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Submitted on
August 30, 2011
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1.2 MB


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Church of the Good Sheperd by JacquelineBarkla Church of the Good Sheperd by JacquelineBarkla

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Church of the Good Sheperd under the southern stars (more specifically, under the the Milky Way!).
First attempt at capturing stars - Lake Tekapo, South Island New Zealand.

Church is lit up by just a hand torch. Set the camera for the exposure and made my friend pretty much paint the church in light. He had fun contributing to my photography in other ways then being in front of the camera for once :D

A stunning place Lake Tekapo, home of Mt. John observatory (a working observatory). Stars are as real as you see in the image! amazing night skies, the best you will see! the air quality is very good and most nights are crystal clear without cloud ;)

We visited this church twice, the first night was lovely, the second night (which produced this image) was..a little different..There are still parts of this image which I wanted to improve but didn't want to hang around this church for very long at all! encounted some strange things, odd noises and such. Thought we saw someone, shined the light, no one there sorta thing. Didn't help that the wind was pretty bad and there was no one around (unlike the night before in which it was dead silent with a million people around..getting in my photos and ruining them without realising!). Got to the point it was that dark my camera didn't want to focus any more..took that as a hint! and left :P

Saw an army tank roll on down the street on the way you do :confused: ..weird night.

Edit:Thank you for all your comments! and for those of you curious as to how a sky like this is possible in a township like Lake Tekapo well the answer is that Lake Tekapo is very small and because of the active observatory watching over it there are very few street lights. The ones they do have utilize a special kind of light globe that only emit an orange light (apparently that makes a difference) at a controlled level and are forced down to the ground so there is no light escaping to the sky where it can disrupt the work from the observatory ;)

People asking for tips: Seeing as this is my first attept I can only really relay the tips astrophotographer Fraser Gunn gave me (if you go to mt.John you will meet him, I picked his brains all night! :plotting:).

- No light pollution is top of the list. Obviously a cloudless night is best, no moon too! (the night will be much darker and therefore many stars that are shy can come out and be seen ;))
- Again, include something else in you image besides the lovely sky! adds so much more to the image and gives comparaison. Lighting it up will make for a much more 'balanced' image too.
- Winter is best to capture the Milky Way, it is more 'defined' and bright.
- Longer exposures are better (2-5mins) but unless you want a star trail (2 hrs is his recommend time frame) you will need sort of like a tracking tripod which follows the stars movement. Camera settings will vary. Obviously a wide aperture is best to soak up all that available light and high iso. wide angle to capture far and wide and shutter well, your choice, experiment! I managed a 1min exposure without obvious star moment so it really depends!
^ that's all I can remember for now.

Everyone deserves to see skies like this, save energy, turn your lights off people! :D

30s exposure|3200 iso|f/2.8 ...don't quote me on that I have to check to confirm! :paranoid:

comments and :+fav: welcomed and appreciated


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This is a magnificent image - my hat off to you making such an image at first try.
There is an excellent balance between the night sky and the ground elements - lighting the house with a flash light shows that it is the result of thought and planning, and not luck: you made an excellent image, not just captured it! I never saw sky like that, even though I live in rural area - I guess the air just isn't clean enough here. I also applaud the composition - having just enough substance at the bottom, but relinquishing the urge to use the "rule" of thirds - I think the composition is perfect too.
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dirtboy45 Featured By Owner Jan 3, 2014  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
I love this picture.  It is very clear and thoughtful.  It is somewhere I could go to live in peace.
JacquelineBarkla Featured By Owner Jan 3, 2014  Professional General Artist
Thank you! and I must agree with you :aww:
Dreaming-Thoughts Featured By Owner Nov 7, 2013
It's a joke that this is visible with the naked eye,... right? I have been in dark places before, never seen anything even close to this image. It is absolutely stunning.
JacquelineBarkla Featured By Owner Nov 8, 2013  Professional General Artist
nope! looks exactly like this! (maybe a fraction dimmer) but if you actually look properly above you this is what you will see :D
Dreaming-Thoughts Featured By Owner Nov 8, 2013
Good grief... I need to find a desert, because I have looked, it's just never been like this. :)
VicEberly Featured By Owner Oct 30, 2013
Featured: :sun:
reverend23 Featured By Owner Jul 25, 2013
I want to make a comment, but I have no idea what to say. Beautiful, just beautiful.
JacquelineBarkla Featured By Owner Jul 26, 2013  Professional General Artist
wow thank you so much! :tighthug:
carlywilliamson Featured By Owner Apr 3, 2013   Photographer
I love it! Glad you had some nice clear skies for this shot! AAAND you met Fraser Gunn, always wanted to have a chat with him - his aurora shots are wicked! Haha the New Zealand Army has a large training range near Tekapo hence the tank rollin' by :)
JacquelineBarkla Featured By Owner Apr 10, 2013  Professional General Artist
Thank you so much! :aww: very lucky!! oh you know of him? very very lovely person and very helpful and willing to share his knowledge! would love to go back! oh well that explains everything!! haha thank you :D
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