Most of my photography takes place in the dark. About 80 percent of my shooting is astro and even when I’m shooting sunrise/sunset some portion of that begins or ends in the dark. While I’m not afraid of the dark, over 25 years in law enforcement has given me a healthy respect for it. Bad things happen more often in the dark and dangerous animals tend to be a more active.
My dilemma is that I feel a little more comfortable when I know someone else is close by but I really prefer to shoot alone. I have spent so many amazing hours alone with my thoughts under the stars, I find it hard to believe that I would have enjoyed them as much with company. I enjoy discussing technique with others and watching how another photographer sets up a shot but there is just something about being free to follow your own muse.
I tend to take off in the middle of the night to grab some shots of the Milky Way or setup some star trails and it’s difficult to coordinate that with another person.And those lonely hours long drives to and from dark spots have also allowed me to listen to some great podcasts, the Joe Rogan Experience has kept me awake and entertained more times than I can count.
Some of the spots I shoot are no problem, I tend to be fairly comfortable at the beach, where it’s very open and there is less wildlife. However I also have some truly creepy spots, there is a lake in the Sandhill State Forest that has no phone service and several beavers. There is nothing like a beaver slapping the water with it’s tail in the dark, just yards from you to give you the scare of your life. And just this past December while I was shooting star trails on the edge of a peach orchard the coyotes started howling kind of close by, the only reason I didn’t pack up right then was because I had another photographer with me.
I guess for now I’ll just take it on a shoot by shoot basis. Sometimes it works to have a partner sometimes it doesn’t. I would like to start doing some one on one night sky workshops in which case my primary focus would be to help someone else get shots and anything I got for myself would be gravy. It’s a dilemma but I think it’s one of the good kind.