Light is Everything!

Astro Photography

Waskesiu

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2017 has been an amazing year of travel and travel photography opportunities! This last venture took us to Waskesiu to stay in Prince Albert National Park at the tail end of September. It’s Saskatchewan’s favourite park (read BUSIEST) and so it was great to go there and not have any crowds and enjoy minimal bugs! We stayed in an oTENTik – which was nice but severely overpriced. They wanted $120 a night for a tent with no bathroom or lights. A bit of a rip. But the location is worth the money. The fall colour peaked a few days before we arrived but it was still absolutely glorious! I brought along the big Nikon gear to sop it all up in the dynamic range of the D800. 24mm 1.8G lens & 85mm 1.8G are all I took. I was hoping to get some cool flash shots of the kids in the colour but it rained too much and put a kibosh on my off camera flash dreams.

The Elk rut was still on too which meant raspy bugles could be heard throughout the park. We managed to approach one bull and a harem of cows but they were hanging out on the golf course. It makes for pretty crappy wildlife photos to have them eating fairway  grass! So we continued on our way and did a hike through the Boundary Bog. It was incredible! Tiny Tamarack trees were everywhere in a brilliant display of yellows and reds. I can only imagine how insane the mosquitos would be here during the summer months. Very glad to hit up the location in the fall!

We were able to do one more hike down by the Waskesiu River before the next big rain storm hit. It really hampered the photo opportunities but I was able to snag a few more shots along the boardwalk before having to head for the hills.

Our last night cleared off quite nicely and I was able to get some cool milky way shots through the trees in the campsite. That’s where the 1.8 lenses really shine. Prime Time baby! [cool]

We had a good time in Waskesiu, taking advantage of the Canada 150 no entrance fee perk. It was a great time to be in the north, dodging the crowds and the bugs. We could have probably stayed another couple of days which would have been great to maybe avoid the rain. But you get what you get and you don’t get upset! On to the next adventure!

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The Milky Way

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Been a long time since the last blog! Super busy with weddings and shoots and the rest of life!!! But last night was the ultimate in nights for astro photography. No moon. It was warm with a mild wind to keep the mosquitos away. I was lazy and just shot around the house, but if I had gone out a few miles from town, it would have been even better.  Light leaks are generally a pain. But in the top image, it worked out ok. It made for some cool cool contrasts. 😎 I was out behind our house for this shot and crouched down in a pile of clover. I had the tripod in a nearly flat configuration. I was checking with a head lamp the settings on the camera. Just after I snapped this shot, I had the lamp on and I tilted my head up just in time to see a set of eyes staring back at me from the other side of the fence.  FREAKY! I grabbed the set up and hi-tailed it back to the yard. Still not exactly sure what they were. Let’s hope just a bunny. 😀

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I did a little light painting too, just for fun. It was nice to nab the Milky Way as the backdrop for that. I was shooting with the Nikon Df and my 16-35mm lens. f/4 at 3200 ISO for about 25 seconds. The Df files are so nice and clean for astro photography, even at a long exposure. The grain is neat and tight.  Here’s a couple more. Loads of fun!

 


The Milky Way

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After a nice fire with our good neighbour last night, we looked up and realized that the stars were amazing! I mean, they always are but last night was tremendous on account of there was no moon. Awesome! I went and grabbed the old picture box and set it up after googling how to take photos of the Milky Way. Turns out ISO 3200 and 30″ exposure does nicely. After nabbing several cool pics of the Milky Way itself, I set the camera up to include some foreground nicery. There was a nearby tree that was conveniently being lit up by some RM yard lights across the valley from us. Made for a cool light painting effect without having to do any work. Bonus! 😎

In other news, my life is total upheaval at the moment. My main computer, my faithful 2008 iMac bit the dust this last week. Thankfully my backups all work and I didn’t lose any data. However, I’m down to living off of one Macbook Air with 128GB flash memory for storage. Umm, ya. It’s like packing up a mansion and cramming the contents into a pup tent. Not gonna happen. So, I’m stuck living off of external hard drives. Doh. It sucks. Plus, all the new Mac computers with the slick new Haswell chips are not out yet. Hopefully this month!! And I will order a new mac mini ASAP. I’m leaving iMacs behind and going for the 27″ Cinema Display (hopefully updated this month too with 4 or 5K resolution!) and a totally flash driven mac mini. Should be screamin fast for my needs. Anyways, until then, I wait. Editing on my 11″ MB Air…. 👿