The month of October 2019 wasn't noted for its fine weather over my homeland of North Wales, so when a transitory ridge of high pressure settled over the area for a couple of days, bringing clear, cold conditions, I got all excited about the chance of getting out with my camera.
But where to go and what to photograph?
Well other conditions came into play that influenced that decision.
Firstly, the good weather occured midweek, and with the clocks having gone back an hour it was now pretty much dark by 6pm at my latitude of 53°N, so my chances of photographing in daylight after work were nil.
Secondly, it was the time of the new moon, which meant that we had dark skies at night, with the resulting possiblity of some star time lapse filming.
Thirdly, there were some of the highest tides of the year occuring over the days and nights in question, and tidal movement also makes for a great time lapse subject.
So, having decided that a stars / tide time lapse shoot was the best way to use this weather window, my next decision was where to go.
I needed a beach with a lot of flat sand that the incoming tide could race across, while giving me a decent view of the moving stars and also a static focal point that could anchor all the otherwise moving elements in my final video.
Then the ideal location sprang to mind, the north facing beach at Talacre, just a half hour's drive from my home.
Sticking up out of Talacre beach must be one of the most iconic sights on the North Wales coast, the abandoned Point of Ayr lighthouse, perfect for that static focal point I was looking for.
The only problem I could see with a night time star shoot at Talacre was the light pollution from the nearby towns of Birkenhead and Liverpool, together with the brightly lit North Wales coastal strip.
But in the end I needed have worried, as the stars were still visible, shining brightly overhead, and the light pollution actually worked in my favour, adding some orange colour contrast to the deep blue night time skies.
And it turned out that the tide and the stars weren't the only moving things registering in my time lapse sequence as numerous aircraft flew through my composition during the shoot, together with ships sailing past the red lights of the Colwyn Bay wind farm on the horizon.
The entire shoot lasted two and a quarter hours, with the tide racing up the beach and past the lighthouse in a most dramatic fashion while the Plough star constellation wheeled around the pole star in the heavens above.
But the strangest thing I saw towards the end of the shoot was a brightly lit four legged gas drilling rig floating past, on its way to Mostyn docks just a couple of miles down the coast from Talacre.
Well I wasn't expecting that!
Filename - talacre night timelapse 02
Camera - Canon EOS 6D
Lens - 17-40mm zoom @ 24mm
Exposure (start of sequence) - 10 secs @ f4, ISO6400
Exposure (end of sequence) - 10 secs @ f4, ISO6400
Filters - None.
Shooting interval - 10 seconds
Location - Talacre, North Wales
This clip - HD 720p, 30fps (4K+, and 1080p HD formats also available)
Clip duration - 23 seconds
All content copyright © Howard Litherland 2009-2019 unless otherwise stated.