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Nightscape photography in the Peak District

Me and James had gone up to Ladybower Reservoir just over the border in Derbyshire a few weeks ago to attempt some astrophotography / star shots, and I had some specific compositions in mind.

The weather was really against us when we got there however...

Wet Nikon D7100 in the rain

Squinting through my viewfinder, I couldn't tell if it was fog or the rain on my lens, but it did become evident that my camera was soaked by the drizzle and mist. It's a good job the Nikon D7100 is weather sealed!

Nikon D7100 weather sealed

Fortunately the weather did break for a short while, and I could see a composition coming together in the distance.

Nightscape at Ladybower

Pretty pleased with how it came out to be honest, especially considering the atrocious weather we had to cope with. I like the moody, minimalist feel to it; really captures the feel of that night!

So a week or so later, spurred on by the success of that last shot despite the weather, me and Jade headed up to Ladybower again. We were a lot more fortunate with the weather with mostly clear skies and only a few light could fonts moving over at various times - although it was bitterly cold (-2C)!

Long exposure photography at Ladybower

I was reasonably happy with this first shot, although because it was so dark in this particular spot I set my shutter to around 30 seconds which meant there was a lot of movement in the stars which wasn't really what I was going for.

Before we jumped back in the car to move on I looked up and saw that the sky back in the direction of Sheffield was lit up with some amazing looking constellations (I really should learn some of their names!) as well as a little light pollution from the city. I could see the picture coming together in my head with the road leading into the frame - all I needed was a car to come past and provide some light trails. Easier said than done... After a few cars had passed me head-on and completely blown out the frame I had to wait for what felt like an age in the freezing cold for one to go the other way. It was worth the wait though:

Long exposure photography in the Peak District

We moved on a little further up the road and decided to drive further up the Derwent Valley towards Howden Reservoir. It was pitch black and we could barely see a thing other than what the headlights of the car lit up, so it was just by chance that I looked back towards Howden Dam and saw the sky lit up like this:

Howden Reservoir nightscape Derbyshire

I'd almost given up for the night and really didn't want to step back out into the cold but I had to get the shot and couldn't believe the stars were reflected in the reservoir - it was like glass.

So, ultimately, perseverance paid off and I got some amazing shots I'm really proud of!

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Craig Skinner Photography | Astrolandscape photography, nightscape photography and astrophotography.

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