Stars Capture Photographers’ Attention

By Karley Glover/LHHS Journalism Student:

Stargazing is a common pastime in Lake Havasu City. Many stay up late into the night to get a glance at a unique phenomenon they might only see once or just to see a falling star to wish on.

Photographers Brandon Plunkett and Jonathan Fotino use their love for the stars and the night sky to capture amazing moments that many don’t often have the chance to see.

Milky Way with a lighthouse photo by Brandon Plunkett.

Many are not able to see much of what the sky offers; their city lights obstruct the view.

Fortunately for the residents of Lake Havasu, it’s very easy to view the night sky and everything it offers because of the lack of streetlights.

“I love being able to capture something most people can’t see,” Plunkett said.

For those looking to take photos of the dark sky, Plunkett suggests planning.

“Shoot a week every month,” Plunkett said. This allows the photographer to capture the stars without moonlight affecting the quality.

lake havasu star trails

Star trails with ocotillo photo by Jon Fotino.

Another helpful suggestion is to use a map of the stars to track what they are taking photos of.

According to Fotino, the real key to taking superb photos is having the right gear. The most important piece of equipment should be a sturdy tripod. “You’ll be doing long exposures, any camera shake will ruin the photo,” Fotino said.

Other than a quality tripod and a wide-angle lens, one also needs to bring along patience, as the process can be very time consuming. “Sometimes I will sit and take over 150 30-second photos, without moving the camera,” Fotino said.

Vortex star trails photo by Jon Fotino.

Despite the process taking a lot of time and late nights, stargazing and astrophotography is an excellent way to explore the galaxy from right here on Earth.

If you would like to use an app to discover the stars above, Apple Iphone users can visit https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/sky-guide-view-stars-night/id576588894?mt=8 and Android users can visit https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=de.alcyone.livestarchartpro&hl=en. According to the websites, both apps cost $2.99.

lake havasu star trails

Photo courtesy Jon Fotino.

Star trails over Williams, AZ. by Jon Fotino.

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