Initially, these delightful swirls of color may strike you as computer generated graphics or maybe even some kind of digital camera glitch, but they are not. These incredible images resulted from tons of patience and meticulous night sky shooting by photographer Lincoln Harrison.
These photos of the Australian night sky were shot over periods of as long as 15 hours. “It was a grueling night with a total shooting time of 15 hours in freezing conditions, sunset to sunrise,” according to Harrison. Getting these amazing images would entail spending entire nights outdoors, enduring cold temperatures of the Australian winter near Bendigo overlooking the picturesque Lake Eppalock. Using a long exposure lens, the trails are produced as the Earth rotates, creating the illusion of the stars darting through the sky in patterns.
A star trail is a photograph created with long exposure times to capture the imperceptible movement of stars in the evening sky. A star trail image reveals individual stars as streaks across a photograph. The longer the exposure, the longer the streaks. The minimum exposure time for a star trail is 15 minutes, but can take several hours, as experienced by Harrison. Star trail photography has been used by professional astronomers to assess the quality of observing points for major telescopes.
The 36-year-old Harrison purchased his first camera last year with the intention of peddling some clothes on eBay. Obviously his camera has taken on other pursuits. ‘I bought my first camera in October 2010, a Nikon D3100. I wanted something decent for general picture taking and for taking pictures of stuff I wanted to sell on eBay items. I wasn’t planning on getting into photography as a hobby but a week later I had about eight lenses and all the other goodies. I’ve been shooting at least two or three times a week ever since, mainly landscapes, star trails when the conditions are just right,’ he said of his unlikely new pastime.
Although a relative newcomer, he already has some preferences when it comes to star trails, saying “My favourite shot is the star trail with the purple and yellow background that I’ve called Dawn Fire. I even left my torch in my other camera bag, so I had to climb down a steep rocky cliff in the dark to get this picture. But it was worth it. It’s a personal favourite.” It is difficult to believe that such gorgeously enchanting photography is by a man who bought his first camera not too long ago, but the images speak for themselves.
See the amazing star trails of Harrison here.