Change Is Hard

…but change is certain.

Trying to catch a star


I’m so impressed by Snap Happy Gal’s Photography of life in the north, especially her night shots of the stars, that I’ve been trying to figure out how to do it myself.

I messed around with night photography when I was up in Northport last December; by watching YouTube videos I figured out how to use my camera’s manual settings, change the ISO, the aperture, the shutter speed. It was below zero the night I spent an hour out on the beach trying to capture the sky, but I didn’t notice the cold. It was just so much fun being out there.

I haven’t tried it since, and of course now I’ve forgotten how to do any of it, so I watched the videos again, set my camera on manual, and headed out to camp in the backyard last night. I have too much light where I live to see the sky in as much detail as you’d see in the north woods, but I was more curious about the process and the color of the light than I was the number of stars.

I set my alarm for 3:00 a.m. and settled in to sleep. Nothing doing. So I read for awhile and tried to sleep again. Nope. I surfed the web on my phone for a bit and finally nodded off about midnight.

At 3:00 the phone gently nudged me awake and I stumbled out into the yard with my tripod and camera, pointed the lens at the sky and pushed the shutter.

Turns out I’m still way too pink.

Anybody up there?

Anybody up there?

I figured it would be this way as I didn’t investigate white balance, something Heather (the Snap Happy One up north) suggested after my first foray into night photography.

Never know what I'm pointing at.

Never know what I’m pointing at.

Still, I stayed awake a couple more hours thinking about the problem and listening to the bugs, frogs, freeway and occasional snorting white tailed dear. I also watched the stars slide across the sky through the roof of my tent. I didn’t really mind being awake. It was a beautiful night.

So today I studied white balance, read a few articles, watched a video, and I’ve adjusted my camera’s white balance setting. I’m hoping for one more clear night so I can camp out in the backyard again. I figure the worst thing that happens is that the photos are still too pink and I have to study some more.

But I’ll get another nice night under the stars out of it and that’s OK with me.


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 “Trying to catch a star

  1. Thanks be to YouTube, such a marvelous source of information…You have really got my curiosity going to see if I can’t try this myself.


    • I think you can. I really need to go buy another lens…but we’ll see. Everything I read says you need to try to get down to 2.8 f stop and my lens only goes to 3.something. Other than that…I should be able to figure this out. So should you.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. “I can accept failure, but I cannot accept not trying.” Michael Jordan.
    You keep trying, and you will overcome the pink.


  3. night photography is difficult – there are some things that just never look as good on photos as they do seeing them in the moment – stars are one those 🙂


  4. We love looking up
    Lily & Edward


  5. I’m so glad you posted this! I read your comment somewhere on FB about when you’re going to be here, and then lost it in a sea of notifications. I meant to reply: “Yes, I would love to meet up and work on night photos!” Or something similar. I am shooting a wedding this Saturday and another on the 24th, but I don’t think those were the dates you’ll be in the area?
    As for White Balance, try “tungsten” or “incandescent” or maybe even “fluorescent” if those are in your menus. If not, and you can pick a number, I often like around 3500. I find 2800 a little too blue for my taste. Can’t wait to see your next attempt!


    • 🙂 I will be in Northport Sept 21,22 and 23 nights. I have to drive home on the 24th because Sunday the 25th is Aunt Vi’s 101st birthday! 🙂 🙂 🙂 Anyway…I will PM you my cell…though it won’t work at the house where I’ll be north of Northport. I’ll look up their house #. Meanwhile..if we don’t have a clear night that works for you maybe we can just meet for lunch.

      Liked by 2 people

      • PS: thanks for the advice (again) on white balance…I think you told me tungsten before. I just changed it now for next time it’s clear. I’ve written the post about my 2nd attempt. It will go up in a couple of days.


  6. Pingback: Star gazing night two | Change Is Hard

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