Summer is in the air and the Milky Way is high in the night sky. Astrophotographers bring the wonders of the universe right to our eyes without us ever going outside. With light pollution creeping in on every part of the globe many never see the Milky Way any more and sadly some have never seen it. Photographers have been eager to share their recent shots of the glorious Backbone of Night, each one a sparkling stellar masterpiece. Sit back and enjoy these extaordinary shots of cosmic eye candy!
Astrophotographers live in a world unlike the rest of us. While we snooze the night away, they search for the darkest skies with luminance stars in enchanted landscapes. Their quest is finding otherworldly scenes where the magic of night melts into the ground and creates heaven on Earth. Adam Woodworth has captured some of the most breathtaking images of the night sky. His latest masterpiece, Raven's Nest, captured in Acadia National Park, Maine takes us to a place with soaring cliffs, extraordinary beauty and cosmic charm.
Today in our world of fast paced technology and growing population it's no wonder people forget to slow down and look up at the night sky. Even when we do look up we may just see a handful of stars and the moon. "Nothing to see here" we may think to ourselves as we get out of our cars at night and go about our business. Many people don't know what they are missing. How can you miss something you've never seen or thought twice about?
The extraordinary image you are looking at is not an image from the Hubble Telescope or any huge observatory on Earth. This image was taken in a backyard in an ordinary neighborhood in western Michigan by a very talented astrophotographer named Terry Hancock. What is even more impressive is that he used a tiny 3.6" refractor telescope to achieve it. This is the famous Helix Nebula and some have nicknamed it "The Eye Of God".
"I often think that the night is more alive and more richly colored than the day." -Vincent van Gogh
For astrophotographer Mike Taylor in central Maine, that quote is very true. When most people are fast asleep Mike is out capturing stunning and surreal night sky photos so incredible van Gogh himself would have been in awe. Featuring millions of sparkling stars and vibrant curtains of color, his images look more like a fantasy painting than a photograph. Some say he is lucky because each night he captures something magical; a vivid fireball that appears from nowhere, a captivating aurora dancing with the Milky Way or airglow illuminating the dark sky.
Light pollution harms more than just photos. It creates unseen problems on all life on Earth, including humans. Astrophotographer Mike Taylor has been battling the blaring light for years while taking photos of the night sky. Along with Stellar Eyes and many other photographers and sky gazers he joined the International Dark-Sky Association to advocate for dark skies. Here is his message on the importance of a dark sky.
This is Part II of Astrophotography 101. Click HERE for Part I on Cameras, Lenses, and Tripods.
So now you have your camera gear and you are ready to go out and shoot the night, right? Yes of course get out there but here are some helpful tools to make your job easier.
Astro-Photography 101 Camera, Lens, Gadgets, and other Tools
So you have been staring up at the sky and you have been thinking to yourself, "I would love to record this scene but I have no idea where to start." - I've been there and struggled to learn much of this information over a period of several years.
Follow this simple guide to Astrophotography Camera's, Lenses, Gadgets, and other Tools: