Monday, December 01, 2008
More Dark Arts
Now I don’t want you to think that the words are not so important but this is a time of year when I do a lot of looking up and around the sky for a picture.
I noticed this one begging to be taken a few nights ago and hoped it might work. Its not right yet I know. Nevertheless I hope I can give you a flavour of the chase.
There is a photographer working down on the Isle of Purbeck whose combination of landscape and astronomy I have admired for some time (I see he has stopped selling them though, a pity).
I have long felt that there ought to be a chance or two round North Wales to recreate in a modest way some of the drama he seems to extract from the sky.
I sort of imagined that it might be easy to get a suitably dramatic picture of the moon against Snowdon… .
The thing is though you need a lot of time, luck and specialist knowledge to get this sort of thing right and so in over a year of trying seriously I have really only managed a handful of pictures that measure up to scrutiny. Getting the angles right and knowing when they will occur is part of it. Making sure that the light is right, hah, there is a quarter of an hour every day when you can take this picture. Dodging the traffic and the clouds. Making sure your fingers aren’t so numb that you can’t work the buttons in the dark. It all makes for a little bit of a challenge. A certain stoicism is needed to say the least.
I noticed this close pairing of Jupiter and Venus last week as I was driving home from work. On Friday I lugged the camera and tripod to a suitable spot along the Conwy estuary, tied the dog to a post and set to. The sky was clear as a glass of water and the light was just right. The two planets seemed to hang in just the right spot and were polished to perfection. Inevitably the bitter cold made a small plastic part of the tripod quite brittle and it snapped between my fumbling fingers. Then as quick as you like the battery on my camera announced that it needed changing after one wobbly shot. Bugger.
I went back better equipped to the same spot on Sunday and got several shots, one of which you see above but the cloud in the picture muddled it a little. It was only later that I noticed the thin crescent moon just over the right end of the castle had snuck out of the cloud for a moment. There may be a couple more nights to try this one but its gone cloudy again tonight so this is probably the best I will get. Until the next time.
(I stuck a couple of full size ones in the flikr gadget if you fancy)