Milky Way -- © Dave Spier
A love of stars goes back to my days as an amateur astronomer. At the time I could have lived in the Adirondacks for no other reason than the dark skies, but no memory tops an October(?) camping trip to Meacham Lake. On a dry, moonless night, we could see every star visible to the human eye, right down to the southern horizon, but what made it special was the perfect reflection of every star on an unusually dead-calm water surface. We had walked to the edge of the lake from our campsite in the woods, but alas, had taken no camera (and therefore no tripod either). It would have been interesting to shoot star trails with their perfect reflections, so there's a suggestion if you ever encounter that situation..
Photo notes: The four-minute (240 second) exposure started at 8:36 pm. I was using a 17-40mm L zoom lens wide-open at f/4 on a full-frame body. For landscape photography, I need depth of field and small f-stops, so I no longer own a fast wideangle lens, but it leaves me at a disadvantage on these rare occasions. To compensate, I shot at ISO 800 with long-exposure noise reduction and then further processed the image using Levels. The camera was strapped to a small refractor used as a guide scope on an equatorial mount aligned to the North Star. The blur on the trees at bottom results from tracking the stars as the Earth rotates, rather than using a fixed-mount tripod.