TWAN / The world at night - First part
tl;dr - Recently, I decided to share my experience in the field of night photography with my students. Here I present the results of our first excursion, where we targeted Orion, the hunter.
In 2018, I decided to give a new hobby a try. Inspired by the work of other TWAN photographers, I started venturing out into the night and taking my first snapshots of the night sky, always along with a nice foreground. Now, in 2023, I deemed the time to be ripe to share my experience with others.
Six students of the Cusanusgymnasium Bruneck embraced the opportunity. In the afternoon of 7 December 2022 we had our first meeting, a workshop about the basics of night photography. For over two hours I filled the capacious brains of these youngsters with relevant concepts like polar alignment, guiding, stacking, noise, colour temperature, saturation level, etc. and introduced them to useful apps like Peakfinder or Stellarium.
Painfully aware of this abstract and quite demanding immersion into the topic, I hoped to promptly add a nightly excursion on top, however, bad weather teamed up with the bright moon to thwart these plans. We all had to twiddle our thumbs until 13 January 2023 when we could collect some photons, at last.
We chose a nice spot not far from Bruneck, a small chapel named "Kapplerstöckl". Some roaming clouds distrustfully looked down at us, occasionally hiding one or another star of the distinctive constellation Orion, however after two hours of filling up our SD-cards we were confident: The evening was a success!
|Stargazing at the iconic "Kapplerstöckl".|
Image credit: Norbert Scantanburlo
|Setting up the equipment. Maja, Karin, Matthias and Alex (from left).|
During the Easter holidays, we found the time to work on the raw images we had acquired. We selected the best shots, aligned and stacked them and - the most tedious task - carefully blended the foreground and the sky into one composite. This revealed to be a special challenge, since we had some naked trees in the images. Their branches, reaching high up into the starry sky, required almost Jedi-like crop-tool skills.
|First result by Karin Trenker and Maja Gritsch.|
The two decided to go wide-field.
|Cropped image - the constellation Orion.|
|Second result by Matthias Mair, Alex Pardew (image acquisition) |
joined by David Messner and Andreas Stuflesser (for image processing).
That's the end of this article, however, not of the adventure! The summer Milky Way is already waiting in the wings, and so are we. Before the end of the school year, we plan to spend a night at Burgerhof, a local, off the beaten track mountain farm. There we will once more raise our heads to the sky, set up our tripods, mount our lenses, and unleash our mighty shutter fingers. Stay tuned for more cosmic delights! 🌟