A first attempt at astrophotography

A conversation with a friend last Wednesday led to a spontaneous adventure to find some dark sky to see the meteor showers.

After stopping for some proper fish and chips in Chepstow (at Kibby’s), we headed towards Sugar Loaf Mountain in the Brecon Beacons. But as we drove, the clouds continued to gather and thicken, so we turned round to head towards the clearer sky over the Cotswolds.

We ended up just off the A46 in Hawkesbury Upton in front of the Somerset Monument, constructed in 1846 as a memorial to Lord Edward Somerset, who led the British cavalry at the Battle of Waterloo.

The sky began to clear as we discussed whether it was worth trying and we saw a meteor streak across the sky, so decided to give it a go.

After setting up the tripod and some issues trying to focus my camera in the dark, I managed to obtain a few shots, experimenting with different ISO settings and shutter speeds. Unfortunately we didn’t see any more meteors.

But I was pleased the next morning when I began reviewing and editing my photos and eventually managed to produce a reasonable photo of the stars.

First attempt at astrophotography!

It took a bit of fiddly editing in Photoshop, trying to create a layer mask to lighten the monument without losing the depth of the sky. But, for a first attempt, I’m pretty happy with this! And it’s been a good test of what my Nikon D5600 can achieve.

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