The night of April 22nd 2020 was billed as the peak of the year's Lyrid meteor shower, and under normal circumstances I would have taken myself and my camera off to one of our nearby dark sky reserves here in wonderful North Wales to film the event.
But these were not normal times, and with the country in coronavirus lockdown my opportunities for photographing the night skies extended only as far as my back yard.
In the middle of a housing estate, surrounded by trees, houses and streetlights lighting up the night sky, it proved a little challenging to frame a composition that included some suitable foreground against which to place the sky.
But with a careful bit of tripod adjustment and zooming I was able to create this view, free of domestic clutter and using the trees just the other side of my fence as a bottom anchor for my time lapse of the stars.
With house lights being turned on and off at random those trees started off glowing orange in the artificial lights, but as the night progressed and people went to bed (including me!) the lighting conditions stabilised.
Did I mention I went to bed?!
One unexpected advantage of filming from the security of my own house was that I was able to set camera up with a fresh memory card and battery, fix the exposure levels to suit the night sky and just leave the camera taking images via my intervalometer.
I had calaculated that, shooting twenty second exposures, my 32GB memory card would last about five hours, but in the end the battery packed up with just eighty five shots left available on the card.
But even so, a very creditable performance, and one that saw me through to the start of astronomical twilight, with the sky just starting to lighten from the east.
On processing the resulting RAW files through Adobe Lightroom and creating the video with Adobe Premiere, I was pleased to see quite a nice, clear night time sky, full of stars wheeling across the heavens behind those trees, with the odd flash of a satellite shooting by and the quite rare flash of a Lyrid meteor as it burned out in the upper reaches of our atmosphere.
Then, as an added treat as the sky started to lighten, the latest train of Starlink satellites shot upwards through my frame, speeded up and looking like a stream of machine gun bullets.
Just before my camera battery finally packed up as well!
So, considering the circumstances, I was more than happy with my night's photographic efforts.
Filename - buckley stars timelapse 02
Camera - Canon EOS 6DMK2
Lens - 17-40mm zoom @ 24mm
Exposure (start of sequence) - 20 secs @ f/4, ISO3200
Exposure (end of sequence) - 20 secs @ f/4, ISO3200
Filters - None.
Shooting interval - 20 seconds
Location - Buckley, North Wales
Video processing - Adobe Lightroom and Adobe Premiere Pro
This clip - HD 720p, 30fps (4K, and 1080p HD formats also available)
Clip duration - 29 seconds
All content copyright © Howard Litherland 2009-2020 unless otherwise stated.