Dark around the Stars

One living in a big city is de facto excluded from the clubs of star gazers as the myriads of celestial objects to be elsewhere looked upon are hidden by the glowing ugly lights of our dwellings and luxurious retail units. One can still be very interested or even passionate about the big universe  surrounding us and crave to find places where looking up at night makes one feel as insignifiant as grateful for the marvels of creation. Anjou countryside in France gave me that pleasure during summer and it was time not only to gaze through stars, clusters and nebulae but also to practice photography… internet provides wonderful exemples of what a dedicated astro-photographer can produce and I was not contemplating reaching such a level of perfection but experimenting with various techniques was a real pleasure. Being as you know, more driven toward portraiture, I do not own wide angle lens, favoring long telephoto with large aperture. I settled for my old cheap and faithful 18-135 kit lens opening only at f3.5, pushed the ISO to 1600 and played with timing and paint lighting… and… here they are, my very first astroshots!

This first one is not really a star shot… but… hey… one needs to do something while waiting for dark sky! Twilight has given me the opportunity to check how precise the ISS fly-over timing was. the first time you see it crossing the sky is quite intense as you realise that men and women spend days 400 kms away from ground zapping around our globe every 90 minutes!… but enough with red skies… lets go dark…

milky way shot 35kms away from Tours suburban zone… that big orange blob is what specialists call light pollution!These ones “look” North, the other “side” of visible milky way… less parasitic light and a first success at light painting!