A few months ago I was heading back from downstate IL when my GPS took me a different route than I was used to, and on the way I stumbled across this old weather-stripped barn on one of the backroads in DeKalb, IL. The county is full of them so I am always on the lookout for any that have a lot of character that stood on their own and this one fit the bill nicely. I made a note of it's location and thought about how I wanted to photograph it at some point. I've done quite a few rural photos of barns, especially when I was getting started, however they were all during the day, and due to my inexperience, mostly in the worst light imagineable. I had always wanted to shoot a starscape through the roof of an old barn at another location, but I thought this might be a better opportunity.

Scouting the location beforehand in Google Maps

Learning from the dissapointment of being in Sedona during a full moon I checked the calendar to see when the next new moon was so it would be as dark as possible, the only variable would be clouds. I checked the weather in the afternoon and everything looked great, so at about 12:30am I packed up my gear and drove out to the farm. As I pulled up I found there was a street light about 20 yards behind the spot I would be shooting from and I realized that this would actually light the barn nicely. I was worried beforehand that it would be a silouhette shot without some kind of fill flash on the barn but after the first exposure I found that it was lit absolutely perfectly.

One challenge I always have with landscapes at night is composition - it's much too dark for a live-preview, and if I wan't to shoot from close to the ground its really uncomfortable getting down and looking through the viewfinder. Thankfully at 19mm I can just eyeball it and after about 2 or 3 exposures I get locked into the composition I had in mind. I dialed in to a 20 second exposure to ensure the stars didn't streak but it allows enough time at ISO2000 to get a balanced exposure.

A starry night in DeKalb IL20s, f/6.3, ISO2000

The light from the street was absolutely perfect, but it did throw off the color temperature a bit which is easy enough to fix in post. The night sky has a very dreamy feeling to it which I love, creating a very meditative photograph. I think I am going to head back in a few weeks during the next new moon to take it to the next level and make my first attempt at star-trails.