Stars of Glen Haven, Michigan

I thought I’d share a few photographs I took of the night sky in and around Glen Haven MichiganSleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. This was my first attempt at this kind of photography, so I took a few notes as well.

stars_of_glen_haven_tug_boat_bw

Tug boat – Cannery Boathouse Museum, Glen Haven, MI

1. Don’t rock the tug boat (use a tripod and shutter-release cable to prevent camera-shake). Even with a high ISO setting (3200 +/-) and a wide-open lens capturing stars requires slow shutter-speeds (30 seconds +/-). Earth’s rotation will cause motion-blur / star-trails in exposures of much longer than 30 seconds.

Mast – US Life Saving Station, Glen Haven, MI

2. The moon can be surprisingly bright (shoot during a New Moon or wait for the moon to set for maximum star-capturing power). The illumination on this mast comes entirely from the moon, and while it can be helpful at times, if the moon is too high and/or full it can significantly reduce the number of stars you (and your camera) will see.

US Life Saving Station, Glen Haven, MI

3. Got a light? Bring that, too. I know, I know… I just mentioned how bright the moon is. Still, it’s very easy for a blogger (and her/his gear) to go bump in the night. Also, in extreme low-light situations you’ll often have to rely manual focusing – shining some light on nearby objects can be a big help with that.

Sleeping Bear Inn, Glen Haven, MI

4. Charge your battery (and your camera battery, too). Pre-plan (scout locations, look-up moon phases, weather reports, etc.) and pack-up early. Then get some rest. If you are like me, you will easily get carried away and the sun will be up in no time.

Cannery Boathouse Museum, Glen Haven, MI

5. Shoot the lights out (take lots-o-photographs). I find it never hurts to hedge my bet. It’s often easier to delete a few ‘bad’ photos than it is to get back on location and shoot more ‘good ones’.

Trees, Glen Haven, MI

6. Thank your lovely wifey. It takes great patience to help scout locations, transport gear and carefully aim flashlights at 3 o’clock in the morning, etc. It will all be greatly appreciated.

About these images: digital photographs (Canon 600D) lightly modified in Adobe Photoshop

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Orange Mist

Orange Mist © Robert Jay Matejcek

This wasn’t orange. At all. But it is now. So… that happened… I guess.

Billy Madison (of his art project): “I drew the duck blue because I’ve never seen a blue duck before, and to be honest with you, I wanted to see a blue duck.”

– Adam Sandler – Billy Madison

About this image: digital photograph taken and modified with smart phone

Back-Lit Bloom

Back-lit Bloom © Robert Jay Matejcek

More spring bits. Have a great weekend, everyone!

Maximillian Cohen: “9:13, Personal note: When I was a little kid my mother told me not to stare into the sun. So once when I was six I did. The doctors didn’t know if my eyes would ever heal. I was terrified, alone in that darkness. Slowly, daylight crept in through the bandages, and I could see.”

– Sean Gullette – Pi

About this image: digital photograph taken and modified with smart phone