I got an email on Friday from my stepdaughter pointing me to a news item about Mars being very close to the Moon in the sky that evening. So after dinner I took the telescope, the camera and the kids up to the back of the garden to see what we could see.
Sure enough Mars was clearly visible to the left of the moon.
Although I did find it with the telescope, I couldn’t make out any detail – it was just a slightly larger dot in the sky. I’m not an expert with the telescope and to be honest it took me the best part of 10 minutes just to be able to line it up with the moon.
Despite my varied attempts last night, and in the past, I have never yet managed to figure out how to rig the camera up to the telescope, so in the end I have no decent photos to show for the half hour we were freezing our toes off out there.
However, it did cross my mind that we could have a bit of fun with the torchlight and long exposure images.
The way it works is by setting up the camera on the tripod for a 25 second exposure – so the shutter is actually open for that amount of time. Usually, photos are taken with a shutter speed more like 1/125th of a second . Then, by moving around with a torch, the person holding it is so blurred they don’t actually show up, but the torchlight creates wee trails that are burnt into the final image.
This one was created by Rogan dancing around with the torch pointing in the general direction of the camera. The result is you can see the light trails, but not him
Once we’d established this worked we tried variations on the theme. So in this one, I sat as still as I could, while Meg moved the torch around on one side of me, leaving this ghost-like figure leaning over me.
Rogan thought he might be able to hold a particular expression for the full 25 seconds, so once he was ready I got Meg to click the camera, then circled the torch around him, looping it back and forth.
Finally we decided to have a go at writing in light, which is far harder than you think it’s going to be. Not only can you not see where you had the torch previously, but in order for it to come out the right way for the camera, I had to stand behind and over Rogan and write his name out backwards.
By the time we went in, everyone’s fingers and toes were completely numb, but Maggie made us all a hot chocolate, which we supped as I downloaded the images onto the computer for us to look at.
I also think my Dad rating improved very slightly...
As always, you can click on the images for larger versions