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A Strange Night

Stub Mandrel

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Headed for a dark site last night.

There was a bike and an empty car parked up but no-one about. Drove to the furthest car park and there was a car there with  no lights on. I thought I's pull up at a generous distance and see if the went away... they drove past me for a look (I couldn't see them) and slowly drove off. I wait five minutes wondering if it was 'safe' to set up or not and decided discretion was the better part of valour and decided to head for another dark site.

As I was going through the next part of the car park I saw the car I had seen had two blokes by it unpacking tripods... turned out to be two pretty keen landscape photographers hoping to get the Milky Way on their second attempt. We chatted for a bit then heard some distant voices  and then heard the bike and car drive off...

Back at the far end of the car park they got excellent results while I had all sorts of problems before deciding to go the easy way and get an hour of Andromeda. Lent one of them my 135mm and he got a widefield andromeda and plieades on short exposure/higher ISO and was very happy.

After they went I tried various other targets, including the moon, but as struggling to get detail until I realised I had a secondary misting issue and gave up as the milky way disappeared in the lightening sky. Very odd to see Gemini and Orion up!

Got home at 5:00am...

Now looking at my subs all I have that's usable are about 20-odd frames of Andromeda and a run of decent moon shots (the mirror seems to have cleared for these) and maybe a few of a pair of small galaxies.


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I went to a dark site car park a while ago and there was much more than what you describe going on...late night dog walking with lots of flashing of headlights...:happy8:

Last night I also saw Orion rise which was nice to see. Pleides was up quite early. I don't know what I have captured as I am away from my PC....

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I spent last night imaging in the Cygnus area - firstly NAN and Pelican then moved over to the Cygnus Loop.  Widefield with 135mm Lens on ASI1600MM-Cool and FW though I only took Ha subs.  Been too busy today but hoping to stack and process tomorrow.  I'm very lucky to live in a dark site :)

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Your post sounds very familiar Stub Mandrel :happy11:Whenever the weather allows, I visit a dark site in Derbyshire situated in a car park. I always head straight for the back of it if looks quiet/empty. I've had a few freaky moments when I've lost my night vision due to staring at the laptop, then am greeted by somebody right next to me giving it the "what's that do mate?" routine :D.

I always find it really unnerving in the moment but so far the attention has thankfully been from genuinely interested and curious types. I've also noticed what seem to be coded interior car light signals of the type mentioned by StuartJPP...:eek:

Always nice to bump into fellow photographers too!

Glad you got some subs and made some friends in the end. I sometimes think we must be mad, hauling thousands of pounds worth of equipment to isolated pitch black places on our own, but I guess that's part of the fun :wink:

Edited by RichLD
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