Photographing the Milky Way – with Nphoto Magazine
Landscape astrophotography 12-page workshop and apprentice feature
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So, early 2016 I ran a low light landscape photography workshop over a few days in Dorset, the difference being, I had the guys from Nphoto magazine along with me documenting the whole process, and a reader called James to teach.
The shoot was for an apprentice feature that the magazine run monthly, issue per issue; it went to press, and hit the shelves for the July edition, Issue 60.
Talk about privileged, the magazine has a general rule of never using the same professional twice for this feature; and why should they, they cover so many genres within the feature, and use an array of pro photographers, using one of their readers each time, helping them generate some awesome imagery, whilst also learning the exact technique. However, I recently worked as the professional on a second apprentice feature for the magazine
The feature consists of the readers’ (the apprentice) images taken under professional guidance and instruction that feature within the magazine, cool ay!
Full on night sky, landscape astrophotgraphy, nightscape workshop, whichever title you wish to categorise this genre of photography in (personally I prefer nightscape), this was going to be the emphasis of the entire feature.
Running nightscape workshops is not easy at the best of times, as naturally they are dictated by the weather far more than landscape photography workshops, you can’t just take your team out in the rain, and now we have to produce something for the feature. No pressure then!!!!!!
Photographing Cornwall by night.
Cornwall, that was my choice of location when Jason Parnell, writer, photographer, and one of the editors for the mag asked me where I had in mind for the workshop to take place!
This time, the reader selected is flying all the way from Lincolnshire, and it turns out the main editor, Adam Waring, is coming down for the shoot; no pressure then!
To be honest, Cornwall was a straight forward choice, the timing meant that I was already situated down there for three weeks running several of my own landscape and night photography workshops.
So naturally I know plenty of locations in Cornwall ideal for photographers to learn night photography, and I had free days in between delivering photographic tuition to private clients.
It was on ……
The first night we were in business from the get go, forecast was second to none with regards to clear skies, Gav’s (the reader and apprentice) flight was a little late, but other than that, things were all good.
The guys picked me up, and we headed toward our first location, and a personal favourite of mine, Kynance Cove.
Some years back I wrote an article for a magazine stating that within the heavily light polluted country of England, Kynance Cove was undoubtedly the darkest place I had come across, and it works wonders for shooting the Milky Way.
Anyone that knows my night photography work knows it has spanned the length and breadth of England and Scotland, from Land’s End to John O’ Groats, so it was quite a statement to make.
Anyway, we got into gear, Gav used a Nikon D750, which has a reputation for being a camera that has great low light capabilities, and the image of Kynance Cove and the Milky Way above was the first shot I helped instruct him how to create.
The time of year meant that we had lost the prominent part of the Milky Way below the horizon by this point, however, another good location lay just around the corner, and it’s one I often run my workshops from; Polpeor Cove at Lizard Point, the United Kingdom’s most south westerly point.
It was a frigid September night, but we still managed some trails over Lizard Point Lighthouse too, before retiring around 2 am and making the journey back to our accommodation.
The second night cloud kicked in, but not before we got another shot for the mag of Ursa major from Watergate Bay, not a good location at all for night photography, but we had to dodge the rain and also get shots of gear etc, and this is about as far as we got before we realised the weather would turn on us sooner rather than later.
We got rained off in the end, and had to get out on the final day and work up some profile shots and a few more bits of gear, again, we were blessed with getting rained on!
All in all, a great shoot and enjoyable working with Nphoto magazine again, an independent Nikon magazine in case you are unfamiliar with the popular mag.
Oh, and I got to play with one of the first Nikon D850’s for a couple of days too!!
The feature is printed over 12 pages, and I’m afraid you’ll have to purchase the magazine to read the whole article, within which I give away plenty of technique, tips, and tricks with regards to producing night sky photography landscape image. Or alternately, check out my workshops and 1-2-1 landscape astrophotography tuition.
Featured Cornwall Night Photography Workshop.
7th – 10th June 2018