Change Is Hard

…but change is certain.

Night Light


Heather’s photography always makes me smile. Sometimes gasp. And I’ve been especially intrigued by her night photography. Some of you have seen her work. If you haven’t hop over to her website. I think you will be amazed.

I don’t know anything about pointing my camera into the night sky. But I’ve been up north for awhile, away from the city lights, and I’ve been waiting to experiment. Two weeks I’ve been waiting.

Monday night, my last night here, I took the garbage can out to the road and glanced up. I stopped in my tracks. There were stars up there. Finally a clear night!

Low dunes, clouds on the horizon and maybe a plane.  Oh..and stars.

Low dunes, clouds on the horizon and maybe a plane. Oh..and stars.

I read a few articles while I was at the lake, sorting out manual settings on the camera, though I still have a lot of things to learn about how to choose shutter speed, ISO and apertures. Monday evening, once I realized I had one night to try this, I watched a short video about camera settings and star shooting. Sitting in the warm living room I adjusted the settings on my camera and then took it and the tripod down the dark snow covered stairs to the beach.

I left the lights on in the house, hoping I could play around with a house shot, stars above. I haven’t figured it all out yet, and there was too much light. I got an odd sort of image, but in the process I learned a lot. I especially learned I should have brought a flashlight down with me. Using my cell phone to light up buttons on a camera works, but it’s not great.

I messed around with trying to do the house for awhile. Then I pointed the camera straight up at the night sky. Another thing I learned is it would have been a lot warmer to practice what all the tripod levers and knobs did while I was in the house rather than out on the beach. Live and learn. Right?

I think this is the milky way. It was obvious to me looking up at the sky…not so obvious in the shot.

Maybe the milky way.  Maybe just a bunch of stars.

Maybe the milky way. Maybe just a bunch of stars.

I had the ISO up as high as it would go, and the aperture open as far as it would go, and the shutter speed at 30 seconds. I think that’s as wide open as I can get this camera. But I’ll read more and see.

These shots aren’t anything that I really like, but I learned a ton. Now I have to learn how to get rid of the red cast. And oh so much more.

And even though it was only 9 degrees out there I was never cold, protected as I was behind a low dune, with no wind, and the sound of gentle waves lapping at the beach below me. In fact it was sort of pleasant.

Two chairs on the beach.  One of my favorite subjects to shoot.

Two chairs on the beach. One of my favorite subjects to shoot.

Maybe I wasn’t cold because I was busy doing something that fascinates me, something that I love, something that I plan on learning a whole lot more about.

Next time you’re somewhere in the dark take a venture outside, regardless of the temperature. It’s pretty amazing. Even if you don’t end up with fine art, it’s pretty amazing.

Orion's belt is caught in the tree branches.

Orion’s belt is caught in the tree branches.

Author: dawnkinster

I'm a long time banker having worked in banks since the age of 17. I took a break when I turned 50 and went back to school. I graduated right when the economy took a turn for the worst and after a year of library work found myself unemployed. I was lucky that my previous bank employer wanted me back. So here I am again, a long time banker. Change is hard.

12 thoughts on “Night Light

  1. I think you did a good job! All of that is something I’ve thought it would be nice to learn, but somehow I just haven’t gotten myself there.


    • I think in retirement we have a chance to try stuff that sort of intimidated us. Because it’s not like we have to figure it out all on one short weekend. Now that I’m home now, and away from the dark night sky I am worried I won’t work on this for months and then will have to figure this part all over again!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Love these, Dawn! Especially love that retirement hasn’t addled your brain or your creativity — as long as one has health, one can do so many more things than sit in a rocking chair, ha!! In the meantime, thanks for sharing what you’re learning about photography!


    • I know what you mean. I have a list of things I want to learn and/or do…but sometimes it all seems overwhelming. And I’m afraid I won’t be able to figure it out. So I don’t get around to trying. i think we should pick one thing this year to study. And then get to studying it.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I love your night shots! I think you did a great job with them. I’ve tried it, but on a hot and humid night. Took me a while to figure out why everything was so blurry in my pictures. The lens had clouded up from the humidity. Doh! You’ve reminded me that I want to try again now that it’s cold out.


    • LOL. I thought you were going to say you left the camera on automatic focus and it couldn’t focus on anything…never would have thought of humidity! Yes, go out there now that it’s colder and dryer and see what happens!


  4. I think the best skies come from really cold weather. I guess that’s our reward.


    • Must be. I know that during winter the stars often seem very very close. They certainly did on the shores of Lake Michigan ‘up north’ on a very cold night!


  5. Sure looks beautiful. When mom does that the picture is black, BOL
    Lily & Edward


    • Well my first shot was all black too! I forgot to set the shutter speed for 30 seconds, it was set at something like 1/20 of a second which certainly wasn’t enough time to let any light in! Tell your mom to give it another try.


  6. Dawn, holy cow!!! You are definitely on your way, and I am so impressed! Love, love, love the two chairs on the beach. Love it all. Oh, my, am I ever envious of your new skills!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s