Sunday, 10 June 2012

"I could eat a thousand stars..."

It's been windy, cloudy and rainy for week round these parts and little in the way of opportunities for photography so when I noticed the little non-clouded moon icon hovering over the Isle of  Purbeck at 22:00 on friday night, on the met-office weather-forecast web-site, I knew I had to go out and try to shoot the stars at Mupe Bay, even try my hand at getting some timelapses maybe.
I wasn't about to let a bit of wind put me off.
Because it was a midnight run I put out a general enquiry for interest amongst friends. Clambering over 300ft cliffs in the pitch black is fun but it's probably a good idea to bring someone along just in case of incident but also because sitting around for several hours while your camera clicks every 30'ish seconds is not necessarily the greatest entertainment in and of itself. Thankfully on this trip I was fortunate enough to have my good friend Mark join me.

My first mistake, despite checking the weather and that the Lulworth firing ranges were open was to not check the tides, (I always forget one of the three). So when we arrived at Lulworth Cove we discovered there was no way of walking around the beach as we normally would. The alternative was to climb up and over the 525 foot tall cliff that surrounds the inner curve of the bay. Good exercise, just unexpected.

Whilst we made our way towards Mupe Bay I was constantly looking at the sky around us, worryingly the clouds didn't seem to be parting at all and there was a consistently thick layer covering the entire sky. It wasn't until we reached the cliffs of Mupe Bay itself that it started clearing. (Probably a little later than forecast, I suspect it wasn't clear enough for the shots I got until about 00:00-01:00am)

I shot three time-lapses which I've edited into the video below.

  • The first sequence is from on the cliff tops where I tried to use the old pill-box/war-fortification as a wind break. (This one is mostly just clouds rolling towards Swanage)
  • The second sequence is shot down on the beach facing East towards swanage, etc
  • The third sequence is facing south out to see where the moon rather unexpectedly rose, which thankfully didn't blow out the rest of the image into over-exposure.
(To view the video in higher res you can click on the 'youtube' logo in the bottom right hand corner of the embeded video and manually adjust it. YOu should be able to put it up to 720p-1080p)

Frustratingly I'd left my camera set to shoot Jpegs for a large portion of the trip but thankfully I've gotten some good results I think. The burnt in white balance of the jpegs does cause some flickering in the first two time-lapse sequences though. I changed the setting in time only for the third sequence(where the clouds blew back in)

Here are some stills from the sequences. I've not performed any sort of noise-reduction on these images as I'm quite inexperienced at it, I intend to research some good techniques and apply it to them later.