I learnt a lesson at a relatively early age that has held me in good stead through my life. I was in the Austrian Alps and was going snowboarding for the first time. As I got off the chair lift, at 15,000 ft, with the magnificent and imposing mountains literally touching the clouds, I said out loud to myself “This is going to be epic!”. Two hours later, sore from falling constantly I admitted to myself, it wasn’t. How can this be? I surf, I race windsurfers professionally, what the hell is going on? Well, it turned out I was making one very simple mistake. I was driving off the back foot as you do when you surf, the problem being that you drive off the front foot when snowboarding. Every time I tried to turn, the board went back up the hill. Defeated, I returned to my rig with my tail between my legs. The following day I took a beginners class and within 2 hours I was ripping down the mountain. Life lesson learnt! Don’t be afraid to learn from good instructors. So, fast forward 25 years. Overlanding and adventure photography has become my passion and I have applied this life lesson to my photography. Here is what I learned from taking an astro photography class from Sean Parker.

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Camping at Trona Pinnacles CA
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I have to admit that the photographic capture of the TAP adventures through video and still shots, is as important to me as driving the trails. Frustratingly, the cost of professional quality camera equipment seems on par with owning a Jeep! I digress. A few years back, I really became interested in Astro Photography and immediately signed up for a full day/night course with Sean Parker Photography.

Our trip was planned over a weekend in June at Joshua Tree National Park. We stayed in 29 Palms and basically slept and rested all day as the course obviously takes place through the night.

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With Astro photography, getting used to reversing my time clock has frankly been a challenge as I am an early to bed and early to rise guy. On the course Sean taught me the basic camera setting for night star shooting; how to focus to infinity correctly; how to track the Milky Way across the sky using the Sky Guide APP on my I-phone; how to take multiple shots of the MW and stitch them together for a panorama shot.

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I also leant how to create star trails and finally how to apply post work touches in Light Room. Night shooting difficulties became obvious immediately, like knowing your camera’s interface and buttons in the dark (I didn’t) and getting the shot in focus when it’s pitch black.

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Star trails at Joshua Tree

A few year later I am, of course, still learning on every shoot. but the initial lesson was invaluable. It advanced my basic knowledge exponentially and has allowed me to spend more time learning and experimenting with nuanced night photography techniques.

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Bill’s world, secret spot, CO

I am now beginning to experiment with time-lapse Astro videos and have upped the level of my camera equipment.Like everything, practice ultimately makes perfect, but for those of you interested in advancing your photography game quickly, I highly encourage you to take the plunge and sign up for instruction. You won’t regret taking instruction….my snowboarding, overlanding and photography hasn’t yet.

Milky Way over Laguna Meadows, California from TAP Photo + Film on Vimeo.

Bill’s World – Colorado from TAP Photo + Film on Vimeo.

SKY GUIDE APP – https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/sky-guide-view-stars-night-or-day/id576588894?mt=8
STAR STAX- http://www.markus-enzweiler.de/StarStaX/StarStaX.html


LRTimelapse www.lrtimelapse.com


astro photography
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Raised in beautiful but rainy England, Andy moved to the sunny climes of Southern California in 1995 and hasn’t looked back since. Two and half decades working in the outdoor, bike and surf industries has given him a thirst for adventure and living life without a ceiling. When not working on the website, he can be found surfing Californian beaches, or in remote mountain or desert areas, either primitive camping, mountain biking or embarking upon vehicle assisted adventure in the backcountry with one of The Adventure Portal rigs.