A 100 degree, tall, wide field of view image of the Split Rock Lighthouse at Aireys Inlet, Victoria. The single photo was taken at 21:49 on 2/8/2014, at low tide from the reef in front of Lands’ End lookout, looking to the south. Eagle Rock can also be seen on the horizon.
The 20-second exposure allows the foreground to be illuminated by the quarter moon, which is just out of the field of view to the right (see ‘Winter Moon’). The surf has swirled and smoothed out over 20 seconds creating an unusual sense of calm for this rugged coastline.
The beautiful lighthouse beams over the water and above it the Milky Way stretches vertically. The brightest stars in the centre of the image are the pointers and they lead below to the Southern Cross (Crux) with the dark region of the coal sack in between. Below Crux the pink of Eta Carinae nebulae can be picked out with the spectacular pendant blue star cluster to its left. In the top right corner the bright orange star of Antares can be seen. This is the heart of the constellation Scorpius and is often incorrectly thought to be the planet Mars. The claws of Scorpius are to the right and its tail extends to the left across the bright part of the Milky Way. The ‘smudge’ on the left edge is our neighbouring galaxy, the Large Magellanic Cloud.
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 oversaturating the Milky Way, which can look unnatural.
A single 20-sec exposure, ISO3200, F2.8.
Canon 6D. Nikon 14-24mm at 14mm. Standard tripod. Shutter release.
Adobe Lightroom 5. Topaz Denoise.