Photography Tips - Backup Plan

I'm a bit late with this week's tip because I headed to the Outer Banks Friday afternoon to shoot some Milky Way at Bodie Island Lighthouse. It was a short, one day trip but I did manage to squeeze in a climb to the top of the lighthouse, which I highly recommend.

A year ago Labor Day weekend I took a chance on a weather window and made the trip out to Oregon Inlet. It worked out and managed to get some amazing photos. One got into ArtFields and one placed in the National Parks Foundation Share the Experience Photography Competition. It did not work out the same this year.


To begin with my schedule got pushed back so I only had time to get the tent setup at the campground before I headed over to the lighthouse where the Milky Was already visible. My plan had been try and get images of the Core one side and the Moon on the other side of the lighthouse. I was also planning to shoot a little at the Life Saving Station before the lighthouse but got to the OBX too late for that. Ultimately the clear skies that were forecast didn't materialize soon enough and couldn't get anywhere near the shots I wanted.


I gave up and headed south where I found a spot the get some shots of the Milky Way out over the Pamlico Sound but there were still some lingering clouds. The best I could do was a short run of time lapse while the core sank below the horizon. That was the end of my plan and I was left with virtually no images which is why I had a backup plan.


The skies cleared overnight so shooting sunrise wasn't going to produce results but as I pointed out in my blog about What's In The Night Sky this month, Zodiacal Light is now visible before astro-twilight in the mornings. My backup plan was to get up at 430am and walk out beach for some images of this amazing phenomena.


I was well rewarded, not only was the zodiacal light shining brightly but Orion the Hunter is finally back in the night sky. Shortly after I set my camera up I could hear the distant rumble of engines and I noticed lights moving on the horizon. A line of about a dozen sportfishers came streaming out of Oregon Inlet and headed for the Gulf Stream to no doubt attempt to do battle with some billfish.

When you are shooting landscape and nightscape photography, especially if you are traveling any distant to do so, make sure you have a backup plan and maybe even a backup plan to the backup plan. Nothing is more discouraging than driving for hours and hours and not getting shots you can use.


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