Locums for a Small World Blog

Spectacular swirls in the Australian nighttime sky

Posted by Saralynn White


We love photography, especially the kind that showcases the amazing beauty of the Australian landscape.
If you’re an observer of the craft, there’s something about seeing how others manage to capture the grandeur of Mother Nature. If you’re a shooter, there’s something about scoping out the best vantage point, watching how the light changes over a scene, and waiting for the perfect moment. For Australian photographer, Lincoln Harrison, it’s also about capturing what the human eye can’t see. Like star trails.

Harrison (who hails from Bendigo, in the Australian state of Victoria) spends up to 15 hours creating these jaw-dropping images of the nighttime sky. Shooting with a Nikon D7000 and a D3100 - plus a wide assortment of lenses - Harrison captures hundreds of exposures of stars, as well as the foreground. He then combines the images into amazing photographs showing the sky dominated by colorful star trails.

People are often surprised by the surreal colors; they think the photos are either fake or manipulated (though compositing to create gorgeous images is still art). What most of us forget is that the human eye doesn't discern between the chemical compounds that make up light. In fact, humans view a very narrow spectrum. Cameras, on the other hand, can pick up light wavelengths composed of chemical compounds (like helium and hydrogen) and these chemicals change the "color" of light we can't easily see.

Star trail photos are a challenge because you don't know exactly what the photograph will look like until after you've taken it. In order to take star trail shots you need four essential things: A DSLR with a BULB mode, a tripod, a rubber band and eraser. There are other methods to taking star trails, too (which require more tools) but if you have those four things than you can get away with taking a fine photo. There's a detailed tutorial on Let's Go Streaking. One tip worth mentioning: To get the circular star streak effect, point your camera north. The trails are created as the Earth rotates, giving the impression of the stars moving across the sky.

Ironically, Harrison first purchased his Nikon D3100 so he could take pictures of clothes to sell on eBay! He wasn't planning on getting into photography as a hobby, but a week later he had about eight lenses and all the other goodies. He’s been shooting at least two or three times a week ever since, mainly landscapes and star trails when the conditions are ‘just right.’

For other landscape photography tips, check out these from National Geographic.


Topics: Lincoln Harrison, Bendigo AU, Victoria NSW, Star trails, Landscape photography