Maine Fine Art Night Sky Photography | What Maine Wedding Photographers Do After Dark
Night Sky Photography with Dean
Hey Everyone! This is Dean, and I chase the stars. Night sky photography and the Milky Way, also called astrophotography, has become an obsession lately, and I wanted to share a little bit of what I do with you. Current estimates say that there are around 100 billion stars in the universe. From Earth’s view, scientists say that there are around 10,000 visible, and with half the Earth in daytime, that could make around 2,500 to 5000 (thanks earth sky.org). Even still, the night has to be clear with minimal light pollution (lights on buildings, towns, cities) to see even that many stars. BUT, if you’re in the right place, you could sit back and stare in wonder at the beauty of the night sky. A lot of people think its hard to see the stars in Maine, especially Southern Maine, and while there may be some truth to it, especially in the Portland area, the stars can still be seen and captured in the right spots, and those spots are plentiful...especially if you are willing to get creative.
What draws me to the night sky photography?
I think its a combination of a fascination with the stars and loving the peaceful serenity of adventuring while the rest of the state is asleep. The world appears to be such a different place at night, and there is a wondrous beauty about being somewhere at night. And, it is almost like a special treat that only I get to experience, bringing a fresh and unique perspective to the things we experience every day. Also, there's the challenge of getting the composition and stars just the way I want it. Plus, my night sky photography so far usually involved climbing up and down a bunch of rocks! I have four images I am excited to share in this blog! While I have many more, these are ones I consider to be among my best.
My first image for my night sky photography is my most recent, taken just last week at the Portland Head Light in Fort Williams Park, Cape Elizabeth. I called the museum director in advance and got permission to go then cleared everything through local police to make sure it was alright to go and use a local parking lot. Once all that was clear, I got to work. One of my main goals was to photograph the lighthouse (the most photographed in the country) in a completely unique way. Let me know what you think!
Second for my night sky photography, I have another lighthouse, Nubble Lighthouse in York. This image is a panorama of 38 images stitched together. The native printing size of the high resolution image is 3 by 5 feet! I did it this way to ensure I captured the milky way over the lighthouse, and to make sure I had as much detail in the image as possible.
Next I have one of my more popular night sky photography images so far, that actually got a feature on Maine Magazine's Instagram page and has over 2,000 likes! This image is from Cape Porpoise in Kennebunkport. I was photographing another panorama, but then also saw this composition and made a mental note to reshoot it. I love everything about this image from the boat and the house to the reflections in the water, to the milky way and the clouds. This image has it all!
Lastly, this image was captured at a wedding at Sugarloaf Mountain a few weeks ago. The skies were crystal clear up in the mountains and the best part about photographing the couple among the stars was that fresh mountain air! This image was more of a challenge to pull off than I anticipated, largely due to light spill from the mountains large spotlights off of the back of the building. They created a weird casting and harsh shadows on our chosen spot. While the light pollution made it difficult to do this image in one exposure, I opted to take separate exposures and blend them together to illustrate that special moment under the starts that the couple was having. This image is four images used for the background and sky, with a fifth exposing for the couple. I was especially proud of this as I was able to use my night skills for a couple at their wedding.
If you like these images and are interested in more like them, stay tuned! I am in the process of setting up a gallery for ordering a print of my night sky photography art! But in the meantime, if you want to see what I am up to when everyone else is sleeping, follow me on Instagram: @thebugaj
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