo from you is praise indeed. Thanks.

rosy - LOL well I guess you will enjoy a lay in this weekend coming then.

jayne - its the best time of the day I tell you.

startare - signed copies are available...

sablonneuse - ashamed! its the best way to start the day...hmmm possibly the second best...

peach - I made art! Its just being in the right place at the right time thats the hard part then?

john.g. - wait til you see what I have done with the moon!

vi vi vi voom! - the answer is obvious! send them out to do astrophotography with me. They will be knackered when the evening comes.

bittersweet me - you need all the sleep you can get!

ariel - its already done.

sally - I am trying to get a few on show in the library. You never know...

richenda - ouch! Yes I was half expecting to see you at that food fair. Fancy a coffee on the mountain?

rivergirlie said...

absolutely amazing. do you sell these images anywhere?