A 100 degree wide field of view image of the iconic Bells Beach, Victoria. The single photo was taken at 00:34 on 31/8/2014.
The 30-second exposure allowed the foreground to be illuminated and I timed the shot to capture a car light cresting the hill. This gives the interesting illumination of the ridgeline and down the road, which draws the observer’s eye.
The brightest portion of the Milky Way extends across the sky. The colours and dark lanes are truly amazing and it’s a pity we can’t see them with our own eyes. The brightest two stars just to the left of the middle of the image are the pointers, which lead to the Southern Cross (Crux). Between these, the dark region of the Coal Sack can be seen. Just above and to the left of the light on the ridge is the bright orange star of Antares. This is the heart of the constellation Scorpius and is often incorrectly thought to be the planet Mars. The claws of Scorpius are the three stars below Antares and its tail extends vertically across the bright part of the Milky Way.
A sea fog was forming to the left of the image and I had thought that the images from this night would be unusable. The result however was quite interesting and different to my other images. The stars of the Southern Cross and the pointers had become quite bloated from the effect of the sea fog, but it also had the effect of diffracting the light so that the stars true colours were more obvious. The difference in the colours of stars is quite interesting and is one of the ways astronomers use to calculate their size and type, with blue stars being the hottest.
I always aim to balance the exposure and gentle processing to try to maintain the relative brightness of stars and their natural colours rather than over saturating the Milky Way, which can look unnatural.
A single 30-sec exposure, ISO3200, F2.8.
Canon 6D. Nikon 14-24mm at 14mm. Standard tripod. Shutter release.
Adobe Lightroom 5. Topaz Denoise.