Astrophotography - Yogesh Mhatre

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Startrails at Tatahatso

After taking some beautiful sunset shots at Tatahatso point (will post after a break), I decided to call it a day. I ate the blueberries that I had bought 2 days ago (of course stored in an ice chest), drank some coconut water, and then started to make my bed in the back of the car for the night. As a hobbyist puzzle solver and always in need of something to keep me occupied, I typically carry a Rubik's cube on my travel trips when I can. As I rested on my bed, I started to scramble my Rubik's cube so I can solve it. After a couple of scrambles and solves, I started to hear voices from my tour group, as if they were shooting something. I wondered what is that they were shooting this late at night. Turns out, the full lit moon acting as a good light source and creating some shadows on this gooseneck at Tatahatso point.

I wondered if this may be a good opportunity to do some star trails. I knew there were lots of clouds, but it was very windy and hence I was hopeful that I may get some clean frames. However, as the winds were very strong this seemed like a bad idea after taking a couple of test shots, and I was not comfortable leaving it the whole night at the edge taking long exposures of the scene. After debating for some time, a fellow tour member and friend - Jon Fischer, who was more prepared for this workshop than I was, offered me a rope to secure my camera for the night. After a bit of scouting for a nice position, I managed to find a gap wherein I placed my tripod and camera in a way that wind was partially blocked. So here I was, with one end of the rope tied to my tripod and the other to a giant boulder. Very skeptical of this placement, I punched in my intervalometer for 60s of continuous exposure and went back to solving Rubik's cube and ultimately slept then after.

At around 12:30-ish am, I woke up as the wind whistled through the slit of my car's window. It was as if someone woke me up to go check my camera, which I did. As I reached I was relieved to see that my camera was still there and didn't fell off the clip as well as it was still doing its job. Upon reviewing the immediate frame, I noticed that moon has now started to enter the frame and the highlights were blowing out. So I called it the end of star trails, untied the rope from the boulder and returned back, to sleep for the night. At the end of this, I captured 212 frames, of which only 78 were usable with less-to-no clouds in them. This is how it turned out. The brighter glow on the left side is due to moon approaching the scene.

5D Mark iiiArizonaAstro PhotographyAstrophotograhyIrix 15mmIrix FireflyIrix LensLandscapesLong ExposureOutdoorSkiesSkyStar TrailsTatahatsoYogesh Mhatre Photography