Thursday, 26 April 2012

Digging for Astro Photography Gold

Here is the first astronomy photograph from a wonderful 4 day drive to the Wheatbelt and Goldfields regions of Western Australia (travelling through Quairading, Southern Cross, Kalgoorlie and Menzies) over the last weekend:

Orion setting in the Goldfields of Western Australia
Orion setting in the Goldfields of Western Australia (Digging for Astro Photography Gold)

About the Photo:

I have used carefully placed lights over many exposures, together with astrophotography exposures tracking the sky to paint a picture telling the story of how it felt being here at the time of the photograph. Old abandoned equipment such as this truck lie around the area. One has to wonder what tales they have to tell: What sights they have seen?  What harsh conditions they would have experienced? What people drove them and what are their stories? In the dark of night getting close to the truck, inside it to position the lights, it's easy to imagine the vehicle alive and working on the land.

You can see Orion just barely visible above the trees as it sets in the west. Other stars of the Milky Way fill the western horizon.

The title of the photograph comes from the fact the photograph was taken in in the Goldfields region on an old pastoral and mining lease, and I was on a 4 day 1800km trip to find new astrophotography locations (you could say fossicking for photography locations! ;) ).

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Southern Cross and Pointers Silhouettes

I have continued work on photographs acquired on the 23rd March and now have a new one to share with you.

While still attempting to be more unique and artistically appealing than a standard astrophotograph this is perhaps more "normal" to appeal to your tastes than the last paddock gate piece.

This photograph shows the Southern Cross and Pointers surrounded by silhouetted trees. The shapes of the silhouettes as well as the circular slight blur of the silhouettes (caused by long exposure photography) emphasises the rotational direction of the stars around the Southern Celestial Pole. The Southern Celestial Pole, the point at which the stars appear to rotate around (in the southern hemisphere) is out of frame to the right.

Southern Cross and Pointers with Silhouettes
My initial idea with this photograph was to completely surround the Southern Cross with silhouettes, all focusing on the Southern Cross. When the tall spindly trees on the right of frame presented themselves they instead lead to the use those to frame the Southern Cross and Pointers, and show the curve of the celestial sphere.

The photograph was taken at Dryandra, a nature reserve in the wheatbelt reagion of Western Australia, on the weekend of the twice-a-year ASWA Astro Camp.

This photograph will be available for purchase on the Astro Photography Australia website soon. It will be available as 12" x 8", 50cm x 33cm and 80cm x 50cm prints and canvas. Larger sizes will be printed upon special request only (1-2 week wait period). Contact me if you are interested in prices.

Saturday, 7 April 2012

Paddock Gate with Jupiter & Venus

I am enjoying the challenge of creating art rather than straight forward photographs from astrophotography. This appeal possibly stems from my university days when I enjoyed creating very abstract CGI (Computer Generated Images) which incorporated my early astrophotography.

Over the last 12 months I have been developing my astrophotography further as an art form. Images such as Country Road with Milky Way, Comet Lovejoy and silhouetted landscapes (more) are evidence of this shift. I still strive for new ways to evolve astrophotography in to a more generally appealing art form.

On the weekend of the 23rd March I spent Friday night exploring new possibilities in a country location known as Dryandra. I have been working on the images acquired that night and now have some coming to fruition. I think what will be most interesting is looking back on these in 2 years time and seeing where these early steps have taken me.

This is my first, it shows Jupiter (left), Venus (right - and brighter), with an old paddock gate in the foreground.


The photograph was taken during twilight, about 45 minutes after sunset when the western horizon was still quite bright but below the horizon you would only see the dark silhouettes. The paddock and surrounding area was very dry from the long summer with no grass to speak of. The environment is that of old timber cutter cottages, mature Settler Pine trees and native Australian bush. The gate opens on to a large open paddock. I have tried to represent the feel of the area in the way I have processed the image to provide a more interesting piece.

I can imagine this looking good as a canvas print 60cm x 60cm. $199.

I'd love to hear feedback on this and upcoming artistic representations of the night sky.