NASA photographer Lauren Harnett captured this photograph of the International Space Station passing in front of the moon. What’s amazing is that it didn’t require any fancy astronomy equipment — Harnett was shooting from a parking lot using a Nikon D3S, 600mm lens, 2x teleconverter, heavy duty tripod and sandbag, and a remote shutter release. She shot at 1/1600, f/8, and ISO 2500 in burst mode, and then combined the resulting photographs into this one image.
Social Lights is a project by photographer Seymour Templar that’s like a nighttime version of Joe Holmes’ Texting series that we featured earlier this year. Templar documented social life in NYC by snapping portraits of people interacting with others through their cell phones. Each individual unwittingly helps out by lighting their own faces with their phone displays. Read more…
Photographer Yasuaki Segawa captured this incredible photograph of the Milky Way rising above the ocean, as seen from Taketomi Island, Japan. In addition to the uber-sharp stars, reflections of two bright stars can be seen in the waters. Segawa used a Canon 5D Mark II with a 24mm f/1.4 lens, and composited 5 separate photos to make this image (allowing him to expose the sky and the foreground separately). He also compensated for star rotation to sharpen the sky and prevent star trails. A higher-res version can be found here.
Photographer Stephane Vetter managed to capture a moonbow, an aurora, and an Icelandic waterfall, all in the same photograph.
The longer you look at this image, the more you see. Perhaps your eye is first drawn to the picturesque waterfall called Skogarfoss visible on the image right. Just as prevalent, however, in this Icelandic visual extravaganza, is the colorful arc of light on the left. This chromatic bow is not a rainbow, since the water drops did not originate in rainfall nor are they reflecting light from the Sun. Rather, the drops have drifted off from the waterfall and are now illuminated by the nearly full Moon. High above are the faint green streaks of aurora. [#]
Night photographer Ben Canales made this image by stacking together roughly 50 different exposures in order to show all of the star trails across the sky. Regarding the color seen in the stars, Canales writes,
The different colors of the star streaks are from the “temperature” of light that the stars burn at. Just like a candle gives and orange light, and a gas stove burns blue- the stars in our sky shine all different sorts of colored light.
A while back, we featured a video tutorial by Canales on how to photograph the night sky. Give that video a look, find a still lake on a clear night, and you can make one of these photographs yourself!
This incredible time-lapse video was created using photos captured from the International Space Station at night.
[It] begins over the Pacific Ocean and continues over North and South America before entering daylight near Antarctica. Visible cities, countries and landmarks include (in order) Vancouver Island, Victoria, Vancouver, Seattle, Portland, San Fransisco, Los Angeles. Phoenix. Multiple cities in Texas, New Mexico and Mexico. Mexico City, the Gulf of Mexico, the Yucatan Peninsula, Lightning in the Pacific Ocean, Guatemala, Panama, Columbia, Ecuador, Peru, Chile, and the Amazon.
Time-lapse photographer Randy Halverson spent three months hunting thunderstorms at night in central South Dakota using a Canon 5D Mark II, Canon 60D, and Canon T2i. Capturing both the storms and the Milky Way in the same shots proved to be a difficult task:
One of the challenges in making this video, was trying to get good storm and star shots. The opportunity doesn’t come along very often, the storm has to be moving the right speed and the lightning can overexpose the long exposures. I had several opportunities this summer to get storm and star shots. In one instance, within a minute of picking up the camera and dolly, 70mph winds hit. One storm was perfect, it came straight towards the setup, then died right before it reached it. [#]
In the end, he captured enough photographs to create this 3-minute-long time-lapse video showing the galaxy floating overhead while storm clouds roll in. Lightning photos are one thing, but seeing storms sweep across the scene at night is incredible.
It took six months of on and off shooting for photographer Colin Rich to create this amazing time-lapse video showing Los Angeles at night. He used a Canon 5D that’s still chugging along after 120,000 actuations. Be sure to watch it in HD and in fullscreen!
“Moonbows” are rainbows that appear at night under moonlight, and are difficult to see with human eyes but beautiful when captured in long exposure photographs. There aren’t many places on Earth where this phenomenon can be regularly witnessed, but a few of them are found at the waterfalls in Yosemite.
Steven Bumgardner, the video producer for the national park, spent two years moonbow hunting and shot over 20,000 still photos with a Canon 5D Mark II to create the time-lapse sequences seen in the video above. After watching, you might want to add “moonbows” your list of things to see and photograph (along with the northern lights, perhaps).
Photographer Ben Canales created this great video tutorial teaching the basics of shooting the night sky. He goes over how to shoot quick test shots to set up your composition before discussing more in-depth tips and tricks for capturing the final shot, including the “Rule of 600″:
[...] the quickest way to determine the longest exposure that is possible for any given focal length lens, without the stars streaking, is to divide that focal length into 600. (This is the formula for 35mm. Larger formats are laxer, smaller formats more unforgiving). [#]
For example, with a 50mm lens on a full frame camera, you can only expose for 12 seconds (600/50=12) before the stars turn into star trails. It’s a good rule of thumb to keep in mind!