Posted by: photographytuition | January 24, 2014

Photographing Dark Skies in the Brecon Beacons

The Brecon Beacons have been recognised as one of the best areas in the world for stargazing. Basically, at night, it’s very dark around here!

Seeing as darkness was on my doorstep I thought I’d give star photography a go. So, one clear night when the moon wasn’t around I went up to Hay Bluff.

Click on photos to enlarge.


Hay Bluff. Nikon D600 with 18-35 mm lens at 27 mm. ISO 1600, f4.2, 15 seconds. Tripod, Vibration Reduction off. Heavily sharpened to make the stars stand out but apart from that straight from the camera.

It’s surprising how fast the earth moves making the stars appear as lines instead of points of light. In this photo the stars are starting to form trails. I could have used a faster shutter speed such as 7 seconds but I would have had to increase the ISO to a blotchy looking 3200. As always in photography it’s a compromise.

WJL_0644_01This is the same photo but adjusted for colour to make it look the way I saw it. All the photos had an orange glow. Whether this is an Auto White Balance problem or simply a glow from distant towns – Crickhowell and Abergavenny in this case – I don’t know.


D600, ISO 1600, 31mm, f4.5, 15 seconds.

Far left: this is the next mountain along from Hay Bluff. Being on the borders of England and Wales it has an English name, Lord Herefords Knob, and a Welsh name, Twmpa.  I’m sure a lot of people use the Welsh name as they think the English one is rude.

WJL_0657D600, 18mm, ISO  1600, f4, 20 secs. Standing stone lit by a torch. Converted to black and white. The distant glow is probably from Bronllys and Brecon.

Star photography problems: aeroplane trails and the weather – in this case it was very cold.

Good Day Out, have Dark Skies evenings in the Brecon Beacons from time to time.

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