It was a long chase this afternoon. Storms were coming in from the west above the range but it was hard to predict what direction they were going to go once they came off the range. I headed out to a friends place at Gatton to get a better look and it soon became obvious I was too close.
Jumping back in the car I backtracked almost all the way back home and ended up at Ripley. There was lots of scud dropping down and the storm started rotating quite quickly. Hiking up a hill to get a look over the Ripley Valley I came across this amazing sight. There was colour in the cloud from who knows where, greens were popping in the core. Bolts were dropping down as well and the rain was coming on fast.
I took 3 series of 10 shot bursts and managed to nail this one shot with a bolt, very happy and thankful. Then the heavens opened and I had to walk back to the car getting absolutely drenched, I was not game to use an umbrella due to how lightning active the weather was and I carried my tripod as low as possible to avoid becoming a statistic. Thankfully my camera is fully weather sealed, just wish I was too!
That was it for this chase, the rain absolutely bucketed down causing flash flooding throughout the area and built into once massive line that headed over most of Brisbane and the bay.
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The moon has gone again this weekend and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky for 300ks. The temperature was forecast to be the lowest so far this year (around 5 degrees C in town, more like 2 degrees in the countryside). It looked like a perfect night for some more astro photography. With a slight breeze, everything stayed perfectly dry, no condensation whatsoever.
I caught up with my friend and after packing a few supplies (Picnic chocolate bars and Ice Coffee…yes Ice lol!) we headed out to a location I knew, but had not visited recently. I had word that a new windmill had been erected here and it looked like it was going to be in good alignment with the rising core of the Milkyway. With Mt Walker to the east of it, I thought I could get a really nice backdrop.
Arriving on sight we spent 10 minutes walking around looking at the angles. We noticed that we had a couple of problems to deal with. The first one as the core was not north enough to really put Mt Walker into the framing I wanted with the angle of lens I was using. The big one was the head of the windmill was facing almost due south, making it extremely hard to get a good view of it, and the core.
You can see from this first photograph the layout of the scene and one of my first attempts at seeing what result I could get. Mt Walker is to the left and there just wasn’t a workable angle.
Never one to give up, and we had a good hour window of shooting before the core was too high in the scene. I kept moving around working angles. Around 80 photos later (and they are all long exposures) I found I really liked this composition. Going vertical to really show the height of the Windmill, the core almost comes blasting out of it. And to top it off there were meteorites regularly dropping across they sky.
The peak of those is next weekend, it was great to see some real fireballs this night. I switched to a 20mm f.17 prime lens for this shot allowing a shorter shutter time (less noise) and a wider aperture (more light). This more zoomed in lens also enlarges the size of the core compared to the foreground, really bringing it into view. This also really captured the colours in the stars. The windmill and ground were illuminated with a torch my friend held to the side of the scene, painting over it with very quick movements. The slight breeze was enough to cause the windmill to turn, and I like the blurring effect during the long exposure, gives a nice sense of movement. The flat top of Mt Walker in the background is just enough in frame here to add some interest and give a sense of location.
This photograph has been added to my Astro Nightscapes gallery, really flowing well with my recent captures.
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