Two for the price of one this time! We didn't get home until after 3am but it was worth it. The forecast was clear sky's between midnight at 2am and most importantly there was no moon in the sky. I did a bit of planning on Google Maps and it looked like we might just be able to fit Magpie Mine and Ladybower Reservoir into that slot. We arrived at Magpie Mine a little early so had a quick bite to eat and something to drink. Did I ever tell you that Tracy has a bit of a fear of cows? Well, she does, and guess what we see as we are walking towards the mine? Yep, cows. The distance to the mine is only short so it didn't take long to get there. We were using torches to avoid puddles and potholes but as soon as we turned them off we were greeted with a spectacular view of the universe above us. Had it not been for the cows I'm sure Tracy would have enjoyed it more. This is the first shot that we got and I'm fairly happy with it actually (it's about time):
We quickly moved around to the other side of the Mine and took another shot which also turned out quite nice. We also took a photo of our Aching Arms teddy, Grace, but I forgot my flash (again) and it didn't really turn out well at all (sorry Grace!).
The time was now about 12:45am, Ladybower Reservoir is about 30 minutes drive away with a 10 minute walk down to the base of the water, I wondered; "can we make it in time before the cloud rolls in?"... We had to try. We got there and quickly hopped over the fence, I set my tripod and camera up and took a test shot, I could already see the cloud coming in from the side. I was in a rush and wasn't paying attention, I hadn't weighed my tripod down in the soft mud when suddenly... smack! My camera and tripod fell to the side into the mud. Thankfully there was no damage but the lens was now dirty. I had some Zeiss lens cleaning wipes with me which are surprisingly excellent and cleaned everything up quickly. I recomposed the shot and pressed the shutter release cable and got this:
You can just see the cloud coming in on the right of the photo, about 10 minutes later it had completely covered the view of the Milky Way. We were finally done and could go home. It's about an hours drive home even at that time of the day, we got back at around 3am. I didn't even look at the photos on the computer, it was straight to bed ready for work the next day. We talked about where to go for the next shot and decided on the Trinnacle in Saddleworth. It was a rash and naive decision, we had no idea what we were in for. More on that in the next blog post.