The astro photography season is back for Australia! Actually it’s been back for a while now but we simply haven’t had any clear nights around home.
Finally, the predictions were looking good for a clear window. With a huge amount of help from my great friend Craig Bachmann, we gained access to a few local farms to shoot the night away. Even better, they had prepared subjects for us to shoot!
First subject was an absolute ripper as well! Craig’s father owns this stunning 1978 Dodge D5N 600 series V8 Petrol truck. Over the years it has been used to cart various produce from spuds and onions to the Rocklea Markets in Brisbane, to watermelons and lucerne for local supply in the Lockyer Valley. You don’t get fresher than that, and I couldn’t think of a cooler way to transport the goods!
We had the truck perfectly positioned in front of the farmers current lucerne crop and starting out, we spent our time light painting the truck with our torches as we waited for the core of the milkyway rising behind to be in perfect position.
Finally after an hour of painting and tweaking the composition it was time to photograph the core, and OMG the result was simply amazing! Not a single puff of cloud in the night sky, the temperature was absolutely perfect, just at the point of chilly, but not cold enough for fog, mist or warm enough for haze. The clarity was the best I can remember ever seeing to be honest. When I finished editing this, I immediately sent this to Craig and said “SHOW YOUR DAD!!”. Honestly, I was gob smacked myself.
This is without a doubt, the best astro photograph I’ve captured to date. Everything I wanted to achieve in this photograph I did. From the complete lack of noise, to amazing sharpness, detail and colour, absolutely perfect to me. I’ve never seen the dust lanes of the core like that! Blown away. I’ve added this straight away to my Astro Nightscapes Gallery.
A lot of work has gone into this photograph. There was the initial planning, going over google maps, checking the direction and timing of the milky way using apps like Photopills an the photographers ephemeris. Constant watching of weather apps to see what the clouds were doing. At home when I left to head out, it was cloudy, but on location, it was perfect, so don’t trust what is out your window, do the wider research and checking and take the shot. Post processing time was lengthy as well. Blending the light panting photographs with the sky took time and then working through my finishing steps was the final step.
It’s funny when I take a photograph like this. I work and learn my techniques. I visualise what result I can get. I shoot on location with that visualisation and my technical knowledge to ensure I have the best chance of getting a good result. But during post processing, it’s not about editing to get that result. Instead I let the photograph take me on a journey. This photograph really led me along, each step was just bringing out the best of each part, making sure things were technically correct (for me) but not knowing where I was going to end up.
When I finally stopped and sat back, not a word of a lie, my jaw dropped. I couldn’t quite believe I created this photograph. It’s on the printer now, it’s going on the wall, I don’t care whether it gets a bazillion or no likes, this was about my art, my photography. I had a vision, and I exceeded it, and I’m simply ecstatic.
But! The night wasn’t over! This was only the first of 3 locations we ended up photographing this night…I haven’t even begun the editing process on those photographs but we have the biggest piece of farm equipment I’ve ever seen, and a stunning old machine from the 1940’s that still runs!
Thank you so much for taking the time to read this post. A few changes are in the works. I’ll be uploading a lot more photographs to my catalogs, I’m adding licensing of my images to businesses, and the biggest news, I’ve started doing 1 on 1 workshops for anyone interested in learning how I capture my photographs whether it’s landscapes or astro photographs. Any interchangeable lens camera with manual mode will work, any lens will capture good photographs, it’s just some do it easier and better than others. I charge $300aud per lesson, and we even go through post processing on location with a photo you have just taken. I’ll have formal information on my website soon, but for now, contact me if you are interested in learning and I’ll discuss what I offer in further detail with you.
Until next time!