Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Diurnal to Nocturnal...

The glorious weather continued and I arranged to head over to the east to meet Cain and Gary for another night time photography session. Cain is progressing well with his dark sky national park project and you can check his updates on his facebook page . I landed at Garys house and there was 5-6 Red Kites soaring in the sun as we headed onto Cains house before heading north to Ingram valley to get in position early and stake out for over six hours shooting the time lapse. 
As we arrived in the valley we found a good vantage point looking down the valley to the east in a good position for the moon rising and into frame. 
The area was managed for Pheasants and there was not a bird of prey in sight...another mono species waste land. We did see a Dipper heading up stream. A bird that I will be focusing on in the next few weeks to try and do a photography portfolio and article on the species.

Garys shot of Ingram valley and Cains camera doing a 6 hour shift

Cain and Gary started up their Time lapses at dusk but as I was getting prepared do do a few still shots I discovered that I had left my memory card in my laptop back home...oh dear. Two Short-eared Owls showed and 3 Woodcock as the sun dropped and it went very cold indeed. We retreated to the car as the time went quick and all was a success as we celebrated with a 04:30 Mcdonalds meal. Look out for future results at...

Derwent water passenger steamer alongside the jetty in the early
hours down in Keswick
I stayed at Garys and house and after awakening in mid morning we headed off west to Cumbria in continued crisp sunshine. We called in to a site in Northumberland on route and got a Male Goshawk before arriving at Geltsdale. We watched a mediocre sunset before heading down to the Lakes for another night shift at a few sites which we had researched in advance. Clear skies forecast and as we arrived at our first site it had changed to overcast. Castleriggs stone circle was first up as we tried to adapt to the changing conditions, and look out for Garys black and whites on his new fish eye lens... 

Band of cloud rolled in...

Looking south on Derwent water...motion of the rolling clouds
We continued west for Keswick and focusing around Derwent water. A jetty and moored boats is always photogenic so we headed down there as there was a nice break in the cloud. We got shots of the passenger steamer and the snowy peaks were showing in the back drop thanks to the power of the moon. We headed up to Ashness bridge but cloud thickened up so just tried a B & W shot. headed further south and found the lonely pier at the south of the lake where we spent the remainder of our time before heading to Mcdonalds in Penrith for another 4am happy meal...Junk food specialists Gary and Cain are such a bad influence!

Jetty on Derwent at 3am...time for a Mcdonalds meal soon!

Waking up sharing a bed with Gary Storey is not the best start to a day in the world but it was going to get a whole lot better as with the sun shining we headed up the valley with John and the first sighting was a sunbathing Barn Owl on a rocky crevis in the heather. We headed further up the valley after noon at the suns strongest and the focus was for Adders. After the three of us spread out and put in a 24 minute shift we got rewarded as Gary encountered a basking female tight to a rock. We found a second female and Gary got a brief view of a disappearing Common Lizard to round off a great spell! 

Me and Gstoz focusing on the basking Adder...

Gary photographing the adder with his new toy...

40cm Female...

After getting back to the house to grab a sausage roll each it was straight back out to a fell side vantage point to photograph the sunset. As sunset was approaching it looked very promising but as the sun went below the horizon it was just non existent and there was no evidence that the sun was ever there. A Solway mist could of been the cause but another average to poor sunset as we sat to wait for the stars to appear. The moon wasn't up til 10pm so there would be a large number of stars on show. The suns remains eventually faded and the stars started to appear with Jupiter, Sirius and Betelgeuse showing first. I was keeping check on aurora updates as it had been brewing at around 4kp all day and as I tried shooting a few 30 sec exposures to the north I picked up the columns of the northern lights! it faded after that and the light pollution hampered things but a nice surprise.

We made our way down as I had a stonking head ache and Gary had to shoot off home so after a few more different shots adding our selves in the frames we headed down the hill. I seen Gary off and headed out again to keep check on the aurora but no more joy. A Screeching Barn owl been the highlight. A brill few days with the sun and stars...cheers Gary, Cain and Dad!    

Faint Northern Lights...purple columns seen...too much light pollution of Brampton, Longtown

Amazing sky on the fell prior to moon appearing...

My house under the stars as the moon appeared to the east...
that faint shade of green on the right horizon is aurora

Thanks for looking :)


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