At remote, clear and calm places like the small village of Merak on the Pangong Shore, when the night is moonless, Nautical twilight in a short but important time for the astrophotographer. You will not be able to see much detail in the landscape with your eyes, there is simply not enough light. You will also not be able to see the Milky Way in the sky, just a little faint apparition at the edge of your eyes.

But the camera captures all, in fact, so beautifully. For the camera there is enough light on the landscape for details to be captured in a longish exposure. There is also enough in the sky to be captured, i.e. stars and the Milky Way. In fact the light on the landscape and the sky matches quite well, and same exposure is right for both. Later as the Nautical twilight progresses to Astronomical twilight, the light on the landscape will reduce drastically and only a silhouette could be captured with the exposure that is right for the sky. Since there is no Moon in the sky, the Milky Way is shining gloriously without any interference from moonlight.

Nautical twilight is when the sun lies about 10° to 12° below the horizon after sunset (or before sunrise). A simple app on your smartphone will tell you the time of Nautical twilight, e.g. “The Photographer’s Ephemeris” or TPE. At each location, weather you are towards north/south or even eastwards or westwards in the country, the time of Nautical twilight varies and also by date and month of the year. The right light conditions exist only for a short duration of 10-15 minutes. The astrophotographer needs to be ready with his gear and be at the right location to devote his full attention to composition and exposure in that short duration of Nautical Twilight.

Pangong Panorama – This image has been clicked at Merak on the Pangong Lake at Nautical twilight. This is a panorama of 18 images clicked with a 35mm lens using a Canon 6D camera. A star filter was used in front of the lens. In the image you can see the pebbles at the bottom of the lake as well as the galactic core of the Milky Way in Sagittarius.

Share it on
Tweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on FacebookEmail this to someone