On the 21st of April, I attended an Astrophotography Workshop run by the very talented Alyn Wallace (check out his FB page https://www.facebook.com/awallacephoto/).
I amazingly left the house on time (a first for me!) and got to the location just before 5 pm. Well, I say location, I couldn’t actually find the building we were supposed to be meeting in. After a few laps around the industrial state, I started to panic a wee bit! I then noticed two other cars doing laps around and soon discovered they were lost to trying to find the meeting place! We set off in convoy and after a few laps finally found the location, phew!
I then noticed two other cars doing laps around and soon discovered they too were lost and trying to find the meeting place! So we set off in convoy and after a few laps finally found the location, phew!
Thankfully Alyn hadn’t started without us, and we then joined the other 5 people attending the course. We were in the classroom for about 3 hours and Alyn took us through everything to do with Astrophotography, from how to set up the camera to post-processing and the best places to find and photograph features in the night sky, like the milky way. He made everything seem simple and had plenty of comical stories to share on his many nights out taking photos of the stars!
I couldn’t wait to get out and put to the test all we had learned. Sadly the Welsh weather was not on our side and the clouds soon swallowed up all the stars available. We did manage to catch a few down Ogmore beach and it was just great to put the theory into practice.
Alyn invited us all back on Saturday night at 12:30 am to join him, as the Lyrid meteor shower was at its peak and the night was looking super clear. Well, I couldn’t say no to that and who needs sleep anyway!
On Saturday night as the family was settling down to go to bed, I was pulling on the layers and getting ready for a night out with the Nikon! As I was driving up to the Brecon Beacons Visitor Centre I hardly saw a soul, the stars were out in their full glory and I felt like the only person alive as I drove along the A40 with the majestic silhouette of Pen y Fan in the distance.
Once I arrived at the centre I met up with two of the guys who were on the course the previous night and after a few minutes of chatting and staring up at the stars we set up our cameras and started snapping away.
When my camera had finished its first long exposure and reviled the photography I was blown away. Never did I think I could capture such an image. The detail of the millions of stars that shone back at me through my camera’s screen was breathtaking!
I must have been out on the field for at least an hour and a half taking snaps of different angles heights and even caught a few shooting stars!
After a quick chocolate break and a warm up, I set out again just as I could see the Milky way rising up from Pen y fan! After changing a dead battery and readjusting the focus, I finally caught the Milky Way on camera and what a moment! I never thought that on my first Astro shoot I would capture so much and it was so rewarding.
But sadly the night was cut short by…. yep you guessed it clouds! By about 3:00 am the stars were once again swallowed up in a blanket of clouds.
As we were leaving to make our way back to the cars the sky suddenly lit up with a flash and we all turned to look at each other presuming one of us had flashed on our head torch. We hadn’t, it had a been an extremely bright and powerful shooting star passing over our heads! What a way to the end the night! Well apart from one of the guys having to smash his car window, but that’s another story 😉
But all I can say is what an incredible night and I am now addicted to Astrophotography and can’t wait to get back out to see what the night sky has to offer!