Field-Trip Report:  Castle Hill Astro Photography 14 & 15 July 2018

Trip Guide: James 

Trip Report: Barry

Our 1st attempt in mid-June was unfortunately called off due to unsuitable weather, but the weather obliged a month later with good photo taking conditions under a clear sky on a reasonably mild night. The yellow light bleeding over the Torlesse Range from Christchurch and inland Canterbury towns is an issue affecting night sky photography from a purist perspective, but with post production adjustments this could be made into a feature.

Eleven keen types assembled at our host’s house in the Castle Hill village in the late afternoon and after a lovely pot luck dinner and health and safety briefing we drove to the Kura Tawhite / Castle Hill Conservation Area where we were joined by Gavin. Eight of us then assembled at Cave Stream carpark around 4.30 am Sunday to complete the weekends exercise.

The plan for the weekend was to split our time into an evening session at the Castle Hill rocks while the Milky Way was in a vertical orientation and then an early morning session at the flat land at Cave Stream where the MW would be in a horizontal orientation. We spent approx. 1 ½ hours ‘til 8.30 pm split between the open area between the scattered rocks that lie above the gravel track and the main boulders and the sloping land between the pond and the large front boulders, keeping together in small groups for safety reasons.

Sunday’s light frost did not deter us and we were on the job by 4.30 am in nice conditions although car lights traveling east and west on SHwy 73 occasionally lit up parts of the foreground.

Apart from the odd red light causing some colour casting in small parts of some of the images taken, it was a successful evening with interesting photos taken and the following morning likewise.

Many thanks to James and Rob for passing on their knowledge of astro photography and to James for organising the event. With this good start no doubt many of us will take astro further and add to our skills set.

Our early evening and then morning sessions were made so much easier by John offering to host us for dinner and having us stay overnight. Many thanks John.

To view more images please visit Flickr