Brian Drourr has caught our eyes with his stunning photographs of Vermont’s night skies. We’ve really enjoyed his work, and when we asked if we could use one of his images for the site, he readily agreed. We sat down to chat with him about his work:
Geek Mountain State: First off, your photographs of the night sky are absolutely gorgeous. What draws you to photograph the cosmos?
Brian Drourr: Well, I have always been a star gazer. I guess I was fortunate and spent my summers as a kid in ME and got hooked early on. Now however, with a full time job at Fletcher Allen and a 5 year old it seems like the night time is the only time I have to get out and shoot.
GMS: How did you come to become a photographer in the first place?
Brian: Well, when your father, grandfather and great grandfather (one of the engineers who designed the Polaroid) and your first “toys” were a camera, chances are you’re going to wind up a photographer of some sort or another.
GMS: What about the Vermont sky leaves such an impression with you?
Brian: It’s the rural dark skies that are easily accessible. A 30 min. drive and you are in great night sky viewing territory. We may not have the HUGE mountains and vast horizons of other paces but we do have lots to offer for interesting foreground shots with barns and rivers and lakes and smaller mountains to shoot. But in the end, Vermont is my home and I love telling stories with my images and sharing things people would not generally get to see. Vermont is beautiful during the day but it’s downright magical at night.
GMS: Do you have any tips for local amateur photographers about how to take pictures of the stars?
Brian: My tips would be this; you will never get the shot sitting on your couch at home. Aside from a camera that allows full manual controls of exposure and focus (a point and shoot won’t cut it) and a way to manually trigger your camera, it does not take a lot of fancy gear. A lot of the magic does happen in processing, but anyone with a bit of patience and practice can get a great night sky shot with really basic gear. I started with an info level Canon DSLR and aftermarket wide angel lens. I would use a piece of duct tape and a small pebble over the shutter button to get a long exposure shot with my camera on a homemade sand bag. The most important part is just getting out, though.
GMS: What’s your favorite picture of the night sky that you’ve taken?
Brian: That is hard to say, it’s [that] I have a few that stand out from Milky Way reverence (whales tails is a sculpture named reverence), to a Night Lights a shot of a great old Shaker barn up on Rt7 in Sheldon with the aurora raging over head, to a shot I captured down in Groton of the Milky Way rising out of the valley fog, to my most recent shot of the aurora and some beautiful horse sculptures I found by chance.
Many of Brian’s pictures are up for sale on his website. We’d also recommend following him on Twitter, or like his page on Facebook.