Beam traps Milky Way

Last updated 13:00 13/06/2013
Milky Way
ANDREW MACDONALD
TRIPPING THE LIGHT: Andrew MacDonald catches the Milky Way in the beam of a bicycle light.

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Click to view a larger version of Andrew MacDonald's photo Kiwiplaces on Facebook

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Nelson photographer, stargazer and lover of the outdoors Andrew MacDonald captured this otherworldly image of the Boulder Bank and the Milky Way.

The lights at the bottom of Mr MacDonald's one-minute exposure, captured at 10.50pm on Tuesday, are Port Nelson and the marina. The blue beam that draws your eye up to the galaxy was produced by a mountain bike light.

Mr MacDonald said he was not a fan of fake photos, and only used photo editing software to touch up the sharpness and add a watermark.

Using a tripod, he ensured the sky and cityscape were in focus before spending "quite a while" figuring out where to point the torch. As with most night shoots, there was a long roll of discarded shots, he said.

Mr MacDonald said the photo was his best night sky image but he didn't actually rate it that highly - maybe because he knew how long he had to stand in the cold to capture it.

He used a one-minute exposure, an 11mm Tokina lens, ISO 1000, f2.8 and "a sore arm from holding the torch up".

Mr MacDonald said he strived to publish a "daily shot of amazing New Zealand" every day on his Facebook page, Kiwiplaces.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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