Photography started for me some thirty years ago as a teenager when, after many lawns cut, newspapers delivered, and driveways shovelled, I’d amassed enough cash to buy a brand new Minolta X700 and Sigma zoom lens. There weren’t many typical photos taken with that camera, as much of my time was spent in my parents’ darkened basement photographing flashlights swinging on string, or custom-built models of spaceships in front of black paper poked with hundreds of nail holes lit from behind, visions of Star Wars dancing in my head. My photographic space exploration soon took a back seat to college, career, houses, and kids, and although I continued taking photos to document it all, my photographic sense of adventure took a hit. That is, until recently.
I can’t remember what I was researching on the net one day, when I stumbled upon some incredible Milky Way photos taken with ordinary digital SLR cameras. Suddenly memories of poking holes in black paper with my dad’s salvaged framing nails came rushing back. I simply had to learn how to do this! After much research on gear and techniques, I headed into the night toward Lake Erie to escape the light pollution of Hamilton. The darkness, the quiet, the warm night air, the wonder of the sky…I was hooked! What the camera captured in 20 to 30 second exposures was a world rarely slowed down enough to appreciate. I soon learned perfect nights are not always there when you want them to be. Annoying things like the moon, clouds, ground fog, and grumpy dogs can get in the way. On nights like this I began staying closer to home and soon discovered a wonderful late-night world in my own city. Just as long exposures reveal the Milky Way in a new way, Hamilton showed me wonders during those long exposures that I never knew existed, and now I can’t help seeing interesting new views to explore at every turn. Now if I can just find the time…