Smithsdownunder
Our journeys around Australia

On a clear night away from the towns and cities, the stars are amazing so I set myself a challenge to try and photograph the night sky. It was to be both challenging and dangerous.

Firstly I had to wake up at some unearthly of the morning after the sun was well below the horizon but without the moon. I left one of the windows open on the flysheet so that I could see what the sky was like. On the designated night I woke up but just saw greyness so thought that it was cloudy. An hour or so later I checked and the sky was perfect - In my drousyness and with only one eye open I hadn't actually been looking out of the window the first time!

The next part was very challenging mentally and slightly hazardous. I had to actually get out of my nice warm sleeping bag which was very difficult. It was hazardous because I had to get out of the sleeping bag, find my camera and get out of the tent without waking Ali who was snoring away beside me.

I eventually managed to persuade myself to get up and with a bit of stumbling in the blackness found my camera and remote shutter release.

Now I had to get out of the tent which involved opening two zips. I reconed that if I synchronised the unzipping with Ali's snoring I might get away with it. The zip on the inner tent went well and after about 10 snores it was open enough for me to get through. The outer zip was a bit trickier as it was  bigger and noisier. Again carefully timing the zipping with the snoring I managed to undo it.

Now for the next stage - fumble around for the camera and get outside. Then it happened - RIPPPP! I had forgotten about the three small pieces of velcro that held the outer door closed. There was a bit of a snort from the behind me but I had gotten away with it.

The next part of the operation was a bit more hazardous as I was standing in the bush in my birthday suit with goodness knows what poisonous creatures around me and under my toes waiting to bite or sting! I think snakes go to sleep at night don't they?

With everything set up I now had to guess at the settings for the camera. My first guess was a two minute exposure at 6400ASA with the 8mm lens. The camera was mounted on its hi-tech tripod (On top of a towel laid on top of the cooker). I pushed the button and held it down while counting 120secs. Was that a bat that flew past and what is that on my foot? There are scorpions here. After the estimated two minutes with the camera pointed directly upwards the result was overexposed, an almost white screen with a few bright dots. I didn't know but there had been a bushfire on the neighbouring Kangaroo Island and the smoke was drifting across us.

The next attempt was more successful, same settings but with a 15s exposure. Here is the result.
Stars
Another go but with a 30s exposure resulted in this:
Milky Way
I thought I might try and get the tent in the picture as well so after a bit of fiddling around with the hi-tech tripod I got this shot:
The stars over the tent

That was enough, it was time to put the operation in reverse and get back into the tent and back to bed wthout awakening Ali - it worked.

I will try again when we are in the desert later in the trip.

Oh and in the morning Ali said 'Did you get a good picture last night?'