Since coming to Thailand almost two months ago (oh god, time has passed by quickly), I have been experimenting a bit with night photography. It has really fascinated me for a few years, but it’s quite difficult to get into. First of all, you need a decent camera, then you need a lot of knowledge, then you need a good place to do it, and then you need lots and lots and lots of luck. It also helps to have an app like PhotoPills on your phone, but even then you virtually need a doctorate in astronomy just to figure out how to use it.
Anyway, I began experimenting on the roof of my apartment building a few weeks ago, shooting the stars with pretty mixed success. This was probably my best photo:
A little later, I attempted to shoot photos of a lightning storm, which is more difficult and infinitely more dangerous. I got lots of photos but none really turned out well. This was probably the best:
Beautiful… but a bit blurry.
A few nights ago, I was about to go to bed when I noticed that it was quite clear outside. Now that the rainy season has arrived, it is typically rather cloudy in the evenings, but all of a sudden we had an unexpected clear night. I then noticed just how starry it was… I pulled out my phone and checked PhotoPills, my weather app, and a guide to the nightsky.
They all told me the same thing:
This was the perfect night for shooting the stars.
No clouds, no moon, and the Milky Way rising above the horizon at about 11pm. Great!
I realized that my boring old roof wouldn’t provide a great foreground, and so I decided to hop on my bike and drive along the dark roads to Promthep Cape, where I previously shot some cool sunset photos.
The roads were dark and quiet, and thus pleasant to drive. The air was also surprisingly cool, too, which made a real difference from the sweltering heat of the day. Towards the cape, I began to worry that I wouldn’t find anywhere sufficiently dark because the street lights even in the middle of nowhere were quite bright.
At the cape, I found a dark path and wandered to where I felt I would be able to get a decent shot. The fishing boats on the horizon were brightly illuminated, which wasn’t ideal because it would blow out the horizon portion of the photo. Moreover, mosquitoes were swarming around my ankles and I had no desire to get dengue fever… I realized that my roof was great for taking the time to set up a series of shots, but here I’d have to be faster.
I shot a handful of photos that were more or less satisfactory. Here are my two favourites:
They are not the greatest photos in terms of composition. If I had spent longer, I could’ve gotten something much better. However, in terms of actually shooting the stars, I think these worked really well. I have my fingers crossed for another perfect night like this… but I’m not holding my breath.