Speaking of Stars

Some of the world’s most astonishing night sky views
are found in very remote areas, and are perhaps quite
difficult to reach.
When thinking about the skies, my all-time favourite
phenomena are definitely the northern lights, which I was
very lucky to admire on various occasions, while I was
living in Iceland. I was similarly impressed a few months
after, while at a starlight reserve on the Canary Islands.
Here it is not possible to admire this natural spectacle,
but it is still regarded as one of the world’s top locations
for star-gazing, while relaxing on the soft coral sand
dunes with the sounds of the ocean in the background.
However, it was only last December, while visiting the Isle
of Wight that I succeeded in learning further about this
subject. While on this family visit, I met with Kurt who
is dedicated to astrophotography, and there we spent
evenings speaking about stars!

Speaking of Stars
Kurt Calleja, who is currently living in the United
Kingdom, spoke to me about his consuming interest
in this field of photography, the techniques he utilises
to achieve the best imagery, and the natural elements
which he sometimes has to face.

“Living on the Isle of Wight, a small Island on the South
Coast of the United Kingdom, I feel lucky enough to have
breath-taking views on my doorstep. Apart from being
able to capture images of beautiful landscapes and
coastlines, I also enjoy photographing the night sky.
Being in a part of the country where I can escape
the light pollution that cities cast into the skies, and
having an interest in space, I was always drawn to long
exposure photography. This is the technique whereby
the camera’s shutter is kept open for as long as possible
to absorb as much light as it can.

Speaking of Stars

The data is stored as a RAW file, which can be opened and
processed in computer software to correct exposure, white
balance, shadows, highlights and saturation. It can also be
used to stack multiple exposures, to get more detail in the
sky, or to expose the foreground separately.
The goal is to reproduce the scene as accurately as possible
using the light that is available. My inspiration comes from
the feeling of seeing the Milky Way core next to a roaring
ocean, in the middle of the night, and just generally being
outside and spotting interesting compositions.

Speaking of Stars
A lot of the world does not get to see these sights, with over
a third of humanity not being able to see the Milky Way as
well as only a fraction of the stars that can be viewed from
dark sky locations. The hope that someone might see these
images and be inspired to experience it for themselves is
another reason I enjoy capturing these images.”
Just like Impressionist Artists, who tried to capture
different moods of specific scenes in different times of
the day, Kurt is very interested in achieving different shots
of the Milky Way at different times. He explained that in
reality this is an intriguing line of light in the centre of our
galaxy. It is the galaxy that contains our solar system. The
descriptive word used “Milky” is a result of its appearance
from the earth – a sash of light as seen in the night sky,
formed by stars that cannot be individually distinguished by
the naked eye.

Speaking of Stars
Watching a clear sky full of stars, getting glimpses of the
Milky Way rising over the horizon, or hunting for the Aurora
Borealis are very exhilarating and fascinating experiences.
Especially when considering that most of us have been
raised and live in urban areas, surrounded by ever-rising
buildings, where we can never see clearly such marvels
and cannot imagine the hindrances and damages that light
pollution can cause.
It does not take much to experience such a magical night!
Discover the best spots, get out of the city and venture into
the darkness. It may reward you with the most celestial
event you could ever imagine!


© 2018 – VIDA Magazine