I began posting my analog astrophotography here on CN in 2007, which now feels like a long time ago. I migrated from 35mm to 6x7 that year. In hindsight, those first few posts were far from my best work. I was still learning, despite my dabbling with astrophotography since the early 80s.
I hit my stride in 2012 and was able to make great images at will. Mosaics using two to four frames were becoming routine and my best work was before me. In 2013 cardiac arrest took my life for the course of about 15 minutes before I was successfully revived. I believe my heart trouble was due in part to working a long schedule of a day job and astrophotographer in the short nights of summer. A caution to other amateur astronomers burning the candle at both ends.
In 2014, just to prove to myself that I was back from the dead, a full summer of late night astrophotography with longer lenses - adding more to the portfolio of images and feeling smug about it.
The drought began in 2015 with a dearth of images, blamed in part by the weather and other circumstances beyond my control. September of that year saw my last coordinated effort, with only a few shots here and there. I had moved to digital partially, exploring what could be done. Come to find out allot - but also, not so much.
From 2015 to present, I've taken to using my experience and knowledge base to work for me in other endeavors. I've also slowly migrated from medium format to large format.
Astrophotography is the technique of long exposure photography coupled with the effort to reliably track, or more accurately, counteract the rotation of the Earth. Where else may the long exposure portion of the craft be useful?
In 2009 I began efforts to make long exposures of the nocturnal seascape. Fortunately, my location placed me in an ideal situation. I live within the Schoodic National Scenic Byway here in Maine. Schoodic Peninsula is part of Acadia National Park. It is perhaps one of the most beautiful seacoasts in all of America.
Astrophotographers, in general, are not artist in a conventional sense. We are highly technical, which is a prerequisite for the craft. Developing an artist's eye, mind, and spirit has taken time. Ten years ago I would not have guessed my affection for photography as an art form would supplant astrophotography.
My desire to shoot the night landscape is just an extension of my astrophotography. The movement of light in the night has become, not a dreaded reality of nature, but an asset to incorporate into a fresh and new body of work.
Many amateurs scorn the moon and its light. Like the Sun, it hides our beloved light of all things faint and hard to see. But it can also reveal. It is this "revelation" that I've been exploring for over ten years, and using my chosen craft, tradition photography, to do so.
So, have I really given up astrophotography ? Not at all. But I've expanded my work to include subject matter beyond the paradigm of astrophotography. Seperate, yet the same.
It is appropriate that my fist time exposure, in 1984 was of a moonlit night. My driveway offered little artistic merit, but it was a lesson nevertheless. It's been a fascinating trip, one that almost came to a close prematurely.
This summer, which has been an unusual season due to the pandemic, has offered me a few nights of blissful solitude.
On the evening of July 4th I setup for a long night of exposures using my Toyo 45AR with the 150mm Schneider Super Symmar HM and film holders loaded with Tmax 400.
Click on photos for full description and larger size.
Edited by Nightfly, 09 August 2020 - 01:22 PM.