This is a shot I have been wanting to do since the beginning, and Friday night finally provided me with the right weather conditions and opportunity to go out and try and get this shot. This one was definitely a learning experience as much as it was a shooting experience. First important thing I learned when attempting a very long exposure like this one: check your focus with a quick 5 minute exposure before going in for the long haul!!! I didn’t do this (I thought I had it right) and a 45 minute exposure was completely worthless as the focus was way off. It is very hard to focus through a tiny view finder in to pitch black nothingness. The stars are all but impossible to see through it. After my failure I tested a 5 minute exposure on the brightest thing in the sky, which actually turned out to be Jupiter! It was kind of cool and I didn’t expect that at all, but when I held my Google Sky Maps app up to what was the brightest thing in the sky, it was definitely Jupiter. So, after getting my focus right I made another attempt. I like the image but it could have been better. First off, my camera’s sensor was getting pretty hot due to the multiple long exposures I had tried before this one. Plus it’s August. This heat caused a lot of digital noise in the image, despite my 100 ISO setting. Second thing was the 25 minute exposure. I would have liked have gone for an hour, but because of my first missed opportunity it ended up being close to 1a.m. for this exposure. This meant the night’s dew was setting in and my lens was starting to fog up. I had to call it quits.
Like I said, despite the problems, I still like this image a lot. And hey, the point of this project is to force me to learn new things, and I definitely learned a lot this go around.