Change Is Hard

…but change is certain.

The struggle is real


No, not that kind of struggle…the struggle to capture the night sky image I have in my head. Sometimes I think I should just get another head.

See that shadow hump in the foreground? That’s me hunkered down behind the camera, due to my neighbors GIGANTIC light hanging over her garage. Sigh. And the lights on the right are from my house.

This week we finally had a clear night. I swear, we hadn’t seen the sun in weeks here in Michigan, but one day this week the sun graced us with her presence and I excitedly watched the weather guy to see if we were going to keep those clear skies overnight.

Well…sort of…but it was the best we’d had in forever, so I figured I’d run over to a local park where I thought the skies would be darker than Katie’s park here in town. I was going to go over around 9 p.m., figuring it would be true dark by then. But I’m older now and was already yawning at 8. And it looked pretty darn dark to me even that early.

I moved, so it’s somewhat better. And you can see a couple stars if you look carefully, so it’s all good.

So off I went, camera on the tripod, settings already entered. Remote shutter thingy attached. Extra batteries in my pocket. Handwarmer in there too. It was 17F out there.

As I drove the few miles to the park I didn’t see another car. Good. I don’t really want anyone to know I’m at the park after dark. I just want to grab a few practice shots and get out of there and back to my nice warm house.

But just as I got to the park entrance, beginning my turn in off a narrow country road, a car came up over the hill from the other direction, bright lights glaring. We both stopped for a moment, and then I continued on, not wanting them to see me pull into the park. I drove about half a mile away, turned around at the next road and went back.

WordPress always shows images darker than I’ve edited them. Lots of light over there. Plus some clouds moving in.

All was still. I texted my husband that I was there, and was reaching for my camera when a car, possibly the same car, pulled into the parking lot and parked at the other end.

Well. I’m not getting out of my car. In fact I locked the doors and waited a few minutes. I’m pretty sure they were doing the same thing. I couldn’t think of one good reason for anyone to be out there long after dark unless, of course, they too wanted to shoot the stars. And what were the odds of that?

So I backed up, shot out of the parking lot, and went home. I think I was gone all of 20 minutes. I was so frustrated I decided to at least take a picture of the tree in our yard, still decked out in lights. I figured the camera was on the tripod, might as well get something.

When I walked into the house husband said something like ‘That didn’t take long.” and I explained the story, and he said he’d go back out with me in a little bit.

Lots of light looking behind me too.

So we did. I felt much happier sitting out on the pier knowing he was in the car just behind me. I got a few images…but there was lots more light out there than I anticipated in a Bortle 4, I think I was shooting over the next small town. I need to go further away.

Still it was fun trying to remember all the things I needed to do to get the stars. I struggled with my tripod a whole lot too. Good things to practice before the Milky Way is back up. I really want that shot that’s in my head

There were a LOT of planes that night.

Today I tried stacking a series of 10 images from that night. That’s supposed to take things that aren’t consistent between the images out and improve the noise level in the results. I think I need to figure something out, because this is what I got.

9 images of the airplane at 8 seconds each. Sigh. And another little one down near the horizon too.

Ah well, my classmates will help me with that…and meanwhile I had a midwinter adventure close to home and have another story to tell!

PS: I think you need to be looking at these images when you’re sitting in a dark room with no glare. 🙂

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.

23 thoughts on “The struggle is real

  1. I admire your diligence – when it’s dark and cold outside, I venture no further than to open the door so Shasta can go out and back in as required. Your photos are lovely – that plane certainly was on a straight path, wasn’t it?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sometimes it IS hard to go out into the dark. Especially if it’s also cold. It’s always somewhat unnerving, I really like to go with another photographer, but that’s not always possible. And yes, that plane knew exactly where it wanted to go! I think I have the answer to what I might have done wrong, but I haven’t tried to fix it yet.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I don’t even drive at night anymore, so you have my undying admiration for going out that late (haha!) not once, but twice.


    • Well…8 isn’t THAT late, but it WAS dark! 🙂 And the second time was easier because I had company and actually got to do what I wanted to do..sort of. The tripod collapsed, and I couldn’t get one leg right, and then the ball head released and the camera started sinking….sigh…..I need to figure all that out before I’m out somewhere IMPORTANT with ONE CHANCE to get the dream shot!


  3. Love your Christmas tree with just a couple stars. I’m sure you’ll get the pictures you see in your head.


  4. Looks like the struggle was definitely worth it. Your photos are stunning.


  5. Goodness, such goings-on!


  6. I sometimes arrive at my park before sunrise and use a headlamp to walk the dogs. Occasionally another car is there, and I always assume it is a drug deal waiting to happen! Funny how our brains work, when it could be someone simply sitting in their car drinking their morning coffee from dunkin donuts. 😀

    I love the way you set the shot up. It’s really beautiful.


  7. Well that was fun for us even if it was frustrating for you. Thanks for sharing!


  8. You are very ambitious, determined, and persevering — but I’m glad you had Bruce with you on that second foray into the dark. The airplane over and over was kind of interesting, too, I thought.


    • Yes, after having that car show up once I would have been nervous being out there by myself. As it was we didn’t see another car the whole time I was shooting, which granted wasn’t that long!


  9. I’d have been spooked by another car pulling in that lot, too! Glad your hubby came to the rescue. You might not have gotten the shot of your dreams, but I think you did quite well. Night photography isn’t easy, you know.


    • For sure I wasn’t going to get out of the car while they were there. Or even if they left, because I’d always worry they’d be back. When we went back about an hour and a half later no one was there, and we saw no one else the rest of the time.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. “another head” LOL, how many times I’ve thought of that for myself too, Dawn. Keep the one you have. It’s perfect. 🙂
    I often hike by myself, and had one very uncomfortable and weird feeling as I was walking up one trail, so I immediately turned around and went back to my truck, and then had the Park Rangers tell me later that there was a strange fellow up that trail that they were tracking. It pays to pay attention to your feelings.
    You might not think these photos are stunning … they are gorgeous!


  11. I am going back in my emails, catching the posts I missed, which included this one. I, for one, love all your images. Kinda cool that effect of stacking had, ya gotta admit!


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