It feels like forever since writing a proper blog. Writing for my book unfortunately has taken away a lot of my time and commitments. However, now I’m in the closing stages I’ll be publishing more blog posts and getting back to the norm. My first blog post looks at the Peak District and the Milky Way.
I’m a big fan of astrophotography, always have been. I do think that you have to sometimes be inventive and creative with it. Whatever type of astrophotography you do, you have to be careful not to shoot the same type of scenes over and over. I always try and seek out recognisable locations and portray them by night. I always have locations in mind, I look for places away from light pollution and often man made subjects although hills and mountains can work. I love shooting the milky way and prefer static shots over star trails, but in the Peak District I’ve always thought the milky way wasn’t clear enough to see due to the relatively close cities of Sheffield and Manchester. I knew you could see it, but I always felt it was faint compared to the likes of Scotland and countries abroad. I was quite naive there, my girlfriend who runs SLP Photography took a picture of Carhead Rocks in the Peak District show casing how good the milky way could be.
The week she took it was perfect conditions for astrophotography, constant high pressure, clear skies and no moon allowed the night sky to be as clear and dark as possible. It was also late July and at this time of year the milky way is fairly high in the sky, due south. August is more ideal but with a holiday pending and weather unpredictable I made the most of it. It was a case of burning the candle at both ends to try and capture some fresh shots. If you search “Peak District Milky Way” in Google, you won’t find much!
First off we went to Magpie Mine, a location I had in mind for a long time to shoot the stars. I had never been before, so finding it in the dark was quite interesting to say the least. On the maps it looked perfect, miles away from any light pollution it seemed the ideal spot. The old mine buildings have an important history of the Peak District but also made for great foreground interest to place against the milky way. Unfortunately, what I hadn’t envisioned was the relatively low height of the location in comparison to the surroundings which meant it didn’t actually exclude the light pollution. It was still possible to see the milky way, but within 30 minutes of setting up the cloud rolled in so it was a visit cut short. Thankfully, I managed to capture both of the below: