Today I am going hiking and camping at Lost Maples State Park, which is to the Southwest of Austin. It is going to be very hot, but I am going to just deal with it. I drove through this park once on my way from somewhere else and it looked like a nice place to go. It will probably take me about 3 hours to drive there from the Austin area.
My goal is to hike to a back country camp ground and set up camp and then find a good place for some Milky Way shots in the night sky tonight. Then get up at dawn and see if I can find some good compositions in the morning light. Lost Maples is a long way from major cities and towns and it should be a really dark night for astrophotography. I checked the place out on darksitefinder.com. It is the small green square in the map below. It is not in the darkest shade, but it is very dark. It shows to be darker than Colorado Bend State Park where I have had good luck with astrophotography before.
I have also mapped out one of the hike-in campground on PhotoPills to determine that it will have a good place facing South for Milky Way and it looks like I should have a good chance if the clouds don’t move in and ruin my party. There is a high area near the campground that I plan on using to set up my tripod.
I have spent a lot of time deciding on what I will try to pack. The hike in is close to a mile over rugged terrain and there is only so much weight I can carry. I have a good back country backpack and I can fit
- a small tent
- an inflatable sleeping mat
- some bottles of water
- a few snacks
- flash light, head light, spare batteries
- Knife and camping hatchet
- Small first aide kit
- Bug repellant and sun screen
For my camera gear, I am trying to travel as light as possible.
- Nikon D750 DSLR
- Rokinon 14mm, f/2.4 lens
- Nikon 24-120mm, f/4 lens
- Remote shutter
- Spare battery
- Lens wipes
Hopefully I can pack all this gear without too much trouble.
So I have a plan and I’ll see how that works out. I will post some pictures when I get back and have a chance to process them. Thanks for reading.