Leave Me Alone in Dark Places

It was my first time going out with a tripod, in a rural area, to try my hand at this whole “astrophotography” thing. I read online tutorials, watched YouTube videos, did my research, and I thought I had it all figured out.
I set up my tripod, make the suggested adjustments, applied the “300 rule” and pressed the shutter button. Each shot felt like forever, I think I even held my breath during the first few.

The preview popped on the camera screen… something was wrong, it was out of focus, washed out, and noisy… so very noisy. My heart sank a little. I made a few adjustments and tried again, next shot was a little better, so I just kept tweaking, and meddling until suddenly there it was, the Milky Way in all it’s glory, in perfect focus… but it still didn’t look like these astonishing shots I was seeing online. I figured I could tweak them a little bit in lightroom, salvage a few, and with a little work some of them I felt were worthy of being posted online.

I considered most of them throwaways, yet for some reason I never cleared them from my hard drive.

A year later, I found myself cleaning up my now extremely full lightroom library and I stumbled upon these first exposures again. I was a little more confident in using lightroom, so I figured I’d see if I could “salvage” any of these shots. I stopped caring about getting that perfect accuracy, I wanted to have fun, and after some fiddling and stacking (another trick I hadn’t thought of back then) I wound up with this final image. I love it, because it takes something that I once thought was “garbage” and was going to delete, and I made it something beautiful. 
It shows me that as we grow, we can sometimes look at the past with different eyes and make something beautiful.

At the very least it gives me an excuse to find myself in dark places, alone with my thoughts and away from all the chaos of the everyday world. So when the sky is clear, and the time allows, you can find me in those dark places like this, making my own light.
Nicolas MacPherson

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