Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Fort Griffin

A few weeks ago some members of my camera club decided to meet up at Fort Griffin, just over two hours west of here, to do some astrophotography. I have never attempted to shoot the Milky Way before, so I was eager to go and see what I could capture. It takes all the right ingredients for astrophotography. First of all, the moon has to be in the correct phase so it's not visible because the light from the moon will block out the stars. The weather has to cooperate and give you clear skies, and you have to be willing to stay up reeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeally late if you want a bunch of shots to choose from.

I was not going to drive out there alone, so my friend Lola went with me to shoot as well. I brought us both a pair of rain boots to wear out in the grassy fields - they kept our feet dry once the dew started falling and protected us (hopefully) from snakes and critters. We looked cute.

She and I headed west earlier in the afternoon so we could explore Albany, Texas a little bit before heading out to Fort Griffin, where we were just in time to have the longhorn herd meander right by us. I had packed myself a picnic dinner and ate while watching the sunset. We had a little adventure looking for a snake in the women's bathroom that chased after Kim, but we were unsuccessful in finding it. One of the men had brought a garden hoe with him just in case. Good thinking!
Finally the sun went to bed but we had to wait until almost 11 pm for the Milky Way to rise in the night sky, which meant we had lots of time to light paint and goof around before we could really get down to business.
We had a lot of fun, and I have to say that astrophotography has a huge learning curve. Focus is the hardest part, to me. But it was fun to play around and watch the stars dance across the sky. We saw several shooting stars during the evening and some sort of satellite track across the sky, as well as the occasional airplane.

We finally tore ourselves away from the stars at 2 am. We still had to drive home and it was going to be a long trek back. Lola dropped me off at the house around 4, and I was in bed by 4:15. What a night! I can't wait to give it another shot, although I think next time I'll just spend the night out there.

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