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Diana Southern

Travel Blogger (StylishTravelGirl.com)

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Carrizo Plain National Monument, California, USA

ABOUT ME

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I'm pretty new to photography, and before this project I'd experimented a little bit with astrophotography before - but with a ton of help from a photographer friend. This was the first time I tried out astrophotography on my own!

 

PLANNING / PREPARATION

LOCATION  Carrizo Plain National Monument, California

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DATE  Night of November 9-10, 2013

  • Moonset: 11:24 PM
  • Illumination: 48,1%
  • Sunrise: 6:21 AM

NIGHT SKY INFO

  • Milky Way Direction: WNW (though I ended up shooting the opposite direction, too!)
  • Important Constellations: Cygnus, Cassiopeia
  • Bright Stars: Deneb

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PACKING LIST

  • Camera: Canon EOS 6D
  • Lens: 14mm f/2.8
  • Tripod
  • Headlamp
  • Extra memory cards
  • Extra camera batteries
  • Extra headlamp batteries
  • Warm clothes, handwarmers, etc.
  • Android phone with Google Sky Maps app
  • Tent, sleeping bag, sleeping pad, pillow, earplugs
  • Foods!

 

PHOTOS

ABOUT THE SHOOT  The location ended up being really cool - nice and dark, complete with dry lake bed, lookout point, and a kangaroo rat sighting!

TAKING SOME TEST SHOTS  After some test exposures, I ended up using the same exposure settings the whole night (f/2.8, ISO 6400, 30 seconds). 

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Soda Lake, Carrizo Plain (f/2.8, ISO 5000, 30 seconds) - 11:58 PM, pointed northwest, unedited

 

MY BEST PHOTOS

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(f/2.8, ISO 6400, 30 seconds) - 12:31 AM, pointed southeast

 

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(f/2.8, ISO 6400, 30 seconds) - 12:34 AM, pointed southeast

 

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(f/2.8, ISO 6400, 30 seconds) - 12:41 AM, pointed southeast

 

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(f/2.8, ISO 6400, 30 seconds) - 1:30 AM, pointed southeast

 

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(f/2.8, ISO 6400, 30 seconds) - 1:46 AM, pointed southeast

 

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(f/2.8, ISO 6400, 30 seconds) - 2:18 AM, pointed southeast

 

And a few more neat ones:

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(f/2.8, ISO 6400, 30 seconds) - 2:18 AM, pointed southeast

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(f/2.8, ISO 6400, 30 seconds) - 12:22 AM, pointed northwest (this is the only one pointing this direction!)

 

BEFORE & AFTER

Not much editing was required for most of these photos, but I learned a lot in the process. Here's a before and after sample:

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NOTES

Next time I should bring handwarmers. I should never underestimate how cold it might be. I was a little bit chilly the whole time.

I had a little bit of star trailing in my photos, so next time I head out for an astrophoto shoot, I'll try reducing the exposure time a tad.

I want to try this again on a clearer night. I think the clouds made editing a little tricky.

I originally planned to take two cameras, but I ended up just using one. Much simpler and easier to manage!

I had never tried processing nighttime photos before - so I learned a LOT about post-processing in this class, which was very helpful. I re-edited several of these shots before reaching an end result I was satisfied with. It was interesting to see how different my results were each time.

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