A few hours before I was at work in an ordinary office in the city (actually Rio Tinto's remote mining operations center). A few hours later I'm here at my favourite nightscape location at the Pinnacles in Nambung national park, Western Australia - beholding the core of the galaxy rising above the desert and monoliths.
This is my favourite time of year, as the milky way's core is close to the horizon and I can use my higher zoom lenses without an impractical number of shots / mosaic (in this case an 85mm prime lens). The higher the zoom, the more "dominating" it makes the galaxy appear in the sky (i.e. bigger).
Some of the photos are included in this post - otherwise check out my nightscape gallery for the rest.
It's been months since I last did some nightscape photography, and I'm getting restless. In the meantime I've reprocessed a scene that I did last November, sorry for re-posting it but often my first attempt at processing is rushed as I'm too impatient and usually can't wait to share it with everyone. Anyhow, this one I spent more time to improve the colour balance and trying to enhance the milkyway from the significant atmospheric effects when close to the horizon.
Hangover Bay being around 30 degrees south latitude means that the setting galaxy is horizontal when it is reasonably close to the horizon. This makes for some great opportunities - but the closer to the horizon the more faded the galaxy as you end up shooting through more atmosphere (pesky atmosphere - what is it good for :). In Western Australia, this also means shooting over the Indian Ocean - if only I could get the waves to stay still in between shots, makes post-processing the mosaics of the foreground "interesting".
This is a large mosaic of 25 shots with a 50mm f/2 lens on a Canon EOS6d. I took 10 x shots of the foreground with a large amount of overlap, and 15 x shots of the sky (using a tracking mount). All shots were at ISO1600 for 30 seconds. The original final image was a whopping 17391 x 6010 pixels, but google can't handle that so had to reduce it significantly. But zoom in, there is a lot of detail.
I'll put this revised version at full resolution shortly in my gallery, available to download.
Project Manager and Engineer (control systems) with over 18 years of experience, Will Vrbasso has also spent the past few years developing his skills in astro and nightscape photography, and has interests in astronomy and spaceflight in general.