Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Harlequin Ducks at Nubble Light

I went up to Nubble Light for a Capture the Stars workshop with Christopher Georgia.  It was awesome!  Before the class started, I was happy to find Harlequin Ducks, Long-Tailed Ducks and Common Eiders swimming in the ocean all around the parking lot.

 Common Eider (male)

Long-Tailed Ducks

Harlequin Duck (male)

Before the class started, I really enjoyed watching the sky change to pastels as the sun went down.  Although it was not a dramatic sunset (no clouds), this Ohio-raised girl still appreciated the simple beauty of the lighthouse at this time of the day.

 Oh, please!  Gorgeous!!
Who needs clouds????

And of course, the crescent moon shone down on us for the first part of the night, although it was not positioned in a way to capture it with this lighthouse, as it rose over the land.

The class began at sunset and went as late as we wanted to stay (I made it until about 3:45AM).  I learned basic techniques for photographing the night sky with my camera (which had its own peculiar weaknesses).  I quickly learned that my batteries stunk.  Although I had three fully charged batteries, only one was brand new and the other two were basically useless in the cold temperatures of the night (19 degrees).  I could get one photo, and then the battery would die on me which was not very conducive to putting my newfound skills to practice!!  Throw in wearing enough layers of clothing to be confused with a Michelin tire man, wearing transition lenses and trying to see small buttons and settings on the camera in the dark (ahem), climbing up and over rocks and snow to get back and forth to the car, trying to stay warm just standing around, etc. etc.  It was challenging!  But...this was something that I wanted to learn!  I did learn and I intend to try it again at some locations closer to home!  I may wait for warmer weather, though!

I recommend Christopher's workshop to anyone interested!  He was a patient, helpful, kind and knowledgeable instructor.  Now, don't hold my night sky photograph against him, because he is an amazing professional photographer, and I don't even own Photoshop, but here is my favorite photo from the night.  Once I get Photoshop and learn a bit of post processing, my night photos should turn out even better.  We learned how to take one photo for the foreground and another for the sky, and in Photoshop there is a way to blend them together.  That would result in a much better photo. step at a time!

Our night:  instruction started at sunset; crescent moon set at 11:30; milky way rose at 2:40; bedtime for me at 4:00AM.  I haven't seen that many stars since we were at Sequoia National Park in California!!

Nubble Light w/ Milky Way

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