Today I would like to introduce you to a blog I found and have been keeping an eye on for a while now. I would like to introduce Alien Shores, which, according to his About page, is about, “Searching for Light … here on earth, and in the dusty lanes of the Milky Way where alien shores beckon”. What a great description and as you go through his blog, that is what you find.
There are quite a few photos of the Milky Way, something I really enjoy doing and hope to get back into once daylight savings finishes here. I really enjoyed the country settings he used in his image, which would probably be because he lives in Bathurst, a town in country New South Wales here in Australia. There would be plenty of places to go and photograph the milky way out there.
Lots of misty morning shots, the use of the weather is an important lesson for me. I like how he has got these early morning shots, I’m assuming they are morning judging the fog, and the light, stunning really. I also really like his use of colour in the images. To me they say early morning, and that time of day really brings out that intensity, that brilliant gold.
I asked him how long he had been taking photos for!
I started taking photos of landscapes and buildings during University days in the 70’s when I studied Architecture at UTS … The camera back then was an Olympus OM10. In time the equipment failed, and life took me away from photography until a few years ago.
Then I asked why!
A few years ago nearing retirement, I fulfilled a life long wish to own a serious Telescope for astronomy.
While the eyepiece of a large scope like my Celestron 9.25 reveals a wonderful universe, nebulae and galaxies viewed only with our eyes limits the detail of what can be seen, and so I purchased a digital camera to image objects with long exposures. At the same time, having a quality camera also directed my attention back to sunrise and sunsets in the hills and along the rivers surrounding my home in Bathurst, NSW.
I was looking at some of his images and wondering how he got them, now I know and so do you. Through a telescope. I would love to the world around our planet through a telescope and one day I hope I can. I am so glad he was able to fulfill his life long wish.
I asked about inspiration.
There is a wonderful quote from Robert Frank, the iconic American photographer …
“When people look at my pictures I want them to feel the way they do when they want to read a line of a poem twice.”
That has been enough inspiration for me to always strive for something beyond just recording “being” in a place … To capture the unique atmosphere or mood of the landscape at the precise moment when it wakes to the pale dawn bathed in winter fog, or the Milky Way as it arches across the sky into the dusk while conveying that emotional feeling to the viewer is the challenge that never ceases. I could never tire of chasing the night sky at both ends of the day. Astrophotography – even with very basic technique and equipment allows us to see into the past. I enjoy creating and then revealing those images to people.
It is easy to be inspired by legend photographers and I could fill bookcases with them. My inspiration to return to landscape photography in particular though comes from my son Craig, whose passion for the art and attention to achieving perfection is outstanding. He is always busy working and raising a family but finds time to drive well before dawn to remote and spectacular places to capture moments in nature just when they need to be captured.
Here is a storm happening before our eyes, and from what he just said, that inspiration to actually go out and get it, is something I am not good at, I wish I was, but realistically speaking, I tend to want to stay home too much. I find it incredibly inspiring to see how others go out and capture these moments of our world.
My fourth, or is it fifth question, was if there was anything special about the way he worked.
My portfolio of work as anyone can see is almost devoid of people, certainly portraits. I’ll leave those and street photography to others. In a perfect life I would be out of the house well before dawn every day either imaging the Milky Way or some deep sky object through the telescope, or waiting on a lonely mountain for the first rays of the sun. I prefer morning to night for Astrophotography as the sky is cleaner and devoid of the ground and structure heat that sometimes ruins an otherwise great shot of the night sky. And I’m a morning person anyway.
My focus when shooting anything is to wait for light to weave its magic in some special way … And that often fails to happen and the moment passes away. When planets align and you happen to capture the moment the effort always feels worthwhile.
I always shoot RAW so there is a fair amount of processing to do with Astrophotography – especially the stacking of multiple frames (maybe around 60) … And the Lightroom work to develop the final image.
In more of his recent work I’m noticing a layering effect in his images. I don’t know if they are double exposures, or he is doing this in post processing, but you can definitely see images on images. They can give quite an interesting effect. It is like layering of memories, everything getting jumbled together. It is nice to see his experimentation and processes.
As always the final question was about gear.
- Canon 7D
- Canon 24-105L
- Canon 70-200L
- Rokinon 14mm Ultra-wide Prime
- Various Grad and polarising Filters
- Celestron CPC 9.25 Alt/Az Telescope
- Processing with Lightroom and Gimp
I would like to say thank you to Alien Shores for allowing me to give you a glimpse into their world and beyond. I hope you will go and take a look at the blog Alien Shores and say hello. I have a gallery now of some of the images that I especially liked from the blog. You will also notice many images from other parts of our planet, and if you want to see more, there are plenty more on his blog.