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Comet Neowise over Talacre, North Wales #1

Comet Neowise over Point of Ayr lighthouse at midnight, North Wales

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The story behind this image

July 2020 and the big news astronomically speaking was the flyby of the reasonably bright comet C2020 F3, otherwise known as Neowise.

Here in North Wales the weather plays a big part in what can and can't be seen at night, so when the forecast predicted a clear night on Saturday 11th I got all excited about the chance of pulling an all nighter to watch and photograph the comet in our reasonably dark skies.

But I didn't want to photograph the comet in isolation, I wanted some recogniseable North Wales landmark to include in the frame to add a sense of location and to form a fixed element against which I could photograph the comet's movement across the sky, just about 10deg; above the northern horizon.

So I needed a landmark, plus an unobstructed view of the horizon looking north, plus reasonably dark skies (although full darkness isn't achieved this close to midsummer at a latitude of 53°N).

I knew of only one place that fulfilled all of those needs, the north facing beach at Talacre, complete with the iconic Point of Ayr lighthouse sticking up out of the sands.

So I timed my arrival to start shooting the hundreds of still images required to make my Talacre Comet Timelapse #1 video at midnight, and being in British Summer Time (BST, or UTC+1) that meant the sky would reach its darkest an hour later, at just after 1am.

The sky was still pretty bright along the horizon, but at an elevation of 10°the view was dark enough to allow the comet to be seen easily with the naked eye, and given a modern DSLR's ability to see in the dark I as able to set the exposure to give a really clear and vivid image of the stars and the comet without over exposing the lovely twilight colours lower in the frame.

This frame is one of those captured during the early part of my time lapse shoot, with the sky at its darkest, and shows the comet Neowise in a star studded expanse to the left of the lighthouse.

Well worth losing some sleep to witness and photograph such an amazing phenomenon in such a great location.

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Talacre Comet Timelapse #1

Image data

Filename - talacre comet 01

Camera - Canon EOS6DMK2 DSLR

Lens - 17-40mm zoom @ 40mm

Exposure - 15 secs @ f/4, ISO1600

Filters - None.

Location - Talacre, North Wales

Image enhancements - Adobe Lightroom

Comments - This image is one of hundreds captured to create my Talacre Comet Timelapse #1 video.