Britain’s Insight Investment Astronomy Photographer of the Year competition has released the shortlist for their 2018 competition. The pictures include stunning depictions of the cosmos glowing from above the Earth. Twinkling above a desert or from the vantage point of an icy cave, clusters of stars juxtaposed against the geography of Earth, or even a single human, gives some perspective on the enormity of the universe.
Here are a selection of the top entries, with descriptions provided by the competition.The winner will be named in October.
“This panoramic image, composed out of eight photos, depicts the Milky Way emerging over the rocky Dolomites in Tre Cime on the left and on the right the lights from a house illuminating the beautiful terrain. The photographer noted that the image represents sharing [an] unforgettable moment with the ones you love.”
“Exploring the remarkable underbelly of the Breiðamerkurjökull glacial tongue in Iceland. With this image the photographer wanted to pay tribute to the serenity and wonder he felt while he spent some time in this peaceful and magnificent place.”
“A glorious Milky Way looms over a thunderstorm that lights up the Florida sky. The photographer wanted to show the great contrast between stable (Milky Way) and moving (thunderstorm) objects in the sky.”
“The photographer captured the splendor of our galaxy in Badlands National Park, in South Dakota and is a panoramic view of a 6-shot composite, three for the sky and three for the foreground, all of which were taken successively using the same gear and equivalent exposure settings, from the same location, within a short period.”
“The Milky Way stretches across the night sky between four columns in the ancient Atashkooh Fire Temple near Mahllat city in Iran. The camera was placed on the ground in the centre of the four columns, and with no use of any other equipment, the photographer managed to capture our magnificent galaxy using just one image.”
“On a family trip to Cornwall after visiting Kynance Cove, on the Lizard Peninsula, the beautiful landscape seemed to be the ideal place for the photographer to capture the glimmering stars and the striking colours of the Milky Way illuminating the beautiful rocky coastline. This is a composition of two separate exposures, one for the sky and one for the foreground blended together post-processing to achieve the desired result, producing a more even exposure.”
“Battling the light pollution in Malibu, California the photographer brilliantly framed our galaxy, the Milky Way, inside a sea cave, 25 miles away from the heart of downtown Los Angeles. In order to achieve this outstanding shot, planning it ahead and waiting for the perfect conditions of low tide and clear skies was very important. The image required two exposures; one to capture the details of the dark cave and one for the Milky Way. Both exposures were taken back to back without moving the camera or changing the composition.”
“The Milky Way rises over some of the oldest trees on Earth in the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest, set within the Inyo National Forest along the White Mountains in California. Growing at altitudes of over 10,000 feet, these trees can live for over 4,000 years. The high elevation also results in thin air and incredibly dark skies on display. This photograph was taken in between rolling thunderstorms, which were passing through the Eastern Sierras, leaving time for only a few exposures.”
“The magnificent Milky Way stretches across the night sky reflecting on the Cable Bay near Nelson, New Zealand. The photographer had to take the picture before the light washed out the sky. Forty-two individual images were stitched in to a large multi-row panorama to create this image.”
“The Milky Way rises above an isolated lighthouse in Tasmania. The photographer planned his position to shoot the perfect composition positioning the Milky Way in conjunction with the lighthouse and observing how to best light the tower for artistic effect. This image is part of a time-lapse sequence, allowing the photographer some time to climb the tower into the lantern room of the lighthouse and reflect on the hard and lonely, yet incredible, life the former lighthouse keepers would have lived.”