Even the darkness is as light...

I’ve been busy over the past few weeks doing a series of camera club presentations, something I thoroughly enjoy (yes, I’m a strange bloke who loves public speaking!) Here’s a bit of a flavour of my latest talk which I debuted over the last fortnight.

It is a well rehearsed literary metaphor. In fact, it could almost be written off as a cliche were it not for the fact that the message behind it is one of such meaningful hope. It’s the metaphor of the battle between light and darkness.

It is in the darkest hour that the light shines brightest.

How many poems have been written about this theme. How many songs sung. It has an enduring power that still has an appeal.

But, in my latest astrophotography presentation, “Not so dark after all”, I explore the truth of this statement not so much in the poetic sense, but in the more literal sense.

After confronting your fear of the night in my talk “Don’t be afraid of the dark”, it’s time to realise that there is just so much light to be seen - especially when the sky seems so dark.

For, out of darkness, the more shy photos of light that hide during the day come out to dance. The photons abound - and are just waiting to be captured by the sensor on your camera and turned into spectacular images!

In fact, just earlier today, I came across a science article that revealed the staggering fact: there are more photos flying around the night sky than our Sun could emit in 100 billion trillion years! (In comparison, there have been stars in our universe for a ‘mere’ 11 billion years!) That said, the universe is so large that they are incredibly diffusely spread out - they shine as brightly as a 60 Watt light bulb at a distance of 4 km.

But they are there. There is so much light to be explored and captured.

In this presentation, I show you some of the phenomena you might want to pursue in the night sky - from nocticlucent clouds, to nebulae, to nearby galaxies and to the heart of our very own galaxy. Travelling the length of the island of Ireland, from the Causeway Coast to the Copper Coast, and even as far south as Tenerife, you get to discover just that little bit more of what is waiting in the night skies above.

For, it turns out, it’s not quite so dark after all!

The glories of tenerife

Take this shot from Tenerife last summer - easily the most light filled photo of the Milky Way I've yet managed to get!

In the presentation, I explain in detail how I managed to capture this shot. From the use of the astro tracker to gather as many photos of light as possible, through how you stitch a pano like this together in Photoshop.

In fact, the second half of the talk is a Photoshop tutorial, where I let you in to some of the secrets behind my processing workflow and how to get the best from your shots in the challenge of such low light conditions.

If you’re interested in booking me to speak at your camera club, please don’t hesitate to get in touch!