Change Is Hard

…but change is certain.

Watching the night sky

26 Comments

I’m taking a Milky Way photography course on-line. It’s consumed a lot of my time, as there is so much to learn. I’ve been working on improving my night photography skills since 2017 when I took a one evening class. Too bad that one night there was sleet and rain, but I learned a lot.

And now I’m learning more. I went out a couple weeks ago to a local park, in the middle of the night, just to practice my settings and see how it felt to be out there in the dark again.

It felt pretty wonderful, but that was a park close to home. We have lots and lots of light around here, and I’m going to have to go further afield to find darker skies. Still, it’s good to practice.

I need to go out again soon and practice some techniques for getting the stars in focus. But it’s raining and it’s going to keep raining…maybe right through the next new moon window of opportunity for Milky Way shooting!

So, out of frustration I went back to some images I took in the summer of 2020 when the comet was flying high and I was standing on a sandy bluff overlooking Lake Michigan. Once the comet was done for the night I turned around and saw the Milky Way.

Tonight I wistfully clicked through those pictures. They sure aren’t perfect, but they remind me of a wonderful time. But I hope to do a much better job of focusing on my next attempt!

Now if it would just stop raining.

Be warned, those of you that live in dark areas of the country, eventually you’re going to hear from me, asking to camp out in your backyard. I promise to be quiet as I skulk around under your sky.

You might even want to join me. You’d be amazed at how time flies when you’re standing in the dark looking up at millions of light years looking back at you.

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.

26 thoughts on “Watching the night sky

  1. Utterly beautiful! I was enchanted with both images. Alas, our night sky is made bright by the small city of Augusta, about ten miles away. Otherwise, you’d be welcome to camp in our backyard on the edge of the woods.

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  2. Dawn–I think your photography is wonderful. I don’t have the patience to sit and learn–which I really should do. I think we have too many trees blocking the sky for any good photography. It’d be dark, though!

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    • We have too many trees in our yard too, other than to shoot pretty much straight up. I will have to drive somewhere darker and more open to do any serious night sky milky way photography.

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  3. Beautiful photo of Milky Way. Don’t be hard on yourself. Just the fact you’re willing to get up in the middle of the night impresses me.

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  4. Beautiful images! Before I moved, I had a big, dark backyard, and you would have been welcome to visit for awhile and see what you could have captured. When the rain stops and the weather warms, you’ll need to pack up your tent and your camera equipment and venture out into the darkness.

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    • That would have been fun! I am hoping to be able to pack the tent and hit the road in search of dark skies…but I have to wait pretty much for my Katie-girl to transition, because she’s not a happy girl if she doesn’t have her mama. On the other hand, I AM planning two short trips with friends. I thought Katie would have left me by now when I planned these, so I’m debating. One is the end of April, one is the end of May. We’ll see.

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  5. I haven’t been anywhere that is completely dark at night in years. Well, I guess I could step into a closet and shut the door– but that’s not what I meant. You understand.

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  6. I commend you on your efforts, Dawn! Every time I go outside with Monkey in the dark, I stare at the night sky, trying to remember constellations and such. Unfortunately, we get too much extraneous light from streetlamps and so on to really see; oh, and the clouds and rain, which of late have felt ever-present, don’t help either.

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  7. We sure hope to hit some dark sky on our trip this summer. I can’t recall the last time I saw the Milky Way. My sister in Alberta will be booking our sites in Dinosaur Provincial Park this weekend before we even book in Manitoba and Saskatchewan.

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    • That sounds like fun! I’ll have to look that park up. We have a Dinosaur Park locally, it’s just a little park in the middle of a subdivision. I don’t know why it’s called Dinosaur Hill, but it’s the perfect little size for Katie now days, so we often meet a friend and her dog there and walk through the woods.

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  8. Gorgeous photos! I love how you can learn how to do almost anything online these days….looking forward to retirement so I have more time to become a student again.

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  9. I love your night sky shots, and the way you continue to pursue how to do it.

    I checked the map you linked to in my post. We’re in a 4 which surprised me because I can see the Milky Way. Even Assateague is a 3, also surprising. I’m gonna have to come up your way to be reminded of how dark the night really can be. I remember the first time I was in upper Michigan with friends and I went out at night. I had never been in a night that dark before. I couldn’t even see what was in front of me. It was like that in the Rocky Mountains, too. Amazing.

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    • I live in a 5, on the edge of some 4s. You can shoot the Milky Way in a 3, but 2 or 1 is better. You can probably shoot it in a 4 too. I’ll find out some night! I need to go to northern lower MI or the southern edge of the UP to get to a 2. We should plan a trip sometime when you feel comfortable with the state of the pandemic….but it also needs to be coordinated with the moon phases and the weather. In the fall the Milky Way rises when it gets dark so you don’t have to wait until the middle of the night to see it.

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