Project Disrupt: Michael Robbins

As a wildlife and nature photographer, Michael Robbins typically shoots in the day. Spurred on by Project Disrupt, he decided to try something new – astrophotography at night with the Sol 45, Lume Cube Lighting Kit, and Mountainsmith Camera Bag. The results are (quite literally) out of this world, capturing the milky way and other constellations surrounded by beautiful blurry bokeh.

When I saw the Project Disrupt competition, I was instantly grabbed, I wanted to shoot some astrophotography. With the Lensbaby Sol 45, I would be able to turn the stars and milky way into beautiful bokeh. The Lume Cube would allow me to light the foreground and the Mountainsmith Tan Kit Cube would allow me to pack light.

When I got my kit, I was ready to start my project. I spent the next few days excitedly checking multiple weather apps hoping for clear night skies. With the moon bright in the sky, my first trip was to Nash Point lighthouse in Wales, UK. This amazing lighthouse built in the 1800s in an area with very little light pollution. The Mountainsmith Tan Kit Cube allowed me to pack exactly what I needed without the need for a bulky bag. Perfect for wandering about in a field in the pitch dark!

I got a few compositions of the lighthouse, including one with the moon and mars high above the lighthouse. The Lensbaby was such a dream to work with, manual focus is something you have to do with astrophotography, so the Lensbaby was ideal and easy to use in this situation. Where the Lensbaby came into its own was with the selective focus, moving the focus around the scene was so enjoyable, seeing the effect it produced and using the Lume Cube to nail the focus. Each shot was taken with the Lume Cube lighting the lighthouse and foreground and involving me running around in the field light painting.

My second trip was into the Brecon Beacons National Park in Wales, UK. This area is certified as an International Dark Sky Reserve, giving clear, non light polluted night skies. Here I was able to get a shot of the Milky Way with beautiful bokeh, lit with the Lume Cube and again packing light with Mountainsmith Tan Kit Cube. The shot is of a standing stone, Maen Llia, believed to have been raised into position in the Bronze Age.

For my final shot, on another clear night I visited the ruins of Ogmore Castle, in Wales, UK. This beautiful castle looks stunning at night, lit by the stars and the faint hint of the Milky Way.

All images shot with Sol 45.

Check out more of Michael’s work on his website, Instagram, and 500px.

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