Fly Me to the Moon – 345/365

Sorry, I know that song is in your head now, but its a good song at least! Tonight I had the girls on my own, and so couldn’t go too far for a photograph. That wasn’t a problem of course, and I wanted to try some star photography too, so thats what I did.

The night sky is an intersting thing to photograph for me, becasue it provides a new set of challenges. Quite the opposite to normal, light almost becomes the enemy! Clearly, only going as far as the back garden meant a lot of light pollution, and add to that a super bright almost full moon toight, and I couldn’t really have tried this at a worse time and in a worse location……

Still, if you don’t try, you don’t know!

So I tried, and I had a bit of fun captuing passing aeroplanes in the images too, we’re about half an hour from both Liverpool John Lennon and Manchester airports, so air traffic can be quite frequent. Indeed, when I took an image of the moon itself, I specifically included a passing aeroplane, which you can see below to the right of the frame.

That also gave me a new idea, rather than capture a long exposure of car head lights, how cool would it be to do the same but with aeroplanes!!?

Anyway, have a look at this image below, this is where the title of this post came from, an aeroplane “flying to the moon”. You might be asking why I didn’t choose it for the main image? Well, I think I can do better, but I’d need to merge at least three images together; one of a glowing moon, one of the stars and one with an aeroplane streaking towards the moon. However, that will require some photoshop magic, which is something I’ve steered away from throughout the majority of this year, becasue I specifically wanted to focus on my photography skills, not my editing skills.

Dont worry, its something I will re-visit next year, so watch this space……..


Learnings – I’ve done a little research on photographing the night sky, and from that I employed the “500 rule”, where you divide 500 by your focal length. I was using my 50mm for this, on my crop sensor camera, and so that gave me a max shutter speed of 10 seconds which I cut down further due to the crop factor, and went for 8 seconds for most of the shots. What this does, is it opens the shutter long enough to capture enough light, but doesn’t capture the movement of the earth in relation to the stars. It sounds crazy, but in just 10 seconds the earth has moved a long way! Dont forget, although it feels like we’re standing still, the earth is spinning at 460 meters per second or roughly 1,000 miles per hour. So in just 8 seconds my camera has moved 3,680 meters, now that’s what you call camera shake!!!

Thats why I find it so interesting; one becasue the night sky is just amazing anyway, but also it adds that unique aspect of photograhping something thats in a different universal orbit to where your actually taking the photograph from. The light I photographed from the starts tonight, is actually millions of years old, having traveled all the way across space and into my camera, my camera that’s spinning at 460 meters per second, and thats pretty amazing!

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