Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Back to Nature

I spent this bank holiday weekend getting back to nature in the New Forest, camping in Tipi's with my family and the in-laws/nieces and nephew. The kids went wild for it; we dressed up as native American Indians complete with face paintings, made dream catchers and tipi paintings, made up names for each other (of which i became Big-Frog!) and told traditional native American stories around the camp fire. It was magical....
...and very cold.

Once the little ones were tucked up in sleeping bags, i put another log on the fire and made my first successful(?) attempt at star-trail photography. I made a couple of mistakes before capturing this one - mostly under exposure from f-stops being too high, but when exposure times are around 30 minutes you cant really afford to keep on reshooting more and more shots if you want to get some sleep! I was reminded of Felix Grant's recent post reminiscing upon past days where his pocket money would only stretch so far as to allow one roll of 12 exposure film per fortnight to be developed - so he rationed himself to shooting less than one frame a day. I felt a bit like i had to ration these shots too, but it was time that was limiting me here, not money.

My mistakes meant that it took me nearly two hours to get this shot. Now i had found my 'perfect exposure' (f4, 20 mins, 100iso - Canon 10-22mm lens @ 10mm) i knew that i could increase the length of the star trails simply by stopping down a few stops and increasing the exposure to around an hour - and still get the same light balance in the foreground...

...but that would mean staying up for another hour at midnight and by now i had run out of firewood. No chance of that so back to the tipi i went. I did however learn a lot from this 3 frame shoot and will be a little more clued up for the next time i am out in the country in the middle of the night with my camera kit!

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