As most people know the winter in Norway means short, short days. The sun sets very early so excluding weekends the chance to go out and shoot sunsets or just scenes filled with light in general are rare. I consider myself more of a photographer who enjoys sunrise and sunset photos than night/astrophotography, and I have never really bothered to try it before neither. But this winter I decided to try and go out when there was clear skies, and no moon (it doesn't happen very often) to capture the stars above the islands of Hvaler.
The first trip out was late October, and to my big surprise you can actually see the milkyway pretty clear here at Hvaler. Its the first time I have managed to capture it, so that was very exciting as well, and even though the technical aspect of the photo definitely show that this isn't the type of photography I normally do it was fun to make it.
This photo was taken at Viker, one of my favourite places to go here at Hvaler. I know it like the back of my hand and if I ever want to go out and do some shooting but I dont have a specific location in mind, I always end up at Viker. Its a beautiful place and I very rarely meet other people there when I walk out on the rocks towards the ocean.
November came and went, and the weather never got good enough that I would be able to capture some stars. But in December I got some nice nights, and on one of them I went to Brattestø. Its a "beach" filled with big rocks and a rather ugly lighthouse to be honest, but its still one of the most photographed places in Hvaler. As you can clearly see, the milkyway is almost invisible come December, at least here in Hvaler, as far as I know the best months to photograph it is October through November up here - but please correct me if I'm wrong.
Again I had the place all to myself, and I spent a couple of hours there, just enjoying being outside in the cold gazing up at the stars. Even though I have never before been a big fan of doing night/astrophotography I have always thought that the night sky is one of the most beautiful things we can look at, specially on cold nights when the air is crystal clear.
A thermos with hot coffee is a must when you're spending several hours outside at night in freezing temperatures. And a batteribank for the phone, lets just say the iPhone isn't a fan of the cold and without the batteribank my phone dies the second I take it out of my pocket.
With the milkyway being almost invisible now on the night skies here in Hvaler I wanted to try something that I have always thought looked cool - making star trails. So last night, I had my first trip out to do some shooting in 2018 and went to a place called Ørekroken, which is located on the island Kirkøy. From the place I went you can see Viker (the place on the first photo) beneath the trails and I was happy enough with how it turned out. One thing I learned though is that I need a second camera. Doing star trails and letting the camera be static for 1 hour gets kinda boring. Don't get me wrong, I love just sitting and watching the sky and enjoying the peace and quiet, but I also want to be able to do something else if I feel like it, or I see another composition.
What I learned from making my first star trail photo is also that I need a lot more than 80 pictures. I learned that even though the interval timer in the X-T2 is awesome, I need a remote to avoid the 1sec delay between the pictures, because there are a lot of small gaps. And I learned that I need a new mac, because holy macaroni! Editing and stacking all those files was a pain. All in all I'm happy with how it turned out, and want to try to make some more star trail photos.
This winter has been fun for me, I have gone out of my comfort zone and tried something new that I haven't done before. Doing photography at night is absolutely something I will continue with, and instead of dreading the next winter I actually look forward to it. The winter will last at least a couple of more months here, until late February early March, so if the weather comes good again, the moon stays away so the sky is super dark I will absolutely bring my thermos and the camera equipment of for another long cold night to do some photography.
So until next time, have a good one!