Wednesday, 18 March 2015

AR12297 Through a Pollution Sunset - 17th March

The weather for me lately has been awful - just persistent grey skies, day after day, soooo frustrating. Anyhow, the forecast for yesterday afternoon was for it to go sunny somewhere between 4-5pm, so after a busy day at work I decided to just get home and hope for the best. Well the skies did clear, but it was hazy, very hazy, infact the sky just had a yellow tinge to it, that just kept getting yellower the closer the sun got to the horizon. This is a 'pollution sunset' - Haze can form from a variety of sources, commonly industrial pollutants, desert dust or sea salt. The result of these small particles in the air gives a murky blue-grey appearance to the environment. On this occasion, the recent south-easterly flow which has affected the UK has brought air across the country from the industrial heartland of Europe. This has mixed with our own local urban pollutants, and with wind speeds very light under an area of high pressure, has added to the dull visual conditions.

To put it in perspective, my usual exposure settings with the quark on the ED80 are 1/30s and minimum gain (260 on a PC and IC Capture), but yesterday the histogram was telling me there was a lot of light missing, and to get to my usual levels I had to have to gain up at 900 (out of 1024 I think), the live view looked like there was 'snow' all over the image, or as is the 'dissolve filter' in photoshop was in operation. Somewhat disheartened by this I recorded away, as was setup and well, some sun is better than no sun!

Enter the magic of stacking software. Normally I record 300 frames and stack 50, today decided to record 1000 and stack 250 to try and average away the noise. I knew the results were never going to be perfect, but they surprised me in the sense were better than I thought they were going to be. Woke this morning to freezing fog (and more grey skies!), with that forecast set to stay with us again possibly for another week, apart from maybe, just maybe, a few breaks on friday morning, let's see!