Stars shine in Saddleworth for photographer Pete

THE man whose star is rising after capturing a stunning photo of the night skies above Saddleworth has revealed the luck behind it.

Pete Collins thought he would take a chance after finding himself at home in Middleton knowing the skies would be clear.

And his gamble to head to Dovestone Reservoir paid off in stunning fashion with a brilliant image of the Orion constellation.

Pete said about the night on November 29: “I was at home and it was forecast a clear evening with no moon.

“Knowing that Orion rises in the east mid-evening at that time of year, I decided to have a shot at it.

“First I looked at Stellarium planetarium software to see exactly when and on what compass bearing Orion would be rising, then spent some time with an OS map to figure out where I could find a nice foreground on that compass bearing.

“Shots like this I sometimes plan up to a year in advance and then have to wait for the Milky Way, Orion or whatever, to come to the position I want.

“I know Saddleworth pretty well, having worked in Delph for 10 years and walking the moors quite often.

“Dovestone Reservoir was an obvious choice of foreground and with luck I could get some stars reflected in the water.

“That was the hard bit out of the way, the easy bit was taking the shot!

“I got to Dovestone for 8.30pm and found that the planning had paid off – Orion was about halfway risen exactly where I expected it to be, the sailing club clubhouse added a bit of interest in the foreground.

“But what made the shot was that there was no wind, so the water was very still and gave perfect reflections of the stars.”

Pete’s picture proved a great addition to the Diamond Skies website he runs, featuring shots of night skies, mainly in the Yorkshire Dales.

He also revealed the technical details that go into making the type of picture many Saddleworth folk would like to get their hands on.

He added: “I tried a couple of different focal length lenses, then settled on my 24mm f1.4.

“Then I just kept taking a shot every few minutes for the next hour while Orion rose over Dovestone rocks and chose what I thought was the best. Exposure was 10 sec, f2, ISO400.

“I’ve had quite a reaction to the image – one of the most liked I’ve posted to Facebook in the last year.

“I sell quite a few prints of my images around the Yorkshire Dales but haven’t looked for anywhere to sell this one locally yet.”

Saddleworth also plays host to Pete’s other passion, astronomy. He helps run the Heaton Park Astronomy Group and sometimes goes to Saddleworth Astronomy Group, which meets at Denshaw Village Hall every Wednesday evening.

• If you are interested in getting hold of Pete’s image, go online: www.diamond-skies.co.uk

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