Have you tried landscape astrophotography? Catch the night sky in all its starry glory

The idea here is to capture a celestial object (Sun, Moon, or a comet) with a foreground like mountains or man-made objects such as a monument etc. You can do it using a simple mobile phone or a basic DSLR, mirrorless mounted on a tripod

himalayan peaks over kausani

Red Airglow Over Himalayan Peaks Kausani, Uttarakhand

Airglow is also known as nightglow. It is the faint luminescence  of Earth’s upper atmosphere and it happens because of chemiluminescence. Due to this phenomenon, the night sky is never dark. As they are  faint in nature, they are hard to detect from cities due to light pollution. In the  picture, Red Airglow is present over the beautiful  Himalayan ranges — Nanda Ghunti ( 6,309m), Trishul ( 7,120m), Mrigthuni (6,855m), Nanda Devi ( 7,816m), Nanda Kot (6,861m), Panchachuli, ranging from 6,334m  to 6,904m.  

Technical information: Panorama of 4 pictures stitched and processed in Photoshop CS; Nikon D810A + F2.5, 10 seconds, ISO 6400

Also read: Delhi's fight against Coronavirus pandemic: Dialects of Silence, a photo feature

circumpolar star trail

Circumpolar Star trail, Aru Valley 

A star trail is a unique way of  capturing the night sky. It captures the apparent motion of the stars in the night sky caused by the rotation of the Earth. It's a series of multiple short exposures stacked together in post-production . 

This is the picture of  a Circumpolar Startrail taken on a Full Moon night over Aru Valley. Aru is a picturesque village in the Anantnag District of Jammu and Kashmir, India. It is well-known  for its scenic meadows, lakes and mountains. This photo circumvents one of the many beautiful mountain peaks of Aru. 

Technical information: Nikon D90 and Tamron 10-24mm @ 10mm 

full moon rising over lotus temple penumbral eclipse

Full Moon  rising over Lotus Temple and Penumbral Lunar eclipse, Delhi

A penumbral lunar eclipse takes place when the Moon moves through Earth's Penumbra , the faint outer part of a shadow. This picture is a still composite of full Moon rise over Delhi's Lotus Temple on 8th October, 2014. That day, the total Lunar eclipse was visible from parts of Africa, Europe and Asia, but in India we  could only see the Penumbral Lunar Eclipse. There is a gap of approximately three minutes between each of these shots taken on a tripod. They were stacked together in post-production.

Technical information: Nikon D700, 155mm, ISO 800, f8, x10 pictures

Also read: Bridges of the world: The most underrated architectural marvels of mankind

sunset over red fort

Sunset over Red Fort, Delhi

I was looking for a picture like this over Red Fort for quite a while, but to see such a sunset over the polluted skies of Delhi is very rare. Due to air pollution, the picture becomes difficult to take because one has to stand at least 2-3 km away from the monument. Finally on that  day, I was lucky when the Sun was visible even at almost one degree above the horizon.  

Technical information: Nikon P900, 1600mm, F6.3, Exposure 1/200sec , ISO 200, single-exposure

comet neowise

Getting wise with Comet Neowise, Rajasthan (Bikaner)

C/2020 F3 or Comet Neowise is a long period comet discovered on March 27, 2020 by NASA’s Near-Earth Object Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (NEOWISE) mission. An impromptu solo trip to Bikaner, Rajasthan led to this beautiful picture. I wanted  to beat the monsoon after having failed to capture the comet in Delhi for almost two weeks. After carefully going through meteorological websites and light pollution map, I ended up covering  a total distance of about 1,200 km within a short time to capture the brightest comet to have visited the northern hemisphere in 25 years after Comet Hale-Bopp.

Technical information: Nikon D810A + 50mm + f3.2, ISO 4000,  6 second x 22 shots stacked to increase details of the comet

Also read: The world's unlikeliest friends: A German Shepherd, an owl and a hawk phoenix

buddha purnima moonset

Buddha Purnima Moonset over South Block, Delhi 

The term "Purnima" refers to the full moon in the Sanskrit. The festival of Buddha Purnima is celebrated by  Buddhists of India and other Asian countries.

This beautiful Moonset picture set against the silhouette of Secretariat building on a clear morning  is taken at a high focal length  from Rajpath.

Technical information: Nikon P900, 2000mm

andromeda galaxy rising over hunder valley

Andromeda Galaxy rising over  Hunder village, Ladakh

We were dead tired after a seven-hour drive to Hunder from Leh. But the journey was worth it because we got a chance to star gaze and do astrophotography as the sky was crystal clear. Post dinner, we headed to the famous white sand dunes of the village, 125km from Leh. Thanks to one of best night skies in India and its beautiful landscapes , Ladakh's beauty can leave speechless. In this picture, you can see winter skies rising over the village. Andromeda Galaxy, ie M31, is easily visible on the top along with M45/Pleiades , and California Nebula.

Technical information: Nikon D810A, 20mm, f 1.8 , 8 seconds, ISO 8000

milkyway over dehradun

Milkyway Rising over Dehradun city from George Everest House/Peak, Mussoorie

This picture was taken from George Everest peak in Dehradun after a half-hour hike from the city. The clear panoramic view of the city from here makes it popular with astrophotographers. In the picture, you can see how light pollution ruins visibility of the stars, and affects the visibility of Milkyway from cities. It is noted  that one third of the humanity cannot see Milky way now .This was one of the last pictures I could capture that night  as clouds came in and we had to pack up everything, and rush back to our guest house. 

Technical details: Nikon D810A, Rokinon 14mm, ISO 3200, 15seconds, F4

Also read: The world's most viral pictures: Polar bears frolicking in a fireweed field in Canada’s Hudson Bay

forest pines in kausani

Nightwalker in Himalayas,Kausani 

Kausani in Uttarakhand's Bagheshwar district is popular with astronomers and astrophotographers. This picture is a single long exposure shot taken with a fish eye lens on a cold night. I used a lantern to illuminate the pitch dark landscape. It was switched off during the long exposure of 30 seconds to make sure the picture wasn't overexposed, and stars were visible as well.

Technical information: Nikon D810A, ISO 6400, 30seconds, 16mm, f3.5

milkyway over dehradun

Milkyway over White Sand Dunes, Hunder Village, Hunder (Ladakh)

According to a journal of advance sciences, one third of humanity cannot see the Milky way because of artificial light pollution. This picture shows an arch of Milkyway  setting over the beautiful white sand dunes of  Hunder Village. Look closely and you can Andromeda Galaxy i.e M31, and Pleiades star cluster. This is a 360 x180 degree panorama  of 5 pictures taken with a  circular fish eye/All sky lens  i.e 8mm lens (180degree) and stitched in post production.

Technical information: Nikon D810A ,8mm, 60seconds x 5 shots, ISO 8000

Also read: In love with the Eiffel Tower


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