(April 6th-7th 2019)
To kick off this year’s Milky Way season I headed for the darker skies of the eastern Cape Cod shores with 3 other photographers from my home state of Connecticut. Upon arrrival we first checked into our AirBnb for the night and then headed over Coast Guard Beach in Eastham, where we’d be shooting the night sky later on. If possible it’s always best to go scout out your location for doing any night sky photography while it’s still light out to plan out your shots and make mental notes for later. Once you arrive in the pitch black on a dark night without the moon it’s almost impossible to completely get your bearings on your surroundings unless it’s a place you’ve been to multiple times before. Off the bat I realized that the vintage Coast Guard house and surrounding wooden fence would make for the perfect foreground subjects to feature in compositions I’d be creating close to 10 hours later. Right down the road is also where the iconic red & white Nauset Lighthouse that’s featured on every bag of Cape Cod potato chips is located! Of course after the drive in we needed some refueling and stopped at the Nauset Grill, where I got a tasty buffalo shrimp wrap with fries. Next stop was over to Rock Harbor Beach, most known for the line of young pine trees are sunk into the mud that form a line leading into the harbor. We stayed briefly to enjoy the scenery and the perfect reflections that the calm water was providing. Our final stop of the daylight hours and choice to catch the sunset was at Chapin Memorial Beach in Dennis. The low tide provided us with plenty of real estate to venture out into the beach and decide where would be best to setup shop for the approaching sunset. While waiting for the sun to get lower in the sky I sent my drone up into the sky for a flight to kill time and capture some aerial footage. I don’t fly it enough as I’m always worrying first about getting the images I want with my DSLR, but every time I do I tell myself how I should much more! Unfortunately the sky was super clear so a dramatic sunset wouldn’t be in store for us, but just as the sun was heading towards the horizon a think strip of clouds provided a little bit of texture to catch some colors. I switched over to a mid range telephoto lens instead of my usual wide angle to get a tighter perspective on the sunset with a building in the distance and person walking the beach in the foreground. After sunset we head to the Lost Dog Pub in Dennis for dinner (I went with the fired cod club sandwich) before heading back to the house to recharge our bodies and camera bodies before heading out to shoot all night.
We arrived back at Coast Guard Beach at 11pm to meet up with a number of other photographers from MA and nearby states for my buddy James’ night sky workshop series. Thick low clouds and haze persisted for a long stretch, turning it into a waiting game of when the Milky Way would rise up high enough in the sky to get into the clearing above. I had packed a number of layers and gloves, but still underestimated just how cold it would be and wished I had packed my big winter coat. At about 2:30am the conditions and location of the core began improving so that we could finally start capturing some usable images. A little bit later I was able to really get the compositions that I had planned for earlier and we got some of the best stuff closer to 3:30am. We stayed out until the faintest of light began to creep into the sky around 4:40am and made our way back to the house for as much sleep as we could get before having to check out. Shooting conditions weren’t the greatest the next day, with full sun and clear skies, but it was nice to stop at a few more spots as we slowly made our way back down. The first was Herring Cove Beach, where we had heard about old ship remnants that appear when the tide is low enough but didn’t work out for when we got there. I had never been to Highland Light so we took the walk down to the classy lighthouse and attached keeper’s house in some beautiful early Spring weather. Our final stop was down at the bridge in Buzzard’s Bay, where we met up with a few local MA photographers to see if the sky would do anything fun for sunset. Clouds came in thick to block out any chance for that, but it’s always good to connect with other great photographers from around New England on my adventures. Overall it was a great weekend shooting and spending time with good people, and coming home with amazing images made it a complete success.
Enjoy a selection of photos below from the trip. Any of them can be purchased as a print or canvas wrap. Email me with any questions - firstname.lastname@example.org