Starry Night on the North Shore...

4:08 AM

As a photographer, part time as I may be (lately), I'm constantly chasing the light whether it's trying to find the best photo ops for sunset or capturing the starry night sky- the light can either make or break your photo.  Shooting at night is especially challenging because depending on what you are shooting, you either need a ton of light or no outside light at all.

Lately I've been kind of in love with photographing the starry night sky and although I've photographed the stars before once, I wasn't all that happy with the results so I did some studying and decided to challenge myself.  After researching, I learned that it's best to capture the stars during the New Moon phase because the moon is a mere sliver which means the sky is dark and the stars shine brighter.  Next step is to find a place with as little light pollution as possible.  Hence, Mokulēʻia on O'ahu's North Shore.  If you go right to the point where the highway ends, you can walk down to the rocky beach and photograph the stars quite successfully.  If you're lucky, you can catch The Milky Way...

That's where I was this particular night taking this particular shot.  I was going to hike to Ka'ena point but I had my son with me and it was a little late and I wasn't exactly digging the idea of walking back down the mountain and to our car in the pitch black dark with my eleven year old son.  No thanks.  So we went to the end of the highway and walked down to the beach and sat there in the sand and shot photos.  Anywhere deserted with little to no street lights or house lights is ideal.  We were in a nearly pitch black area but there was a lighthouse at the point and some random fishermen.  

Those little balls of light in the foreground are from the fishermen and the lighthouse yet the stars still shined.  How amazingly beautiful is this sight?  Believe it or not, looking at it in person is even more amazing.  There are so many stars the naked eye can see that the camera sensor does not capture.  

This weather that night was questionable because it was raining before we went to shoot so we ended up going to a pizza joint in Hale'iwa called Pizza Bob's and had some pretty awesome pizza.  I'll be sharing a review that I wrote on Yelp about it later in the week.  Anyhow, Alaka'i and I ate some  yummy food.  He wolfed down a super supreme pizza and I opted for a vegetarian pizza which was so delicious and we split a salad, of course.  Gotta get the veggies in!

After dinner, we drove out and decided to chance it and walked and took the camera gear out and snapped some photos.  Alaka'i mostly played while I shot but it was nice to sit there and talk about stars and constellations with my boy as we felt the gritty sand between our toes and listened to the waves crashing into the shore.  As I snapped and watched the clouds creeping towards us from the east, Alaka'i was giving me some fun facts he learned about the Milky Way.  I think that these photos are mostly of the tail end of the way.  I have some other photos from a shoot on a different night from another beach that I'll be sharing soon.  Those came out amazing and I'm excited to share them.

You know, most of my life went by without me even knowing that we could see the Milky Way or so many stars with our naked eye and without a telescope.  I don't know how or why I never saw the Milky Way before 2012 other than in a book, but I feel so thankful that I was able to spend some time gazing at God's wonderful creation with my son.

For the photography lovers: the best settings (for me with my Canon 5d MK 3) was 30 sec shutter, f/2.8 ISO 1000 using my 16-35mm II lens.  Also a warning, the best areas to photograph and view stars are dark with little to no outside light.  Dangerous people could be hanging out there so do some scouting, some research and go with a group of people...just to be safe.

To check out more photos like these and to see a sneak preview of my Milky Way captures from Yokohama Bay on a different day, check out my gallery here:  What Jean Likes Photography.

Take a few moments to enjoy the beauty in the world that God created.

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