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