Night Sky Photography

The summer’s midnight glow across the northern horizon slips low and gives way to a pure deep indigo blue of starlit skies. This is what I look forward to every autumn and winter when the day’s light gives up to the early night’s darkness.

Clear autumn and winter night skies around K'il Llnagaay Sandspit are a photographer’s dream. There is very little light interference. The stars glow bright early next to the streaming Taay.yan.nuhl Milky Way seen in its full length from south to north. Looking out over the ocean one can watch the moon rise, reflecting its light all across the surface of the water and shining brightly in still tide pools.

When the solar winds flow along the northern horizon, K'il Llnagaay is the perfect place to photograph the green and red curtains of kwil k'al Guu aurora borealis. Your eyes adjust to the darkness during an easy walk out to the spit and reveal a silhouetted view of the spit and kwil k'al Guu reflect across the ocean surface which increases the colour and intensity of your photo. Several large driftwood logs in the tall grass can create the perfect foreground.

The beaches around K'il Llnagaay give wide open views of the night sky. The kuu kiidawaay Big Dipper is bright and points to Polaris, the North Star. Photographing star trails revolving around Polaris is always an intriguing project. One of my latest attempts in astrophotography is to adjust the camera settings to pick up not only the bright stars we see with our eyes, but use the camera’s ability to absorb light from the dimmer stars our eyes miss. With so many stars in the photo streaming their trails, it will be a spectacular image.

I have been photographing the night sky from K'il Llnagaay for several years. I love chasing after the kwil k'al Guu, k'ayts'awaay hlk'iiGwiigang shooting stars, finding new foregrounds for Taay.yan.nuhl, and even trying my luck light painting with a flashlight. I find that the tide pools create a wonderful way to catch a star's reflection in my images.

When I get ready for a night shoot, I preset the camera and then adjust as required. I use a manual setting with a 20 second shutter speed. The focus is set to manual and on infinity. The aperture setting is the widest the lens will go (small number like F2.5). The ISO is set high at 2000. The white balance is set to Kelvin 2700.