My name is Neil Mark Thomas, I live near the foothills of Snowdonia in Caernarfon, North Wales.
By day I am a mobile app designer for a local app development company and by night I am an amateur astrophotographer.
My passion for photography began when I studied photography as part of my Art A-Levels at school. At that time, DSLRs were well above my camera budget, so I learned using film. I am glad I got to experiment with film, chemicals, developing and generally using a dark room for a few years before moving onto digital. The first DSLR I owned was a Canon 50D, which served me well over the years before I moved onto the Canon 70D. The 70D was an amazing ‘all-rounder' and did everything I wanted it to. After a while, I thought it was time to move to a full-frame camera, and opted for the Canon 6D. This is my current ‘go-to’ camera and can usually be found with a Canon 17-40mm L lens attached to it. I am not a complete Canon fanboy, I also own a Sony A6000 as an everyday camera.
I am a big fan of night photography and love the array of colours and detail the night sky has to offer. It's always a bonus to catch a nice section of the Milky Way behind some nice scenery.
How & Why I Use Triggertrap
I stumbled upon Triggertrap on the iOS App Store and immediately purchased the hardware from Triggertrap.com to see if it would improve my workflow. I was hooked straight away and I can’t imagine going back to an intervalometer ever again.
Being able to tap to amend settings is much easier than working out the fidgety buttons of an intervalometer, and the ability to connect via WiFi to my Canon 60D is a fantastic feature that means I do not always need to carry cables around with me.
The latest update features a really handy toggle that enables a dark theme for taking photos in the evening. Such a clever feature and much easier on the eyes!
TT: What first got you into astrophotography?
NMT: I got into astrophotography after attempting to take a photo of the aurora (all the way down in North Wales, UK) and realised it could be seen on my camera at 30 seconds exposure. Realising what a camera can capture at night, I moved on to capturing the Milky Way and star consolations and it carried on from there really.
TT: Do you always tend to shoot in the same places or do you prefer to try something new?
NMT: Most of my photos have been taken around North Wales, mainly Snowdonia. We live in such a beautiful place that you can drive two miles in one direction and be in the middle of the mountains, then two miles in the other direction and you’ve reached the beautiful coastline. Since we are spoilt for choice in this area I haven’t felt the need to venture out further yet. I would really like to travel up to the Scottish Highlands soon though.
TT: What is the most common mistake you think that people make when shooting at night?
NMT: The most common mistake (and I am guilty of this) is overexposing night photos when any form of artificial light is present, such as street lamps etc. You cannot get a clear shot of the milky way or star constellations when you have a strong light in your shot. You’re battling against ramping up your ISO and lowering f-stop to see the details in the stars, but compromising on the lighter bright parts of your images.
I tend to try and avoid man-made elements in my astrophotography, and living in Snowdonia, there is very little light pollution when you venture out to the mountains here. Snowdonia has recently been acknowledged as an International Dark Sky Reserve (the 10th in the world).