With the aid of various planning apps, it’s possible to calculate the position of the Milky Way relative to land-based features. It’s then a matter of waiting for the right weather, the right phase of the Moon (a new Moon is best for photographing the Milky Way) and then being in the right place at the right time. This image though is the result of a last-minute expedition that arose after an unexpected improvement in weather conditions at nightfall.
The east-facing bays on Canterbury’s Banks Peninsula look straight out onto the Pacific Ocean and experience incredibly dark skies. As the crow flies, it’s not far from my home to these beaches – but the narrow, winding roads make it nearly a two-hour trip each way. A friend and I set out, arriving at the beach well after dark. It was a location I’d been to once before, about a year ago, so I was familiar with its layout even in the pitch black. There was little time to waste getting the camera equipment set up to capture images of the Milky Way already stretching high overhead from between the two headlands that guard the entrance to the bay.
Although invisible to the naked eye, the first recorded images showed evidence of airglow above us. Different to the aurora, airglow is a result of photochemical reactions occurring high in the atmosphere. Processes like incoming ultraviolet radiation from the sun excite various atoms and molecules which then release energy – some of which is visible light. This light is so faint though, that even though it is present across the whole atmosphere, it can only be observed under dark night-time skies. It usually appears brightest around 10° above the horizon since the atmosphere effectively appears denser to the observer than when looking straight up.
The scene’s beauty was further enhanced with the reflections of stars on the wet sands of the long, gently sloping beach left behind by the outgoing tide. Wanting to capture the whole vista in front of me, I decided to make a mosaic image requiring some 24 images to be captured which would be assembled later during post-processing – the end result offering a wider field of view and more detail than a single frame could show.
I’ll always enjoy the stunning beauty of our night skies.
Image size: 12″ x 18″ / 305mm x 457mm
Your print will also include an additional white space border to allow for easy handling during the framing process.
As a Limited Edition Print, the following pricing structure applies:
Prints 1-5: $249
Prints 6-20: $499
Prints 21-25: $999
Price includes free delivery within New Zealand.
About this Limited Edition
- Edition of 25
- Media: Canson Infinity Rag Photographique 310 gsm cotton paper using Canon Lucia Pro archival pigment-based inks
- Print is hand-signed and numbered
- Includes hand-signed Certificate of Authenticity
- Information sheet with the story of the image and capture details
Photographic prints of this image will only be available in this limited edition. I do reserve the right to use the image for other purposes for example: calendars, books, greeting cards, postcards and other items of a similar nature.
Camera: Canon EOS 6D
Lens: Samyang 24mm f/1.4
Exposure: f/2.8, 15s, ISO 3200
Number of frames used in final image: 24
Shipping and Handling
Prints are carefully packaged before being rolled and placed into a protective postal tube for shipping. This offers a higher level of protection to your new print during transit than if it were shipped flat and allows you to store it safely while arranging framing.