In Memoriam

Stonehaven War Memorial

The Milky Way soars over the Stonehaven War Memorial, Aberdeenshire, Scotland.

This is a location I’ve been visiting for years, trying to get the right composition. The Stonehaven War Memorial sits on the Black Hill just to the south of the town. Looking north, the light pollution from Aberdeen is quite bad, but looking south, the situation is better. The Milky Way is visible at all times of the year, but in the northern hemisphere, it’s best in summer because the galactic core (the brighter part of the Milky Way) is visible near Sagittarius. The main issue in Scotland is waiting for clear skies, and finally I managed to get a nice clear evening.

This was taken with the Sony a6000 with a Rokinon 12mm f2.0 prime on a very lightweight Manfrotto tripod. The Black Hill is a windy place, so I had to position my body in front of the camera to block the wind and stop it moving the tripod. This is a composite image of two exposures; one at 4000 ISO for the sky and one at 800 ISO for the memorial itself.

The Rokinon is a super lens for widefield astrophotography – sharp to the corners not too much chromatic aberration. I bought it after reading Ian Norman’s review over on the excellent website Lonely Speck: Here

Of course, with astrophotography, taking the image is only the first step – there then follows many hours of post-processing. For this, the tutorials on Lonely Speck were also very useful, and I found a huge amount of information (and Lightroom Presets) on David Kingham’s amazing website: here.

I processed this image in Lightroom using the presets and tools from David Kingham’s website mentioned above then made final adjustments in Photoshop. Overall, I’m happy with the end result, but looking at the quality of work on the websites mentioned above, I think I have a long way to go…