DSC_0618-EditI am fascinated by astronomy, the galaxies and stars and I’ve always wanted to photograph them, especially the Milky Way as the definition is so intense. One of the most difficult aspects to creating good astrophotographs is the other elements to include in the image. An image of solely the night sky is not nearly as interesting as one that includes some earthly element to give us scale and interest.

Trees, rocks, mountains offer great interesting subjects to photograph under a starry night sky, but sometimes you want something a little more. I have always wanted to capture the stars behind something man made and I’ve tried a couple of times. A curving mountains road, bridges, interesting dark abandoned buildings. They have been interesting but I wanted more.
When exploring the Outer Banks with good friends Athena Carey and Josh Carlisle a year ago I attempted to capture the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse under the stars. In my mind this was the perfect object as there was an emotion that the lighthouse brought to the table. The purpose of a lighthouse is to inform and warn sailors where the land is and it does that by sending its lighted signal into the darkness. An illuminated light against a dark starry sky would tell a very interesting story. While I didn’t achieve my goal that year I tried again more recently and came away with much more pleasing results.

These are both single exposures of the Bodie Island Lighthouse captured with the Rokinon 14mm at f/2.8, ISO 2000 and ISO 3200 on the Nikon D800 respectively. The secret for these was timing to only get one rotation of the light.  In this case I was limited to 25 seconds before the light came around again. 🙂

Have you tried astrophotography with significant light in the frame?

Light up the Night