Tuesday, June 23, 2009
The Art Of Astrophotography
Capturing the heavens can be a rewarding and altogether unique form of outdoor photography
One of the most powerful nature photographs ever made, a photo of the earth rise over the moon taken in December 1968 by Apollo 8 astronaut William Anders on the first manned mission to orbit the moon, inspired my father, photographer Galen Rowell. My dad called the famous image “the most influential environmental photograph ever taken.”
My father met Anders in the 1970s and had him sign a print of his earthrise photo for me when I was 10 years old. In his book Mountain Light, my father discusses several images he made over the years, including moonrises, moonlit scenes and star trails over mountain landscapes. From 1990 to 2001, I photographed many celestial subjects with my father, including the aurora borealis in the Arctic and the Milky Way in the White Mountains above his home in Bishop, Calif., where he established his gallery and offices, Mountain Light Photography.
In 2003, a year after my father and my stepmother Barbara died in a plane crash, I moved to Bishop. I’ve had the opportunity to attend a few of Mountain Light Photography’s workshops, led by talented photographers including Justin Black and Frans Lanting. My dad considered Bishop and the surrounding Eastern Sierra to be one of the most beautiful places in the world. The region also is home to one of the darkest night areas in the lower 48 states with relatively low light pollution that results in exceptional astronomical viewing.
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