As I have mentioned before, I have wanted to do more astrophotography, but the idea of going out in the middle of the night by myself doesn’t appeal to me. So when I found out about a local photography meet-up group, I joined.
Thursday night, a group of 16 photographers took off for Todd Lake on the Cascades Lake Highway to take photos of the Milky Way over Mt. Bachelor. It is about a 1/2 mile hike from the parking area to the far side of the lake where we would have a view of the mountain. The trail was in good condition with just a few soggy areas and a few stumps to climb over, but without a headlamp, I probably would have fallen and broken my body.
It was a phenomenal night for astrophotography. The skies were clear and the water was calm. The first shots I took were when the stars were just starting to appear. As the evening progress and it got darker, the Milky Way started to appear from the right and slowly moved across the sky until it was directly over Mt. Bachelor. Being up in the mountains is was quite cool once the sun went down so I was glad I had dressed accordingly. I also had my gloves which saved my fingers.
Most of my photos were at ISO 6400, at my widest aperture (which on my lens was 3.5) and between 20-25 seconds. I would love to get a faster lens for my night photography but for now, my lens will have to do.
We kept shooting until about 11:30 p.m. when about half the group left, me included since I had to work the next morning). It was a fantastic evening and I can’t wait to go out and shoot again. In fact, that will be next weekend when a group is going out to Sparks Lake to photograph star trails. That will be a new experience for me and I am really looking forward to it.
If you want to try astrophotography, I highly recommend getting a head lamp and red flashlight. The headlamp is very comfortable (I forgot I had it on) and bright enough to illuminate the area around you. And it wasn’t very expensive – about $19.00 at Amazon. And the red flashlight is great for looking at your camera settings in the dark. Again, not very expensive – about $7.00 at Amazon.
This is the headlamp I used (you can click on it for a link to Amazon):
Here is the red flashlight I used (you can click on it for a link to Amazon):