Capturing the Zenith in the Brecon Beacons

During my recent outing in the Brecon Beacons at night, I had three places to shoot from in mind on Craig Cerrig-gleisiad. The final one was at the lake or pond on the saddle of Craig Cerrig-gleisiad. It was 1:30am when I reached it but clouds were quickly coming in. I set up the camera and ran a couple of test shots to check composition and exposure. Once they were correct, with the camera in landscape orientation, I shot a photo. I then panned up and shot another one and another. My aim was create a photo that was large and covered a lot of the night sky. Once I had taken this series of shots, the clouds were well and truly in so I headed back home. On the PC, I stitched the three photos in PTgui – with a lot of input from me as it couldn’t find any control points – and processed as usual in Photoshop to create the following image below. The only thing I’m disappointed with is that the clouds have obscured the lovely Milky Way clouds.

The pond on the Craig Cerrig-gleisiad saddle with Fan Gyhirych in the distance

The pond on the Craig Cerrig-gleisiad saddle with Fan Gyhirych in the distance

A little later, I spent a few hours with Stellarium on one LCD and this photo on the other to find out which constellations I had captured. I was amazed to find I had captured so many and even the Zenith and beyond! The Zenith is the point in the sky or celestial sphere directly above an observer. That means if I had shot another two photos, I would have captured the land behind me! As it is, the photo shows a huge portion of the sky! The width of the photo is 114 degrees which is roughly 1/3 of the 360 degrees all around! (Apologies for all the exclamation marks, but I find it so interesting and amazing!)

The constellations

The constellations

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