Chasing Stars

It’s not news that I really, really like astrophotography.

It’s been a while since I had a chance to do any astrophotography, so when the news about northern lights showed up, I drove out to Chilliwack to try and see if I can photograph it.

Sony A7R II
Sigma 35mm F1.2 DG DN ART
f/1.2, ISO 800, 8.0s

Of course it’d be too simple if I caught it, and given that the time wasn’t exactly the best for even photographing the milky way, I failed to get anything substantial.

Onto the next attempt, this time almost a year later in Porteau Cove. Unfortunately, it’s still no good. There’s just too much light pollution to really capture anything, and this was such an unprompted trip that I really wasn’t prepared.

I got some decent shots of the mountain out of this trip, and you really couldn’t tell if it’s night time in some of these shots, but I assure you it was around 1 AM, this is just how much light pollution there is near the major cities.

This takes us to yesterday.

I wanted to get serious this time, I looked for the dark sky zones, I’ve scoured the hotels, I’ve checked the lunar calendar and it was precisely a new moon (darkest time). At first I wanted to try Long Beach near Tofino, but the hotels are too expensive and the ferry logistics of getting onto the island wouldn’t work out last minute.

Next I wanted to try to find something near west Kamloops, I even had a hotel booked, but then someone sent a photo taken from Manning Park and I knew this was just a much better place, it’s a 2 hour drive, and I can get back in the same day, why spend money on a hotel when I can sleep in my own bed?

And I finally got it.

It took me probably 5 years to finally get this very clear shot of the milky way, and Manning Park was incredible. You can actually see most of the celestial bodies with the naked eye, and even my iPhone on a tripod was able to capture a very nice photo of the galactic center.

At this point I’m a bit lost. I’m not sure what to do next. Maybe a timelapse? Maybe stacking star-trails?

I’ll figure it out, probably.