Behold the Night Sky

Three photography outings in one day – what a great way to start the New Year! We rose early enough to photograph the first sunrise of 2014. After lunch, we walked the main pathway between Three Sisters and the Canmore townsite to photograph the Bow River valley. Following supper, we headed out through our back yard to continue our exploration of night photography.

This fourth effort at photographing star trails over Three Sisters is the best one yet! Mr. GeoK struggled with the remote shutter release via bluetooth connection between his Olympus OM-D E-M1 and his iPhone, but he persevered and came away with about 40 minutes of photographs which we  merged using StarStaX. The lights across the face of the mountain are the headlamp of a fatbike rider moving east to west along the Highline Trail.

This fourth effort at photographing star trails over Three Sisters is the best one yet! Mr. GeoK struggled with the remote shutter release via bluetooth connection between his Olympus OM-D E-M1 and his iPhone, but he persevered and came away with about 40 minutes of photographs which we merged using StarStaX. The lights across the face of the mountain are the headlamp of a fatbike rider moving east to west along the Highline Trail.

Christmas lights reflecting off snow and ice offer a positive take on artificial light, while the light pollution from somewhere (the LaFarge plant, Dead Man's Flats or even Calgary?) reflecting off the clouds makes a compelling case in support of dark sky preserves.  ~ photo by Mr. GeoK

Christmas lights reflecting off snow and ice offer a positive take on artificial light, while the light pollution from somewhere (the LaFarge plant, Dead Man’s Flats or even Calgary) reflecting off the clouds makes a compelling case in support of dark sky preserves.
~ photo by Mr. GeoK

Once again, the night wind was blowing clouds from west to east along the Bow Valley. Street lights in the town of Canmore actually helped Mr. GeoK achieve a good mix of highlights and shadows in this photograph of clouds over Mount Rundle.

Once again, the night wind was blowing clouds from west to east along the Bow Valley. Street lights in the town of Canmore actually helped Mr. GeoK achieve a good mix of highlights and shadows in this photograph of clouds over Mount Rundle.

Lots of Canmorites enjoy the outdoors after dark. The four nights we were out we spotted hikers and mountain bikers, including this solo rider heading for the Highline Trail.  ~ photo by Mrs. GeoK

Lots of Canmorites enjoy the outdoors after dark. The four nights we were out we spotted hikers and mountain bikers, including this solo rider heading for the Highline Trail.
~ photo by Mrs. GeoK

Canmore-star-trail

After accidentally switching from manual to auto focus on our second night out, Mrs. GeoK was determined to make another attempt at a vertical format star trail photograph incorporating trees as the main foreground element. As on our third night out, the clouds created some overly strong highlights, which were toned down in Lightroom once the series of 120 images was stacked using the Startrails app.

spruce-at-night

Because Mr. GeoK was still taking photographs for his star trail, I wasn’t able to use a flashlight to help compose and frame any of my many attempts to photograph a lone tree reaching to the stars. Out of more than a dozen tries, this was my most successful attempt. The result is encouraging enough that I’d like to try again when I have the freedom to use a flashlight to help with composition.

plane-in-night-sky

I spotted this plane as it cleared Grotto Mountain and since Mr. GeoK was still working on his Three Sisters star trails series, I opted to compose one more photograph before packing up my gear.

We’re back in Calgary now, where light pollution dominates the night sky, so we’ll be taking a break from night photography until we return to Canmore. In the meantime, I’ll do some more reading on the topic, including creating star trails, so if you have some “must read” recommendations, please leave them in a comment.

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5 thoughts on “Behold the Night Sky

    • Thanks! Not an original idea on my part. There are some phenomenal night photographers in Banff and Canmore, including Paul Zizka. I also did some reading before making my first attempt and if you’re interested in some of the articles and websites I found most helpful, check the last part of this post. In my limited experience, the most important thing is to just try it! The worst that can happen is that you have to delete a bunch of image files and the best outcome is an amazing photograph!

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