Astrophotography enthusiasts gather at Blackwater Falls

By Jonathan Eggleston, for RealWV

Astrophotography enthusiasts from far and wide flocked to Blackwater Falls, WV, for an extraordinary weekend of stargazing and celestial photography during the first official Astrophotography Weekend!

The highly anticipated event, sponsored by the esteemed Kanawha Valley Astronomical Society (KVAS), took place at the enchanting Blackwater Falls Lodge from July 14 to 15, leaving attendees with lasting memories and breathtaking images of the night sky.

The weekend commenced on a surprising note as Friday night, despite weather forecasts predicting clouds and rain, treated participants to a crystal-clear night. The unexpected clearing of the skies allowed attendees to indulge in their passion for astrophotography without any hindrance. 

Aaron Brown, (14 years old) captures his first ever deep sky image of the M81 and M82 galaxy pairing after learning valuable information. And, with the guidance of his father, William Brown, (KVAS club VP and organizer of the event). Very Cool, Aaron!

Under a canopy of stars, the attendees captured stunning images of distant galaxies, nebulae, and the awe-inspiring beauty of the Blackwater Falls.

Mr. Abraham Jones, (aka DIY Nasa) captures the eagle and Swan Nebula during Friday nights unexpected clear skies.

Saturday, unfortunately, proved to be a rainout, dampening the hopes of many astrophotographers. However, undeterred by the weather conditions, participants found alternative ways to satisfy their creative instincts.

Embracing the unique ambiance created by the mist and cloud cover, I ventured to the captivating Falls to capture long-exposures, resulting in a series of mesmerizing photographs. 

Despite the absence of a clear night sky, these photographs beautifully showcased the falls’ natural grandeur, merging the elements of astrophotography and landscape photography.

These long exposures by Jonathan Eggleston were incredibly captured during pitch dark conditions using a Sony A7rii full frame camera, displaying the amber color of the water, along with vibrant displays of lightning bugs and moody fog that added a touch of mystery to the scene. 

The weekend was not only about capturing stunning images but also an opportunity for attendees to expand their knowledge and learn from experts in the field. Renowned YouTuber Nico Carver, (Nebula widely recognized for his breathtaking nebula photographs, graced the event as a keynote speaker. Carver shared his experiences, techniques, and insights, leaving attendees captivated and inspired to further enhance their craft.

The astrophotography weekend also featured a lineup of distinguished speakers who shared their expertise, enlightening participants on various aspects of the craft. These sessions covered topics ranging from equipment selection and image processing to capturing elusive deep sky objects.

Among the speakers on Saturday was, Apagios Elia from the island of Crete. Through his E- presentation, participants got to witness the planet Saturn rising during a live imaging session and recieve valuable first hand knowledge from a seasoned professional on how to photograph and process planetary images. 

This mesmerizing amber hue’s unique coloring is a result of tannins, organic material leached from decaying plants. The waterfall, rugged cliffs, and lush green surroundings create a striking contrast, offering a breathtaking sight that never fails to leave visitors in awe. Photo by Jonathan Eggleston.

Participants eagerly absorbed the valuable knowledge shared by these experts, paving the way for their continued growth as astrophotographers.

Throughout the event, attendees had the opportunity to showcase their work and exchange ideas with fellow astrophotography enthusiasts. The camaraderie among the participants fostered an environment of collaboration and support, enabling everyone to learn from each other’s experiences and accomplishments.

As the weekend drew to a close, it was evident that the first official Astrophotography Weekend at Blackwater Falls had been an overwhelming success. Despite the challenges posed by inclement weather, participants persevered and found creative ways to capture the beauty of the night sky and the majestic Blackwater Falls. 

The event provided a unique platform for learning, inspiration, and networking, leaving attendees with cherished memories and breathtaking images.

Abraham Jones, (left) posing for a selfie with Nico Carver, (right) from YouTube channel “Nebula Photos”.

The Kanawha Valley Astronomical Society looks forward to hosting future astrophotography events, fostering the growth of this captivating art form and inviting enthusiasts to explore the wonders of the universe through the lens of their cameras.

There is also some big news coming up for the astrophotography community in WV, so make sure to check out the KVAS website for more info.

These long exposures were incredibly captured during pitch dark conditions using my Sony A7rii full frame camera, displaying the amber color of the water, along with vibrant displays of lightning bugs and moody fog that added a touch of mystery to the scene. 

Contact: Event Organizer

Kanawha Valley Astronomical Society

Phone: (304-444-6678)

Email: (

Website: (

Big shout out to the KVAS, William Brown, @NebulaPhotos, @DIY Nasa, @Davegreen, @Apagios Elia, Blackwater Falls Lodge, and to all the speakers and guests that helped make this an unforgettable experience! 

Note: The above images were provided by the attendees of the Astrophotography Weekend at Blackwater Falls.

David Johnston captured the stars over Blackwater falls in an epic display of the rotation of the earth by letting the stars trail in the sky. The image is a combination of four separate exposures for the foreground and (18) eight-minute exposures of the sky captured over a three-hour period with a Canon R5 and sigma 14mm lens.

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