“There is no easy way from the Earth to the stars” (Seneca) – Astrophotography in the Brecon Beacons

After hearing about aurora borealis making an appearance in the Brecon Beacons on Thursday night (annoyingly the night after we went and took photos of the wild ponies) we decided to head back to see if we could see anything. To be honest, it didn’t really matter whether we saw anything or not as it was just nice to get away from the city lights and see all the stars which was a good thing as despite staying there from about 8 until midnight, we didn’t see even a glimpse. It did give me the opportunity to have a go at astrophotography, however, and although the results aren’t the greatest, I’m quite pleased for a first attempt. I’m not sure whether it was my amateur attempts or wrong choice of lens (Sigma 10-20mm) that led to a lot of the images being overly noisy despite having the noise reduction applied but I do think that this is not necessarily a bad thing; they might not be in the league of ‘Astrophotographer of the Year’ but they still show off the stars. Likewise, a lot of astrophotographers say that you should go somewhere where car lights will not disturb the long exposures in order for you to get the best images of the sky you can but where we were meant that cars regularly drove past. Understandably, if you are aiming to get the best photos of the sky that you can this makes a lot of sense but I really enjoyed using the car lights as a light source in themselves. The resulting photographs may not be entirely ‘astro’ yet I still think that they still show the wonders of the stars above the Brecon Beacons and why it deserves to be named a Dark Sky Reserve.



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