October 28, 2017

I went hiking up to Skyline Divide last night. It has a fabulous view of the north side of Mount Baker. I left from the trail head at about 10:30pm and got to the ridge line at about 11:30pm. The moon set at 1:00am. I brought my camera to do some star photos. It was surprisingly warm and I could have easily camped up there had I brought a tent and I probably should have since the trail is three hours from my apartment and I effectively did not sleep last night.

This is my first real attempt at star photos and this is what I got from it. Unfortunately, Bellingham is surprisingly close to Mount Baker so there was plenty of extra light coming from behind me and I think that might have impacted the quality. You can also see the light from Everett and Seattle behind Mount Baker which is also disappointing.

One crucial thing that I also learned is to pay attention to the markings for infinity when setting focus. Infinity is at different points depending on the focal length and your photo will look like shit if you forget this. For the star trails you can see that I only ran it for like twenty minutes. I ran another one for a full hour but it was super overexposed from all of the ambient light. I mean, it looked okay but it was practically daylight in the photo and the southeasternly direction of the photo makes the stars not rotate around anything in particular. I'm also shit at post processing so I don't really like any of these.


IDK, looks good to me
posted at 6:33PM PDT on October 28, 2017 by Michael
Yeah, looks good for a start. Becky and I tried some basic astrophotography at the last star party and nothing really turned out as well as this. I'll send you a text with a link to a presentation given by one of our members with some good tips.
posted at 8:27AM PDT on October 29, 2017 by xack
I think that I have the photography part down. I know kind of what the settings are to take the photograph.

Really I am taking away two things: First, I need to get farther away from cities. Seriously, the light from Bellingham was making it such that I didn't really need a headlamp. The coordinates for the trail head are 48.8810085, -121.8668101, so I was really just at the edge of the wilderness.

The second is that I need to make these photos brighter in post. Just sharing them they all look super dark. I was struggling to balance between brightening them and introducing a ton of artifacts into the photo. I was already pushing the ISO pretty high so there wasn't much to work with.

I also want to reiterate that focusing on infinity is hard.
posted at 7:40AM PDT on October 30, 2017 by paul
The city lights backlit the mountains and made the photo more interesting, even though that probably made the stars less visible. I like it.
posted at 2:07AM PST on November 8, 2017 by dcl

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