Swipe left to see the 4-part panorama of a peaceful day in Montmartre, Paris. Classic theater posters, the works of Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, decorate a shop’s front window.
While I’m considered a night sky photography expert, a large part of my photo collection are daytime images which I usually don’t post them here. #paris#montmartre#france#panorama@natgeo@natgeocreative@natgeotravel
A great part of photography is the Art of Seeing and that only works when you know the abilities and field of view of your lens, when looking for the composition that excites you or illustrates the story you have in mind.
I travel frequently for my work, sometimes to very remote locations, but there are also a lot to explore and photograph in your own neighborhood. The last 3 posts are such examples, in a walking distance from my place. This shot is a single-exposure frame from the October full moon imaging night. #fullmoon#astrophotography#newengland#boston#massachusetts@natgeocreative@natgeo@natgeotravel@twanight
It’s incredible how much our knowledge has changed in the past one century. Until early 20th century the Milky Way was the only known galaxy! Many galaxies were observed but identified as objects inside the Milky Way. Today we know the universe has over a trillion galaxies, each holding many billions of stars. Here in a starry night of La Palma, Canary Islands, I was inside the 4-meter William Herschel Telescope as it was collecting starlight for astronomers in the control room. Note the startrails on the mirror, resulted from magnified star images (therefore faster moving) produced by the giant mirror.
Learn more about my annual La Palma workshop: babaktafreshi.com/lapalma #longexposure#nightphotography#observatory#telescope#milkyway#astrophotography#astronomy#cosmology@natgeocreative@natgeo@natgeotravel@twanight
Swipe left to see this 2-panel image. The aurora display was so extended across the sky that even my 14mm lens was not wide enough to capture the entire view. Panorama was the only way to show the real beauty of this scene above waterfalls streaming out of a lava field into Hvita river in Iceland. The dusk was still visible when the northern lights emerged. Iceland has much more massive waterfalls but this one is one of my favorites because of its dark unspoiled open sky, one of my locations in the March 2018 Aurora PhotoTour:
babaktafreshi.com/iceland (or click the profile link)
Aurora is all about high energy particles from the sun (solar wind) crashing into Earth atmosphere. On the ground we are shielded from this intense radiation and peacefully enjoy the show. The red light is created by glowing oxygen more than 120 miles (200 km) above our planet’s surface, while the green originates much lower―only about 60 miles (100 km) up. The purple originates with nitrogen.
Swipe left to see this 2-panel panorama. A calm peaceful dusk on the western border of Iran. Last night was different when a major earthquake hit an area not too far from this place, taking hundreds of lives in Kermanshah province where I’ve visited a number of times for photography when I was living in Iran; an area filled with archeological sites and rich culture, but poor infrastructure against natural hazards. Today post is a tribute to thousands of families who were affected.
The photo shows Uraman, a mountainous area of unique villages in Kurdistan of Iran. In the sky Venus is the first “star” showing up in twilight. @natgeocreative@natgeo@natgeotravel@twanight#earthquake#iran#kurdistan#uraman
Nebula Rising. A single exposure telephoto image of the Great Orion Nebula (right) rising over a mountain top. I’m revealing the techniques and processing behind these photos in the new book “Notes From the Stars”, a joint self-published project with 9 other nightscape photographers. You can support the project by ordering copies now and backing us on Kickstarter: kck.st/2y3Evs5
“Adventures in Nightscape Photography”, backstories on some of my iconic images and tips on astrophotography. Join me on Sunday Nov 12 at 17:00UT (12:00 ET / 9:00 PT) for this FacebookLive interview by Astronomers Without Borders: fb.com/astronomerswithoutborders
The story of astrophotography began with one of these moon images in the 19th century, soon after the birth of practical photography (1839). Due to very low sensitivity of the metal sheets the exposure for a super bright moon through a telescope was several minutes! Today we can easily do it at 1/1000th of a second.
Here I was in Harvard College Observatory (near Boston) photographing one of the earliest remained astrophotographs, a daguerreotype plate that pictured moon in 1852. There are over 500,000 glass photographic plates in the Harvard collection from both northern and southern hemisphere sky, a unique resource which is being digitalized. This post is a tribute to Alison Doane (holding the frame here), the Curator of Harvard Astronomical Photographs Collection, who passed away last week at the age of 59. Not a scientist, but her dedication to science, preserved this heritage for next generations. Asteroid 7517 Alisondoane named in appreciation of her work. @natgeo@natgeocreative@natgeotravel@harvard#astrophotography#harvard#boston#daguerreotype
A single exposure image of majestic Milky Way view, as constellation Scorpius with bright orange star Antares, the Scorpion’s heart, rises above the Valley of the Moon, in the Atacama Desert, Chile. Planet Saturn is on the top left.
As some of you know I prefer single exposure photos. The main reason is the value of moment and historic credibility in a single raw file. But I also like to challenge myself with old-school on-the-field techniques which I have done with film too, a joy that I can’t find in photoshop composites and exposure blends which is currently very common in night photography. That’s just my personal taste and respect those composite photos as long as they are not fake! That means a mix of photos taken at different places, or in day and night, or with different lenses, without notifying the viewer. For example double exposing the moon in somewhere it does not exist.
The secret behind my bright clear views at night in single exposure photography are using: fast lens, excellent night sky conditions, star tracker at 1/2 speed, fine processing on raw files, and a full-frame camera with low noise performance. While I’m not able to answer your technical questions here I hope this helps. Find more on my online webinars: babaktafreshi.com/workshop (the link under my bio) @natgeo@natgeocreative@natgeotravel@twanight#milkyway#nightscape#astrophotography#nightsky#nightphotography#longexposure#stargazing#sanpedrodeatacama#atacama#chile
Still clearly remember this fantastic night at the border of Brazil and Argentina in 2010. The arc of the southern Milky Way shines brightly on this starry night. In the foreground is the rainforest near the spectacular Iguaçu Falls and national park, a World Heritage Site that includes 275 falls spreading across 3 km of Iguacu river and is widely considered as one of the new Seven Wonders of the world. Looking skyward along the Milky Way’s arc from the left are Alpha and Beta Centauri, the Coalsack dark nebula and the Southern Cross, the Carina Nebula, and Sirius, brightest star in planet Earth’s night sky which is at the far right. Brilliant Canopus (center), second brightest star in the night, and our neighboring galaxy the Large Magellanic Cloud, are also included in the scene. Much closer to home, lights near the center along the horizon are from Argentina’s Iguazu Falls Airport.
I was located on the northern side in Brazil. There were challenges to make @twanight (The World at Night) photos here, besides the long travel. The area is very wet at this high water season and working at night with long exposures close to the falls damages the camera easily, and it’s often foggy and cloudy. Staying in front of the roaring giant falls at night with Southern Milky Way and the Magellanic Clouds in front me and dense rainforest in my back was an experience to remember. After three night of overcast sky, the clear sky came but didn’t last more than few hours but it was enough for a successful night adventure in this paradise.
One of the most pleasant walks in Boston area is the Harvard Yard in Cambridge. Here in a clear day of late October I was enjoying the red maple trees surrounded by young minds and old walls of Harvard. It is the oldest institution of higher education in the US, established in 1636. The university has alumni from about 200 countries including 47 Nobel Laureates, 32 heads of state, and 48 Pulitzer Prize winners. @natgeocreative@harvard#massachusetts#newengland#harvard#fall#HarvardInAutumn
Photo by @babaktafreshi
The World at Night photography
This was a stunning show of aurora borealis above West Iceland in March 2015. With my wife @shadihamedi, also a night sky lover, we chased clear sky to Kirkjufell area to catch the strongest aurora storm in a decade. In the view Venus shines brightly on the horizon, constellation Orion is on the left and Pleiades is in the center.
I visit Iceland every year for an aurora photography workshop and still there are plenty to explore in this small (1% of the US area) but very rich country. Join my next Aurora Photo Tour to Iceland in March 2018: babaktafreshi.com/iceland
(or click my bio link) @natgeocreative@twanight#auroraborealis#northernlights#iceland#astrophotography#nightphotography#longexposure
The morning twilight emerges as stars and the crescent moon rise above the tomb of Cyrus the Great in this time-exposure image. The 2500-year old World Heritage Site in southern Iran means beyond an ancient monument to many Iranians who celebrate today October 29th (7th of Aban in Persian calendar) as Cyrus Day. This unofficial holiday which brings thousands of people to the ancient site of Pasargadae is sensitive to the Islamic authorities in Iran who are concerned of growing interest in pre-Islamic values and traditions.
October 29th commemorates the entrance of Cyrus into Babylon. He founded the Persian Empire known as Achaemenid, which later became the largest empire in human history. Cyrus is recognized for his achievements in politics, leadership, and freedom of religion which influenced both Eastern and Western civilizations. I often wonder how many of us will be remembered in 2500 years, for good. @twanight@natgeocreative#fars#cyrusthegreat#pasargadae#iran#worldheritagesite#startrails#astrophotography#longexposure
Fall has been always my favorite season, the fresh air, change of colors, and beautiful night sky. We even named our baby boy after this season: Aban, the middle month of autumn (like November) in the Persian calendar.
Here fall colors appear in the high altitude Dohezar Forest with the backdrop of Alborz Mountains in northern Iran, not far from the Caspian Sea. A scanned negative from 2001. @natgeocreative@natgeo@natgeotravel#autumn#fallcolors#aban#mazandaran#dohezarforest#iran
To me there is no color as beautiful as the maple leaves in the peak of fall foliage. Swipe left for this 2-panel view from October 2015 when the full moon was rising above the Vale or the Lyman Estate, a National Historic Landmark near Boston, one of the finest examples of a country estate in the 18-19th century US.
For the followers interested in photography aspects and might ask: This is a single exposure image. As a personal preference I do not practice double-exposure, blending or HDR in my photography. Its all about timing and the camera’s dynamic range to allow some shadow-highlight recovery in the edit. When the moon is on the right angle on the right time there is enough light from the dusk on the opposite horizon to illuminate the foreground, while the moon is not high enough to get over-exposed. @natgeocreative@natgeo@twanight#boston#walthamma#fullmoon#fallcolors#autumnleaves#maple#panorama