Pemberton Under The Stars


Dimly lit street signs guided my way as I left the bright city lights behind me. The fog filled roads lay in my path as my vehicle turned and climbed in the darkness.  Small towns came and went, my journey to Pemberton was drawing to a close. I could almost smell the decaying forest as I opened the vent to let in some outside air. My eyes were alert and the smell of coffee was fading. Pemberton was fast approaching.

My imagination was running. I started to recall countless customer’s photographs of tall trees I had printed in my working life.  Picturing light as it broke through the blanketing canopy and fell upon glorious fern beds or capturing the morning calls of the local wildlife waking up to the day – these were the pictures I wanted to capture. I was so excited. With hands gripped to the steering wheel I navigated the fallen logs hindering the road to arrive at my destination around midnight. Eager to capture the forest I had ended up in the car park at the Big Brook Dam just outside of Pemberton town.

Stretching my legs from my long journey I witnessed tree trunks silhouetted against the starry sky. Rolling my head back and looking toward the sky the trees seemed to reach endlessly into the night sky. The giant trees clustered together to form a thick forest surrounding the car park making me feel dwarf like.  The stars only had brief shining moments as the leaves rustled about covering their shine.

Too excited for sleep I decided capture my surrounds.

Fumbling about the boot I quickly packed my camera bag and with head torch leading the way I set off for the path. The still night air was interrupted from the sound of my footsteps as they crunched the undergrowth beneath me. The smell of damp wood rose from the ground bringing a smile to my face. Stumbling along, hands thawing within my jacket pockets I reached a clearing.

I was in amazement at the scene that lay before me. The stillness of the night has produced a perfect mirror across the body of water. Surrounding the water were tall trees that stood trunk to trunk, their shadows simply blackened voids on the surface of the water.  My head torch was no match for the light that was energizing the night. The stars shone with brilliance reflecting their glow on the watery mirror in front of me. This was truly an amazing moment. I had to capture this scene!

Navigating my way along the muddy bank I located the southern cross above me and aimed the wide angled lens toward the constellations. With freezing fingers bouncing about the back of the camera I set the camera’s mode to Bulb and attached the cable release. Nestled on the tripod the focus was locked and aperture set…all I had to do now was wait 20 minutes. 10 minutes for the exposure followed by a 10 minutes walk back to the car (which was enough time for the camera to process noise reduction to the capture).

Arriving back at the car the heater was set to full blast as I waited for the red light to disappear from the back of the camera. Finally the moment arrived, noise reduction was complete.

The back LCD of the camera lit up producing the shot. AMAZING – I thought to myself. I had captured a night scene I was finally happy with!

All I needed to do was to get to sleep as I was getting up in 2 hours for the sunrise!

Big Brook Dam, Pemberton, Western Australia

Until Next Time

Happy Shooting!

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2 comments on “Pemberton Under The Stars

  1. Magic photo mate! How do you go with the noise with long exposure at night time?

  2. Hi David, I don’t seem to have to much of a problem with noise.
    Shooting on the Fujifilm X-Pro 1 I never get any. On the Canon EOS 1D MK IV there is some noise past ISO 1600.

    I’m not terribly fussed if I do have a small amount of noise however if the noise is really bad I simply adjust it in Adobe Lightrooom 4.

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