Change Is Hard

…but change is certain.

Star gazing night two


It’s getting better, my night photography. Not by much, but there’s some progress. I studied white balance and made an adjustment. I think it helped.


Once again I slept in the tent in the backyard. Set my alarm for 3:00 a.m. and fell asleep with the camera on the tripod, ready to go. It was a hot and muggy night, but I fell asleep right away and didn’t wake until the phone began it’s gentle song.

Groggy, I pushed my sweaty hair out of my eyes and glanced up through the tent roof. I almost hoped the sky had clouded over, that the stars were hidden so I could go back to sleep. But as my eyes adjusted I had to admit there was a mix of stars and clouds up there.

Enough stars to give it a try.

So I crawled out onto the freshly mowed lawn and set up what I was hoping would be a less pink version of the sky.

High thin clouds obscure the stars.

High thin clouds obscure the stars.

I think the white balance is better on these shots than those I took the night before. But I also know I should start thinking about shooting in RAW. If I did that I could adjust the colors in post processing.

I looked into that last summer, and once, out on a walk with Katie the dog, I managed to get my camera into RAW (If I remember right it’s not difficult, but I just can’t remember anymore how to do it.) and took a couple pictures like that, then changed it back and took the same shot using my regular settings. But when I downloaded those photos the RAW shots didn’t download.

So I gave up. But clearly I should be able to figure this out. I need to go out and take more photos in RAW and try again.

Meanwhile, on night 2 of the great star shoot experiment I set up an image of my tent lit up, and hoped I got a bit of sky above. It turned out OK..lots of room for improvement…but it was fun to try.

Camping in the wild back yard.

Camping in the wild back yard.

So what have I learned?

Lots of things. Like…remember to take your glasses with you when you crawl out of a tent into the night to take pictures. Because without them you have no idea if what you’re doing is working. And don’t forget to do something with the focus. Just setting it to manual is not good if you haven’t actually set it to infinity or focused it on anything. And make sure the tripod is actually locked so it doesn’t sink in the middle of a 30 second shot. And for heavens sake, go find that remote thingy where you can hit the shutter without shaking the camera.

And mostly….it’s a lot more fun spending an hour outside after midnight in the winter when there aren’t any mosquitoes. And when sweat isn’t running into your eyes.

Stay tuned. This adventure is not over yet.

Humid night.

Humid night.

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.

21 thoughts on “Star gazing night two

  1. If you get to the place where you change the size of the image files there will be a raw setting. There is also a raw + jpg setting. I sometimes use that but it takes a lot of room with two images of each photo. Just use the raw and when you edit you can save in jpg and keep the original raw file for future editing if you wish.

    Good luck.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for the information Marilyn! I’ll give it a try soon! And thanks for stopping by the blog!


      • RAW definitely. Took a while for me to be convinced, but I’ve never gone back to shooting just jpeg. (On my pocket camera, I shoot in the raw+jpeg mode because a lot are just “snapshots” that I want to post somewhere quickly. Plus the raws aren’t that huge. But on my DSLR, I shoot raw only, highest resolution raw (there are options for smaller raws) and they take up wayyyyyyayayayayay more space.

        I don’t know whether you know, but in all the Adobe products (Photoshop, photoshop elements, lightroom), I believe, you can ask it to open a file in RAW mode and then select a jpeg file. This just gives you more control over initial editing, which I often use when I have a jpeg for some reason. White balance, blacks, whites, contrast, and in particular Clarity which I always use.


        • That’s really interesting, no I didn’t know anything about RAW or how it works in the editing programs. I need to work through this stuff…slowly…to get it to sink into my brain.


  2. I think you did great! No way Dallas would let me camp outside without him, though!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well….the only way I get away with it is not to really let her know I put the tent up…and then at night go out the front door like I’m going to work and sneak around to the back. Otherwise, you are right…,no way would I get away with going out the back door with camping gear and not her!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. you know there are some excellent tips on pintrest for taking photos – they give excellent instructions of the different settings and such and they are camera specific – so just search on your brand and model

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I am very impressed, Dawn. I think you are doing a fantastic job! I love seeing the photographs. Thank you!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I believe you have what is known as dedication.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I think these are wonderful! I gave up after my first few experiments (done during the hot and humid summer months). I always meant to try again in winter, but never got around to it. Maybe you can give me lessons sometime if I ever make it out your way. 🙂 I love that shot of the tent.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I love the glowing tent under the starry sky. You are having a whole lot of fun with this retirement gig, aren’t you!

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Just emailed you a pdf with some tips on editing the photos (and other stuff, most of which you’re already aware of, but things to think about).


  9. Your tent under stars picture is worthy of National Geographic. Wow, you’ve honed your skills. Awesome shot.


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