2017 was a year of learning and improving. One of the major changes I experienced last year was changing my point of view and more open to learning new things. As the year went by, I started experimenting with the style of my traveling, writing and yes, photography. In the process, I learned the art of clicking the night sky while even capturing milky way multiple times. These pictures are the results of learning many night sky tutorials on youtube.
Of course I wasn’t very lucky. I started my travel around Himachal late June and by the time it happened, monsoon had already arrived. Still I am happy that I was able to take some nice photos of these beautiful phenomenon.
Here are some of my favorite shots I have collected from my journeys –
As a part of my volunteer work in Ladakh, we had to visit distant villages and study the behavior of Snow Leopards in the Ladakh region. At one of the villages, located enroute of Chilling Zanskar trek, I was able to capture this. Keeping the light from the home of our host as a source, I was able to make click my first shot of milky way.
Exif: 18-55, 15″, 3200, f3.5
When I moved to Leh, the winter season was about to begin. We could see patches of clouds at regular basis and it would rain weekly. Since I was staying at Chubi, a place 4 km away from the main city of Leh, I was able to get clearer views and uninterrupted views of the sky. Every time the sky would be clear, I used to go on my landlord’s terrace and start clicking. This is the result of one of those attempts.
Exif: 18-55, 15″, 1600, f3.6
Valley of Flowers
I often try to look for a place to stay that is little bit outside from the town. So after walking for 14 km I arrived in Ghanghria Village, I made extra efforts to find a guest house with a good rooftop and the one that was outside the village. This is one of the shots from the first night because the weather went down next day and it rained continuously for a week.
The difference between first and second image is that the first one was clicked on portrait mode while the second was clicked on landscape mode.
Exif: 18-55, 15″, 6400, f3.5
Shooting a star trail in Rajasthan sounds impossible, right? Well, I was visiting a small village of Shekhawati district during Magnetic Fields EDM festival 2017. I ended up exploring the local village for a change. When I reached a small house at the last point of the village, I saw the sky was lit with stars. I didn’t miss the opportunity and took out my tripod and started shooting.
This was the same time at Geminid Meteor Shower. While I was not able to see the falling meteors in bulk, I was able to capture atleast one distortion.
Exif: Pic 1 – 18-55, 15 sec, 3200, f 3.6
Pic 2 – 18-55, 20 sec, 3200, f 3.6
I went to Meghalaya to attend Cherry Blossom Festival. I ended up being disappointed to learn that the flowers were still to bloom so I left for Cherrapunjee. I spent my first day at Upper Sohra as I had not imagined that I’ll get such clear skies (pic below) I ended up falling and breaking my tripod. Next day I left for Lower Sohra. The night skies were clearer this time but again a lot was blocked because of trees. I’d try to visit more quiant corners of Meghalaya next time.
Exif: 18-55, 15 sec 3200, f3.6
Making a star trail at Tungnath Temple was probably the most difficult attempt ever. I had trekked here without knowing that it is almost impossible to do night photography in the presence of full moon. This pic was shot at 11 PM and yet I made another attempt at 4 AM under the belief that moon would go down but it only got much much brighter. Next time I’ll make sure that there is no full moon during the time of my trek. It is just heartbreaking. Thanks to the moon’s light, this is the only picture clicked with ISO 800.
Exif: 18-55, 10″, 800, f3.5
Upper Sohra, Meghalaya
The pictures clicked in Upper Sohra belong to the most painful attempts on clicking stars in the night. The place where I had kept my tripod was an uneven slope. After clicking a first few shots, I decided to move a little and slipped off from the slope. It was not very high but I ended up twisting my ankle and worse, one of the legs of my tripod broke. But these shots were worth all the pain.
Exif: Pic 1 – 18-55, 3200, 15 sec, f18
Pic 2 – 18-55, 3200, 10 sec, f3.5
Tosh, Parvati Valley
My very first star trail was captured during my trek to Kheerganga. While not my finest, still makes me feel happy that how it became better in such a small time. Unlike most of my shots, this one was clicked by a 35mm lens because its autofocus is so strong and I thought it would really work to capture the photos using that lens. I was probably wrong. Soon after the first few clicks, the clouds arrived and they didn’t leave until our trek was over.
Exif: 35mm, 8″, 3200, f 1.6
Here are some of my favorite night sky shots that I collected during my travels around India. I hope to click better photos and find clear skies. Do you have any tips and tricks for clicking such pictures, let me know and I’d follow them for sure.
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