Star Trails at The Gauldrons
I captured some Star Trails at The Gauldrons last night after seen that there was a chance of some Aurora activity.
I noticed that Aurora Service were giving a KP rating of 5 (G1) which is enough to get me out. I had noticed that some people in Ireland were getting Aurora so that was me convinced to get dressed and head out.
Composition In The Dark
I headed out about 22:30 and had a little bit to walk to get to where I wanted. Head torch on and scouting for a decent composition in the dark is not as easy as I had imagined.
I walked the whole length of the shore but ended up heading back about halfway to a rock formation that I noticed on the way passed.
I liked the rock pools that were there and decided these would be my foreground and hopefully they would catch the reflection of the stars in them.
I started to setup, now I have to admit that Ian pretty lazy when it comes to working my tripod, I hate adjusting it, but last night wad good practise for me as I had to spend some time getting the tripod setup properly to get the foreground I wanted.
And this is where it didn’t go quite as I would have liked. As you will see below I wanted a particular rock pool as my foreground, so to get this the tripod was balance across another rock pool with the back leg in the pool.
At this point, I wasn’t to bothered about the sky as I had enough in the frame for the Aurora.
So, I was setup and ready to rock!!! Sorry, I had to. Anyway, I sat, waiting for the glow in the sky to begin and taking test shots to see if there was any sign of the Aurora…zilch, nothing.
So, I sat waiting a bit longer until my patience broke, roughly 2 minutes later 🙂
I took my phone out to check the Glendale App for any sighting, and guess what…no bloody phone signal, typical. Up yours 3, I am going elsewhere when my contract is up.
At this point I thought I’d rather be back home in my bed.
I walked about the shore a bit waiting for any signs of the Aurora and checking my phone for a signal, and I did get 1 bar, 4g also may I add. At this point I immediately stood still trying to keep my phone in the exact same position so I never lost that 1 bar to check the app again.
It was giving a substorm in progress with lots of people seeing the Aurora to the West and South of me, but yet still nothing for me.
After some more waiting I decided stuff this. I’m going to do some star trails. I haven’t done too many star trail photography so it was good a time as any to give it another go.
I kept the same composition but pointed the camera as high as I could to get in Polaris, which in the current location didn’t work, due to the rather awkward setup I had.
I will add that I was using my pano – tilt head last night, this was my first night outing with it and it will be my last as it does not tilt far enough for my liking, especially for star trails, it would do shooting Portrait orientation or doing a vertorama image, but for a single landscape image, it was no use.
First image below:
Shot at ISO 3200, 120 Seconds, f2.8. 10 images stacked.
After seeing the images I decided to re-compose as I was just missing Polaris. I only moved about 10 feet to the right to get my next image:
I was much happier with this image as I was able to get Polaris into the frame. Although I had my doubts it would work as the tide was coming up over the tripod legs which could have caused problems, however I had pushed the tripod right into the sand to keep it as stable as possible and give me a bit more of a tilt.
Shot at ISO 6400, F2.8, 60 seconds. 20 images stacked in Star Stax.
After doing the star trails and no sign of any Aurora activity I decided to head home.
Initially I was disappointed I never captured any Aurora but I was glad to get some star trail photography practise in.
As with all practise it’s good to do and I did take away some learning points from this outing, mainly to change my tripod head.