I wasn’t really aware of the approach of Comet Neowise until I started seeing images on social media. I quickly realised that I wanted to try and shoot this myself as it was to be one of the best opportunities to photograph a comet for 20 years or so. I did the smallest amount of research and the very next evening, headed off to a local area with a good westerly view of the horizon. I stood and watched the sun go down but even though it was a pretty clear night, when I looked in the direction indicated by the app I was using, I couldn’t see a thing. I headed home without taking my camera out of its bag.
comet Neowise

Over the next couple of nights, I read up a lot more about how to find the comet and at around midnight, I set up my tripod on the street pointing north-west and took a shot. To my surprise, there was the comet – a camera can see stars a lot better than your eyes, particularly if they haven’t fully adjusted to the darkness. I needed some more in my shot than just a comet!

The next night was clear again so I headed out across the fields, found the correct direction and took a shot of the comet above the trees at the edge of the field – much better. By the time I had taken a few more shots, I could even see the comet with my own eyes.

comet Neowise

The weather clouded over again for about a week but after a few days, although the forecast was still for overcast skies, I noticed that the sky to the west was in fact clearing. By 11 pm, the sky looked pretty clear so I grabbed my bag and headed out, armed with a torch, through the woods to a local field where I lined up a rather oddly shaped tree that I like with the comet and took some more shots. By this time the comet was quite high in the sky and I could get enough distance from the tree to make the comet seem larger. I was still quite happy with this shot although light pollution or maybe some high cloud prevented me from capturing the second tail very clearly.

The more of this story – you can’t just point a camera at something and hope it’ll turn out OK! A bit of technique and a touch of luck will go a long way!

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