During my first night sleeping in my Bass Harbor rental cottage, I awoke at about 2AM and looked up through the skylight windows above the bed. I was not wearing my glasses and could see these bright little blobs against the black background of the night. After clearing my vision with the application of glasses, I saw those “blobs” were brilliant twinkling stars.
I had never seen the stars so bright – definitely not in my part of southeast Texas.
So I made a note to set the alarm clock for 1AM each morning. If I woke up and saw the stars through the skylight windows, then I would dress, grab camera and gear and drive over to the seawall (about 2 or 3 miles away) to set up tripod and work on my night photography.
The road to the stars. Looking back from whence I came. I was pointing the camera toward the seawall side of the road.
A sea of stars. That bright red light is a blinking buoy.
Early morning stars. The first night I took photos, they turned out horribly because I didn’t have the manual focus set correctly (and you need to focus manually). So the one image with the Northern Lights in it failed to turn out. On this night, I managed much better, but I think that yellow glow in the distance may be from one of the little towns and not the Northern Lights. I think I missed my chance at that for the remainder of the week.
And for those of you interested in knowing how I achieved these photos:
- I switched from auto focus to Manual Focus and made sure the focus was set to infinity – well, on my Canon lenses, that means I needed to set the focus line on the lens to a teeny bit before infinity. When I rotated the focus ring allll the way over to (and beyond) infinity, the photo was horribly blurred, which is why I messed up the one shot I took with the Northern Lights in it (sigh).
- I played around with ISO settings, which ranged anywhere from 3000 to 6400
- I also played around with the shutter speed setting, which ranged from between 20 seconds to 30 seconds
- The f-stop, I played around with too and it ranged from 2.8 to 3.2
And of course, this was all on a tripod.