Starry Night.

Loon Island Light.

Starlight Lighthouse

This past Sunday morning, really, really early in the morning, long before the sun was even close to rising, I ventured out onto New Hampshire’s frozen and windy Lake Sunapee. I, along with two camera wielding friends, Garrett Evans, and Tony BaldasaroΒ were out to photograph a lighthouse under the stars. Nothing adds that little extra something to your lighthouse photos like adding the Milky Way to the mix.

It was cold and windy, so windy Tony had to chase down my camera bag, with my Canon 17-40 and 70-200 lenses inside it, as it blew across the lake. Thanks, Tony! if I had been out there alone I’d still be looking for it.

Not long after the rescue of the runaway camera bag, the wind decided that it was time to blow over my tripod. With my camera on it, lucky me! The camera survived without a scratch, my Tokina 11-16 on the other hand is no longer the pristine lens it used to be. Fortunately it’s still alive and kicking, with but one small battle scar from its sudden encounter with the lake ice.

While my lens took a beating, and my stars aren’t quite the pin points I’d like them to be, all in all it was a very good night to be out on the ice and under the starry night sky.

Milky Way Over Loon Island Light

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48 thoughts on “Starry Night.

    • Thank you Kathy. The thing is, if I never second guess myself I’ll never improve. Right or wrong, I have never looked at one of my own photos without seeing something I could either have done better, or would do differently the next time. It all helps keep me on my game. πŸ™‚

    • Yes it was, not the windiest conditions I’ve had to deal with while out photographing, but certainly the first time I’ve had to deal with a windblown camera bag. Or a tripod being knocked over by the wind.

    • I love mine as well. I have to get it out this weekend to confirm that it did in fact survive it’s encounter with the ice, but all of my test shots around the house seem to indicate all is well. Fortunately it was not a long or hard fall. In fact I was just reaching down to further widen the stance of my tripod legs when it went over. I think I caught it at the very moment it hit, lessoning the blow considerably.

    • Thank you. I’ve still got a lot to learn about astrophotography, and a few techniques to try in order to get the much desired pinpoint stars. That being said, I’m extremely happy with how these turned out and can’t wait to try more.

    • Thanks! You definitely need really dark skies. If you’re near a large city the light pollution will kill your ability to see more stars, let alone the Milky Way. Then again, we started shooting at 3:45 a.m., so if you don’t get out of bed early enough you still won’t see it, no matter how dark the skies. πŸ˜‰

    • Well if you want to get technical, it was the crack of 1 a.m. πŸ˜€ I had an hour and a half drive to meet up with my friends, who’s work you should check out if you haven’t already. Though be prepared to have Garrett’s Milky Way images to put mine to shame.

    • Funny how that works isn’t it. Around here the Milky Way is becoming the photography fad. One I don’t intend to pursue in depth. My goal is a few good shots from a few select and hopefully unique, locations that hopefully stand out. There are two lighthouses along the seacoast that I”m avoiding like the plaque because they’re becoming almost cliche with so many photographers photographing them under the Milky Way. The photos I’m seeing are amazing, it’s just that I like to be a little different in what I shoot when I can.

      • I’m with you there Jeff, a couple of good different shots is all that’s required and then move on, sadly no snow here πŸ™‚

    • Paula, you have no idea the lengths I’ll go to for a picture. I don’t care how cold it is, how early I need to get up, or how far I may need to hike in the dark, when an idea for a photo hits me I won’t stop until I’ve giving it my best effort in achieving it. Of course, my wife just shakes her head πŸ˜‰

    • Thank you, I”m glad yo think it was worth it. If my lens and suffered more than cosmetic damage as a result of its crash to the ice I might feel a bit differently, but then again, that’s why all of my gear is insured.

  1. Wow, you really go through a lot to get your shots, don’t you Jeff? It’s totally worth it though – I love these shots. They make me feel calm and peaceful :). This brought to mind some astrophotography pictures I saw this week. One of the lawyers at my office is totally into it, and he will sit outside on the coldest nights of the year to get the shots he wants. He has a DSLR attached to a telescope, and the results he gets are mind blowing. He captured another star system the other night which is very similar to ours, and as I looked at it, it confirmed my beliefs that there is no way we are the only life in the galaxy :).

    • Cindy, its so funny you mention your coworker. As I may or may not have mentioned before, astronomy is what got me interested in photography in the first place. I wanted to take pictures through my telescope. That’s why I bought my first camera. I then became so obsessed that I sold my telescope to be able to buy more photography gear, and the rest is history. I do regret that I never actually took a photo though my telescope though.

    • Thank you, and not at all. Both images are 25 second exposures, 11mm @ f/2.8, ISO 3200. And in case you’re interested, I was using a Canon 7D MkII with a Tokina 11-16 f/2.8 lens.

    • Thank you, I wish I could take credit for the idea though. My friend Garrett, who is a better night sky photographer than I’ll ever be, has some truly spectacular images of this lighthouse under the Milky Way. If you haven’t already you should click on his name in the post and check out his work.

    • Tell me about it! Had I been out on the lake alone theres no telling how far it would have gotten off to by the time I realized it was gone. It was bad enough having my tripod blow over in the wind, damaging the lens I was using(only slightly and only cosmetically), but to loose all of my other lenses and filters too? That would not be a call to my insurance company that I would look forward to making.

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