Stars at Night

Note: Today’s photos are best viewed in a dark location. Also, if you are viewing on your phone, zoom in to see more detail.

Stars fill the nighttime sky as seen from our backyard one October night.

A few weeks ago, Laura was on a ladies’ retreat with a group from our church. It was Saturday night, and I was getting ready for bed. But then, Laura sent a text that said, “I’m looking at the stars!” And that prompted me to change back from pajamas to clothes and grab my camera and tripod.

I had actually considered trying to take some star photos, but I had decided against it. There were many clouds that day, and I figured the clouds would stick around through the night.

But the retreat site was only a few miles from our house. Have I mentioned that we live way out away from everything? And I figured if Laura could see lots of stars just a few miles away, I probably could, too. So out I went to see what I could see.

Another View

Here is another view showing a few more trees and a few less stars. You did not think that I could take just one photo, did you?

If you are wondering, the light hitting the trees comes from our neighbor’s lights, even though they are a good distance away from our house. I had turned off all of our lights to make it as dark as possible. Even with that, it is interesting how much light is still there, even on a moonless night, once your eyes adjust, or once you take a long-exposure photo.

I am always interested in that little cluster of stars that you can see near the upper left of both of these photos. Does it have a name? I am sure that it does have a name, but I have not yet taken the time to figure out what it is. I just think that it is interesting that there are all those stars clustered together in that one space.

Still More Stars

In this photo, I had aimed the camera pretty much straight up. All those little specks that you can see are stars. Lots and lots and lots of stars. I completely understood what Laura’s follow-up text meant when she had said, “If I look up, I can see millions!”

If I think about it for very long at all, my mind starts to hurt by trying to figure out how many stars there are and just how far away from us those stars are. It boggles my mind to think about how vast God’s creation is, and how we are just a small part of it.

But God is big enough to be mindful of each one of us, despite the billions of people on the earth and the billions (or more) of stars in the sky. And that is amazing to me, too.

He counts the number of the stars; he names all of them. Our Lord is great and has awesome power; there is no limit to his wisdom. - Psalm 147:4-5

About the Photos

As you might guess, a tripod was essential for these photos. All three were 10-second exposures, at either ISO 640 or ISO 1000. And I had the aperture open wide at f/1.8, too.

It is interesting to compare these photos to the nighttime photo I had taken in August. For these, I turned the camera away from the lights of the city, unlike in that August photo. I wanted to get as many stars as I could. Also, the earlier sunset now versus August helped, too, I think.

As always, I am no expert in astrophotography. But it is fun to see what I can get sometimes.

Photo: Each photo is a single Raw exposure, processed in GIMP and Raw Therapee. Read more about photography tips, photo software, camera gear, and more at Steve’s Photography Tips.
Camera: Sony Alpha A7 II
Lens: Rokinon 35mm f/1.8
Date: October 22, 2022
Location: Home, WillistonTennessee

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Burnsland is Steve Burns, with generous help from his lovely wife Laura. Steve is a husband, father, photographer, webmaster, writer, podcaster, artist, Christian. Steve enjoys sharing his photography, art, and stories through, from the Burnsland World Headquarters in Tennessee.