In the weekend we took a trip to my home town Utena. The weather was perfect – cold and freezing wind, clear skies. In city area sky was polluted by lights, but not that much as in capital Vilnius. Near northern city limits I took one photo depicting little house against starry sky. Then we drove a bit further away from city to Sudekiai village. 10km from Utena makes a huge difference in amount of light pollution. Milky way is even visible to naked eye here, not talking about camera sensor, which sensitivity I bumped to 5000. It was a great time to test ISO. I’m not a fan of high values but I had to try and I can say I was surprised. Being able to compare to much older and lower class camera 450d – the noise levels at 1600 were much higher than 60d 5000, heck – even 12800, which is not recommended, is not that bad if no post-work is involved.
This time we took different direction and travelled to Trakai and drove around Galvės lake. First of all visited abandoned buildings near castle, the view wasn’t very special in a night time, so we went to an Užutrakio mansion, which was my biggest aim for that night and I was hoping for some really nice shots. Well, I cannot complain. There I took these photos. One picturing the mansion itself and other one shows Trakai castle from a far and a starry night sky. One thing was new to me – the lake, more accurately the ice emitted some very creepy low-frequency sounds every half a minute. During the day its fine I guess, but in the middle of a night when all senses are heightened its uncomfortable.
That night we set off for abandoned rehab center “Aušveita”. The result wasn’t very pleasing, because not only that one building was occupied and light was coming from the windows, something near it was blinking red, so we thought that the area was guarded. We went around it and down to the Neris riverside, where huge ice debris (aprox. 1,5m in height) was lying. This photo was taken on top of one of those ice blocks. The light on horizon is coming from Vilnius which is ~20km from there.
I’ve been looking for a night photography for a long time, but since I sold my kit lens 18-55, I wasn’t able to take wide photos or even focus at dark with nifty fifty as its narrow viewing angle and a lack of focus distance screen completely prevented taking night photographs. Another hard thing is weather – its really rare for a clear sky at night in this winter. Either its cloudy or its not a weekend, because I don’t want to interrupt my work day sleeping hours. This time temperatures went down and skies cleared out, so we decided to go to nearby hills and try our chances. Everything was good, and the forest air wasn’t cold at all. The only one drawback was moon. It was so bright that its light covered smaller stars. I wasn’t able to get even a tiny glimpse of Milky way in long exposure photos, just this kind of city view. Also we realized that even if we are high enough on the hills the city was too close – it also emitted large amounts of light. So our next task is to wait for clear moonless sky and maybe go further away from city.