Change Is Hard

…but change is certain.

Starry starry night


When last I left you I had crashed for a nap inside my tent while a thunderstorm rained down and the wind blew the trees above me, brushing clouds across the sky. I fell asleep believing there would be no stars that night, my last night near the Dark Sky Park.

But when I woke, an hour or so later, the wind had stopped, the rain no longer pounded down and there was just a tiny peak of sunshine making the wet leaves glow. Maybe there was still a chance.

Yep, the sun shines to set another day.

But of course, first I had to sit through another sunset. Such an inconvenience.

Everyone was enjoying the warm summer evening.

I was not alone on the beach. Lots of families were settled in for the show, or playing in the water. They were fun to watch. I remember playing like this when I was a kid.

Did you ever walk on your hands in a lake, your legs sticking out into the evening air?

The air was warm and the sky was pretty clear. I began to get excited about seeing some stars. If the sun would ever go down. I posted on Facebook that it was the slowest sunset ever. I messed around taking pictures of nothing much just to pass the time.

I liked the way the light played on the sand filled with footprints.

And then finally. FINALLY!

The sun sighs goodnight.

Soon I was back in the car and headed six miles north to the Dark Sky Park. The parking lot was full of cars and people when I arrived. Everyone figured that tonight was the night we’d see a meteor shower. Of course that pesky moon was still up there, a half moon never shown so bright, but I was just glad there were no clouds.

Once it was dark I grabbed my camera, already set on the tripod, with manual settings appropriate for night photography, and my little red flashlight and ventured out on the walkways through the dunes. Such a beautiful night.

Amazing how many stars there are, even when it’s not completely dark.

I was hoping for lots of shooting stars, and in fact while I was shooting the image below a huge one raced across the sky just off to my right. I hoped the camera caught it but it was just outside the range. People all over the park let up a big cry and applauded. It was soooooo wonderful, it looked like something out of a movie.

The light on the fence and the shadows were created by the moonlight. See the red light over on the right? Another stargazer enjoying the night sky.

I think I saw a couple of other, much smaller shooting stars, but was never quite sure what I had seen out of the corner of my eye. In fact I wouldn’t normally show you this image, but I think it’s interesting if not perfect. You can see the branches lit up by the moon, and what is probably a satellite in the upper corner. I didn’t see any of that when I took the image. I was just practicing getting shots without shake.

Taking pictures at night, you never know what you’ll see when you look at them on a big screen later.

There were lots of people there but by 11 there were only a few of us. I thought I’d wait until the moon set, but that wasn’t going to be until after 2:30 a.m. By 1:00 a.m. I was the only one left, and I decided I wasn’t even sure where the Milky Way was, or if it would be visible and I wasn’t comfortable being there alone…so I packed it in and headed back to my campsite.

A beautiful night.

I wasn’t sure what I had captured, though I knew it wasn’t what I had hoped to get. Still, I’m so glad I went and I’m pretty happy with the few decent images I got. I had to lighten these up quite a bit to put them into WordPress. The original images were pretty dark when I did my preview. I maybe have over lightened them here. I suppose everyone’s computer screen will show them differently. I think a lot of night photography, once you figure out the manual settings on the camera, will come down to figuring out how to process them. I’m still working on that.

I had to stop and take this picture, the barn was so beautiful.

I slept well that night, and in the morning packed up and headed South toward home. Right through all that farmland. With all those barns.

Barn and hawk.

Yep, had to stop a few times on the way. I’m sure you don’t mind.

I’ll go back to the Dark Sky park again someday, preferably when the moon isn’t up all night and the Milky Way is. And meanwhile I’ll mess around with the images I have to see how I can make them even more exciting. So you’ll think you’ve been there!

But you really should try to get there yourself. If you pick the right night you won’t be disappointed!

From the old days, still standing straight and tall.

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.

35 thoughts on “Starry starry night

  1. I especially liked the ones with the setting sun on the lake with all the sharp colors.


  2. The moonlight on the fence…wow, Dawn! Tripods and manual focus….you are light years ahead of me! These are wonderful photos!


  3. Passion, perseverance, wonder, creativity, experimentation and skill. These traits all contribute to make your photography a real pleasure to view. Thank you for sharing this.


  4. I think they are wonderful!


    • Thank you. The night shots really need to be looked at on a bigger screen, certainly bigger than a phone. The darker versions are actually nicer, but were too dark when I put them into WordPress. Sigh.


  5. I’m sorry you missed the shooting stars, but I still think you got some great shots! I love the barn with the hawk, and that lit-up tree and fence are spectacular. Yep, I’d have left, too, if I’d looked around and noticed I was all by myself in the dark!


    • I was just looking at one of these images, the one with the satellite in the corner, and when I made it bigger, and on a bigger screen I can see a shooting star in the middle of the frame. So I ‘saw’ some, I just didn’t know I saw them!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. WOW – Dawn! Such AMAZING photos!! The sun in the first photo with all it’s perfect rays looks like a perfect Star! 🌟 then the setting sun with all the deep colors, and then there’s the gorgeous unique night photos! Moonlit fence, tree branches with a shooting star!! And I haven’t mentioned the barns. I felt like I was there with you! So much FUN! You made me giggle when you were so done waiting for the sun to set. Haha!! Too cute! One day I’m going to invest in a nice camera. My Dad had a state of the art Nikon back in the day, with many lenses and tripod which he let me use. LOVE photography! ❤️ ~Diana 🙂


  7. Must have been spectacular. I’m looking at the pictures on my phone and when I zoom in I can see so MANY stars. I doubt you could have missed the Milky Way if it was visible.


    • I probably should have stayed, but I would have been more comfortable with someone with me. And I probably should have told people to view the night images on a larger screen in order to see all the detail. It sure was fun. I think you’d find it fun too if we were ever camping somewhere together.


  8. Perhaps it wasn’t exactly what you had hoped for, but beautiful, beautiful pictures, especially that last one of the night sky. And you can’t go wrong with barns Also, it sounds as though the experience in itself was magical.


  9. They might not be what you hoped for, but they are stunning!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. LOL, sunsets, such an inconvenience! Made me laugh out loud. 🙂
    A friend of mine and her boyfriend have property in eastern Washington State where there are no cities anywhere in the area, where they go to watch the stars. They are clearing land so that a few friends can come dry-camp there. The night sky is completely new to me, but I’m ready to learn! Thanks for a fascinating introduction Dawn.


    • I was laughing at myself that night, because I was so eager to get to what I wanted to get to that I was totally dissing the sunset. I hope you can go to your friends’ land to see the night sky. Even if you don’t take pictures. But if you DO decide to do that , I can give you some settings, or you can google it and get lots of information.


  11. Great images Dawn! Looks like your last evening/night was a truly wonderful time.


  12. Have you ever caught on an image of green light? At dusk, I keep looking for it, but I read that it’s more visible with a larger, flat horizon.


    • Are you talking about the northern lights? Those are often green, and you may or may not see them with the naked eye, but you’ll see them in your images often. Well, not often, as I have never, except maybe once and I’m not sure about that. They are on my bucket list to try to get though. I have a couple of spots in the UP that might work, but that’s 10 hours away from here and hard to get to last minute.


  13. The moonlight on the trees and the stars and shooting star! Wow! You took us and I loved it! Thank you!


  14. I love the idea of a dark sky park. Nothing like that around here. Your photos are stunningly beautiful, as usual. There’s such a sense of peace in the final sunset one. Thanks for sharing them here.


    • Michigan has 3 or 4 of them. I’ve been to two, counting this one. The one up at the tip of the lower peninsula is more remote, but really only looks north. This one lets you look in all directions. Plus it’s only about 3 hours from me.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Your night sky images are amazing. Someday I hope we can go out together and you can teach me what you know. I’m loving the sunset and the barns, too. 🙂


    • When this pendemic is over, we’ll get together and do that. It would be so much fun! Either down there, I’m sure you have some parks with few lights, or up here. If you were up here we could also go feed the birds. You and M need to come up. (Though I’d love to go with you to the wild poney park.)

      Liked by 1 person

      • We have a great view of the night sky at the ranch (we can see the Milky Way from there). We really do live practically in the middle of nowhere. But it might be even more fun to see the night sky from the beach where the ponies roam. 🙂


  16. What fun! You had a great adventure! I enjoyed all your photo! The barns are awesome! We either had cloudy skies or hoards of mosquitoes:(


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