Starry Nights - Rajesh Jyothiswaran

Cobalt hues & midnight blues

On a beautiful Ranch in Ennis, Texas about 30 miles from downtown Dallas as the crow flies, my friends and I shot the first of many compositions here as the Milky Way rose over the hill laden with bluebonnets. A gentle cool but moist breeze blew.

What I have found since I have been shooting astrophotography is that it needs practice and a lot of it. To be able to operate and juggle the camera settings in the dark of the night, needs repeated use of it and get the muscle memory built in so one does not need to shine the head lamp to look at the equipment.

Somewhere in that initial excitement of being able to shoot this scene, I found my shots were taking too long and I did not realize until after left this location that I had my bracketing turned on. Now that is what someone would call, a schoolboy error! Bracketing is a method of taking multiple shots instead of one with different exposure settings. In this case instead of one shot of 20 seconds duration, I ended up with 3 shots, 10s, 20s and 30s long.

I did not get a chance to go back and reshoot as my buddies had move on and I didn€€ want to be alone in the dark. With the multiple bracketed shots, I was however able to get something out. This is a result of 12 exposures stacked for the sky. (The -1 and +1 EV shots were adjusted to 0EV in LightRoom) and 7 exposures focus stacked for the ground.

Since my friends had moved on by the time I took these shots, there was no light painting of the foreground. What you see was shot in star light. For once the €€schoolboy error €€of overexposing some shots helped bring out the foreground details.

I like to include a title for my pictures and when I showed this to my older daughter, the first thing that she said was €€"Cobalt blues & midnight hues€€"

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