Monday, 27 May 2013

Nine Barrow Down - Obelisk

Tonight myself, my sister and my father went out to a new spot I noticed while browsing google maps during my initial route planning for the Agglestone trip.

Again this was just a scouting run, primarily to find the location and secondly to assess it for future use.
It's up on the top of one of several hills in the  among the Purbeck Hills called Nine Barrow Down and is situated above the town of Swanage.
The Obelisk was apparently originally built in 1883(not sure why) but was later taken down during the War as they were worried it would prove to be a landmark for Air Raids. It was later replaced in 1952, slightly shorter than before as I understand it as one section of it is damaged and put to one side. (It may have been replaced)

As it turns out, it's not the greatest spot. Whilst the Obelisk itself is a nice feature to shoot it's located right between Swanage and Bournemouth/Poole which just nukes the sky with light pollution.

The result of this isn't awful pictures but it is a reduced number of stars and it certainly means I'm not going to get the milkyway so much from here. So I cracked out the glowsticks!

A nice clean spin on the fairy-lights... for comparison the next shgot is just a manic, nun-chuck swinging of the fairy-lights.

Then I finally remembered to try out my laser, which is inexplicably part of my emergency battery pack, which I have in case I need to recharge my phone or something in an emergency.
I'm not keen on the results tbh, I'll play with it more another time though. It's easy to make marks with but it's hard to make something that looks nice. I tried writing my name(ignore the backwards "y") which looks fine but it's very scribbly and messy... and not very interesting really.

Friday, 17 May 2013

An evening at Moors Valley Country Park

This evening the weather was fairly tentative and as it's a week-night so I decided to do a scout rather than a full evening's shoot so we did a run down to Moors Valley Country park.

The car park is closed at dusk so gaining access is not so easy but I'm no stranger to a long walk, it's more of a challenge to find a place to park but once that was done it was plain sailing.

There's not much to say really. Moors Valley Country park is just that, a country park, but it has lots of great little handmade playgrounds made of wood, dotted around, almost randomly in the forest. They all have awesome amounts of potential, either with carefully placed lighting or with stars blazing between the branches of the trees above.
Due to the number of images and some animations please click the following link to read further...

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Removing the Noise

 So! Noise!

One of the biggest problems I have with my night/astro-photography is noise.
I shoot at around 800 ISO to keep the amount of noise I'm afflicted by to a minimum whilst still maximising the amount of light my camera(A Nikon D90) is picking up.

I won't go into the details really. I'm only using readily available plugins and bits and bobs but I thought I'd post some comparison shots of older photos I have taken where I have always regretted the amount of noise in, next to images with some noise reduction used.

It was difficult to tweak the noise however without tweaking a few other things which is why you may notice some slightly more drastic differences in the images.

In some cases I think the noise reduction I've done  is still not quite enough, I'm not sure.
If you know any anti-noise techniques and would like to share them please do. Either leave a comment below or feel free to contact me. I'd be very interested.

Monday, 6 May 2013

A Sunset over Studland

A quick trip over the Sandbanks ferry today to try out some sunset photography down on Studland beach where I knew there to be an... arrangement? Of concrete blocks that form what I imagine is meant to be a groyne. (It's the only one there though)

It could be an old sea defence, I don't know but I thought it would form a useful leading-line in a landscape shot and hoped the "partial cloud" forecast might provide an interesting sky.

Here are the shots:

Saturday, 4 May 2013

Fairylights and the Devil's Sleeping Hat

Tonight I spent the evening at a new location known as Agglestone Rock.

In local myth it's apparently known as the Devil's Nightcap due to a story that involves the Devil tossing his nightcap towards Corfe Castle and missing. (Because the Devil can never succeed right?)

Apparently it toppled at somepoint and was previously known as the Devil's Anvil, for resembling... an anvil I guess.
I don't think there is a standing stone anywhere in the UK that doesn't have a story involving a devil of some sort.
The site itself is pretty easy to access, a fifteen minute walk I'd guess. The only slightly worrying part is that you have to walk right in front of a golf hole. Thankfully I was passing at night time but in the daytime you'd run the risk of dodging golf-balls, there's another way round that I took unintentionally thankfully.
Anyway my primary goal of the evening was not to scout Agglestone as a location, instead, it was to trial a new bit of lighting I bought recently. Some battery powered fairy-lights. The plan being that I could spin them about and create some man-made spirals to mirror the stars that will trail above.

Feel free to judge for yourself on how that worked out.

Thursday, 2 May 2013

Return to Winspit

Once more a clear night has... dusked, so with Windspit quarry still fresh in my mind I had to plan a revisit.

This time the weather would be a little windy, which I took to be northerly so I was hoping to be shielded by the cliffs, also the moon would not raise until the shortly before dawn so I was expecting a truly dark evening.

This time I snagged a couple of quick noisey shots of the sight you see as you turn into the quarry.
This time I wanted to put a bit more focus on the caves, some of them are quite large but getting a good night-sky angle from inside one with sufficiently interesting detail in the foreground and a busy enough scape of stars in the background was quite difficult.

Due to the volume of images and some animations please click the following link to read further...