Fire and Ice:
Astrophotographers show New Zealand at its most spectacular
Jake and Jo are two astrophotographers who toured New Zealand together during winter shooting photos which appear to be from another world.
Luminous phenomena such as the aurora australis, the Milky Way, and zodiacal light provide the backdrop for some of the most beautiful images you’ve ever seen.
The pictures are even more impressive when you consider that the two are not experienced professionals with a camera. “After taking up photography in early 2015, it didn’t take very long for us to become obsessed with it. We would spend all of our spare time shooting or learning about photography,” Jake explains in an interview with the website DIY Photography. “Eventually, we came across astrophotography and what we were seeing was hard to believe. We wanted to learn everything that we could so we could create our own images.”
To be able to pursue this passion, the two artists were drawn from Australia to New Zealand. Having lived in an area where there was simply too much light pollution to take good pictures of the night sky, the pair decided to relocate to the neighbouring country.
The long wait
A lot of planning is required to perfectly capture the Milky Way. “In New Zealand, the season runs from February to October and its position in the sky is constantly changing,” says Jake. To make sure they are always in the right place, the pair use the app PhotoPills which calculates when the Milky Way can be seen at their chosen location and when the moon emits the least light. “Once you have your date and time, you have to hope that the weather is clear so that you can get the shot you are after.”
In astrophotography there are so many variables that must be taken into account, meaning it can take months to shoot the image of their dreams. “But in the end, it is totally worth it,” adds Jake. “Just enjoy the experience and have fun being outdoors, even if you don’t get anything.”