Port­fo­lio re­view

Bran­don Yoshizawa brings a hu­man el­e­ment to as­tropho­tog­ra­phy in his fan­tas­tic night-sky im­ages

NPhoto - - Over To You -

We hear the sto­ries be­hind some truly stunning night sky im­ages, and take an in-depth look at what makes them so good. Pre­pare to be wowed!

An im­pend­ing hon­ey­moon in Aus­tralia and New Zealand in 2009 was the rea­son I fi­nally be­came se­ri­ous about pho­tog­ra­phy. I wanted to make sure I would be re­turn­ing home with mem­o­rable pic­tures. The more I trav­elled, the more my love for cap­tur­ing these great mo­ments grew. This sparked a pas­sion, and soon I was look­ing for new ways to por­tray the beauty of my lo­cal land­scapes.

It wasn’t un­til 2013 that I first tried my hand at as­tropho­tog­ra­phy. This al­lowed me to com­bine my love for land­scapes with my love for the stars; I had al­ways been fas­ci­nated with the night sky and would stargaze ev­ery time that I went camp­ing.

The chal­lenge with this type of pho­tog­ra­phy is that there’s lit­tle or no am­bi­ent light and this makes com­pos­ing and fo­cus­ing more dif­fi­cult. I had gen­eral ideas in my head of what I wanted for these shots, but they never fully ma­te­ri­alised un­til I was able to sur­vey the site and fine-tune the com­po­si­tion.

The hu­man figure plays a dif­fer­ent but mean­ing­ful role in each of the pho­tographs. The per­son stand­ing on the plane shin­ing a light to­wards the sky [1] not only sug­gests the story of a sur­vivor sig­nalling for res­cue af­ter a crash land­ing, but also adds scale, show­ing how big this aban­doned B-52 is. A sec­ondary theme is a ref­er­ence to the Star Wars movies, with the word ‘Force’ on the side of the plane, and the beam from the torch act­ing as a lightsaber [see page 42 for how to mimic this in Pho­to­shop]. The figure in the tent [2] tells a story about stargazing out in the desert. An iPhone was used to back­light the sub­ject. Fi­nally, the figure on the Wall Street Mill tracks

[3] tells the story of time; the past in­di­cated by the sta­tion­ary sub­ject shin­ing a light on the gold mill ru­ins, while look­ing out to­wards the ro­tat­ing stars that rep­re­sent the fu­ture.

I had gen­eral ideas in my head for these shots, but they never ma­te­ri­alised un­til I was able to sur­vey the site and fine-tune the com­po­si­tion

2 Stargazing Nikon D750, Nikon AF-S 14-24mm f/2.8G ED, 15 secs, f/2.8, ISO6400 1 SOS Nikon D750, Nikon AF-S 20mm f/2.8G ED, 15 secs, f/2.8, ISO3200

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