Light Painting


Tried some light painting. This is only the second time I’ve ever tried so don’t judge me too harshly haha.

At first was trying to do a telescope looking up into the sky, and after a few attempts noticed that one of them looked more like a bird than a telescope. Realized that messing up a telescope so bad that it looked like a bird instead pretty much told me that it was going to take a LONG time to achieve a telescope, but inspired me to try getting a bird. This was my best of about 10 paintings of a bird.

Am still definitely going to try a telescope on a later date, because the image in my head looks pretty sweet.

After the bird I tried for a rocket ship blasting off, with billowing smoke out the bottom and a scaffolding breaking off and whatnot, but the ones that didn’t look like a penis just looked like a jumbled mess. After that tried a UFO and got a half decent one, but think I can take that idea way further so I’m not going to post it until I nail it.

Will also be investing in a less bright light so I can get more details. I think with a little practice I’ll be better at this than most people who try, and will be able to get something really cool if I put my mind to it.

Lance Edwards-Hampton


Tired, Cold, and Scared


The first of two good Milky Way shots I got at Crimson Lake last night. Not to make it sound like I spent 6 hours alone in the woods at night and only got 2 good photos, I have a dozen or so good ones, but half of them look a lot like this one and the other half are super close to the other one I’m going to post, so there’s only really a point in posting the best two.

Also did some light painting, and will most likely be posting the best of that effort before even my next milky way shot.

I have no idea what the super bright blue star is just below the exact center of the photo, but it’s in a lot of my photos from last night and I wish I had used that Skyview app to check. I generally don’t think about things like that while out looking at the sky or taking photos, and try hard to not ever look at my phone because the lights from it will make my eyes have to re-adjust to the darkness.

If you’re a new photographer, or in general an adventurer who’s just starting to get out into the country at night, I have a piece of advice that at first seems counter-intuitive but will soon prove to be valuable; If you’re walking around in the dark, out for a night hike, looking for something to photograph ect. DO NOT USE A FLASHLIGHT. Just let your eyes adjust and after 5 minutes or so of gazing into the darkness you’ll soon find you can see better and further than you could with any light. I always have a flashlight handy that I can flick on at a moments notice if I hear something and want to make sure there’s no hungry eyes looking back at me, but for the most part I try never turning it on. Same goes with looking at a phone, just don’t do it. I also try to look at the playback on my camera as little as possible, even though your playback screen while taking night photos is dark (because the pictures are dark) it’s still slightly brighter than the world around you and as such messes up your night vision.

Lance Edwards-Hampton

Crimson Lake


Took off to Crimson Lake just North-West of Rocky Mountain House after work yesterday to do some astro-photography. It has been super high on my list of places to scout out for star gazing for a long time now, and with no moon and forecasted clear skies for last night, was my best chance of not wasting my time and money to make it out there.

I left work early, packed my jeep and took off. I got to the lake around 3:30pm which was great because I still had lots of daylight left to do some exploring. Really glad I got there so early because had it been dark upon my arrival I most likely wouldn’t have found this dock, which ended up being my base for several hours.

Was somewhat disappointed to find out that I could still pick up the lights from Drayton Valley which is 100kms to the north, and Edmonton which is 200kms to the North-East on my camera while photographing the lake.¬† I don’t feel like trying to explain why, but I also couldn’t capture the Milky-Way over top the lake, so didn’t end up getting any spectacular shots of the lake itself. I did however spend a good three hours sitting out on this dock just staring at the stars. It was quite comforting being out on the water away from the forest at night because I felt like nothing could sneak up on me out of the darkness.

Although the lake didn’t work out photographically for me last night, I think it would be a GREAT spot to watch Northern Lights, or just take a girl out with a blanket and some warm beverages to look at the sky. Definitely not a “dud” of a location even if it didn’t meet my expectations, but is still a winner for the simple fact it’s less than 2 hours away.

After several hours on the dock/lake not getting any great shots, I decided I’d have to go play around in the forest if I was going to come away from this trip with any good sky photos. So, for the next 3 or so hours I walked around in the pitch black woods by myself with my camera trying to come away with something worthy of the gas I had to use my Visa to buy. Pictures of that to follow.

Lance Edwards-Hampton

F*ck the Moon


No, this is not a picture of the November Supermoon. It was cloudy yesterday and is looking to be cloudy this evening by the time the moon rises again. This is just my favorite moon shot I’ve ever taken so seemed like a good pic to post with my rant.

So why, “f*ck the moon” you ask? I’ll tell you why!

As someone who very much enjoys stargazing, and of course astro-photography, the moon is basically just a big bright light-polluting orb in the sky that thwarts my efforts 2/3rds of the time. That’s not an exaggeration, Aside from about 5 days prior to a new moon and 5 days post (the waning crescent, new moon, and waxing crescent stages) the moon gives off enough light to drastically dim the rest of the night sky.

So as everyone’s going crazy for this¬† once-in-every few dozen years supermoon, out and about staring at the sky (which is actually great! get out there, go look at the night sky) they don’t realize how much more interesting the sky really can be at the right time.

The largest meteor shower of the year (geminids, Dec 13) lands right during a full moon this year. The Perseids back in August were also dimmed by a nearly full moon. Even just as a photographer wanting to capture the Milky Way in all it’s glory, the moon cuts my opportunities to do so by 66%, mixed with the fact there’s no true Astronomical Dusk here in Alberta in the summer months (minus another 50% of the year), and none of this even matters if it’s cloudy (don’t even get me started on clouds) I have only 2 or 3 weekends a YEAR to fully appreciate a truly dark sky.

Suppose there’s no point complaining about something that’s not going to change any time soon. Frankly if something was about to happen to the moon I’d be a whole lot more worried about that than I am about it giving off light pollution to the night sky! Guess I can just treasure my 2 or 3 yearly chances at having everything work out to have the perfect stargazing experience.

Lance Edwards-Hampton