Capture the Atlas, is a travel and photography site, that gives photographers the chance to explore the world through their camera. Each year, this site run by photographer Dan Zafra pays homage to our galaxy by selecting some of the best images submitted by more than 20k photographers.
This year’s collection served some breath-taking images of our galaxy captured from photographers worldwide. From the American deserts, national park of Indonesia, to the Australian Outback. It is amazing to see a sight like that, and what we like most on these pictures is the way how each photographer personalizes their experiences through a setting, or a slight touch on the photography.
I can’t even imagine the sublime feeling of seeing that incredible landcape with my own eyes, but I enjoy as much these immortalized moments by photographers worldwide.
Below is an amazing collection that was featured in Capture the Atlas. Scroll down and I hope you will enjoy it as much as I did.
“Cadini di Misurina” by Stefano Pellegrini. Cadini di Misurina, Dolomites, Italy. “This was from a great Milky Way trip in the Italian Dolomites, although there were some challenges because of the weather. First of all, I took this picture in May when the snow had almost melted, so I had to make the ascent to “Auronzo” on foot instead of by snowmobile. Also, the path was hard because I had to walk it in the middle of a heavy snowstorm. Fortunately, once I was at the top, the sky completely opened, a good sign for the night shooting. After a brief rest in the winter shelter, I started the hike to this spectacular location at midnight. Once I was at the spot, the compositional possibilities were very limited. This place, which is very popular during the summer, was completely different covered in snow. The whole ridge was covered in a 3-meter coat of puffy snow that made it very dangerous to get too close to the edge. I placed the camera as close as possible to the rim to capture the mountain range, and then I moved all the way up to the right to complete the shoot with myself.” 2.
“Navajo nights” by Christine Kenyon. Bisti Badlands, New Mexico, USA. “The mountainous West is awash in beauty, culture, history, and tradition, and sites like this, in the Bisti Badlands, are treasures to behold and cherish. Arriving before sunset, I encountered several other photographers occupying the position best known as the classic shot of this place. In no way ruffled, I scouted the area, as I normally do, looking intently for compelling compositions. When I saw this scene and verified with the PhotoPills app that the Milky Way core would perfectly align with the rock feature, I was hooked. With the silhouette of my Navajo guide nearby, I shot the foreground as blue hour washed over this ancient land, then watched with joy as the stars coursed through the heavens above. When the Milky Way rose into prominence and settled where I had hoped, I exposed for the sky to complete this blend. Always remember that. while these are amazing natural wonders, these sites hold far greater significance for the Navajo people. Let us all protect and cherish these lands for generations to come. If I could leave you with just one piece of advice, it would be: always scout for your own compositions. Be a photographer, not a photocopier.” 3.
“The Forgotten side of Kangaroo Island” by Blntpencil. Baudin Beach, Kangaroo Island, Australia. “This image was captured at Baudin Beach on Kangaroo Island. This part of the island was luckily not affected by the devastating bushfires in 2020. It is a capture of the rising Galactic Center floating above the ocean and represents the way of life on the island ‘where people live at one with nature.’” 4.
“Riaño” by Pablo Ruiz. Riaño, Spain. “I captured this image last winter in the Riaño Mountain Reservoir in Spain. The biggest difficulty that night was mainly the cold; it was over -10 degrees. The moisture in the reservoir was freezing the lens and it was difficult to shoot for a long period of time. I planned the photograph using PhotoPills and, when the weather forecast was promising, I decided to try for it. The composition of the winter Milky Way over the mountains and the reservoir created magical scenery.” 5.
“Mt. Taranaki Milky Way” by Larryn Rae. Fanthams Peak, Mt. Taranaki, New Zealand. “This is one of the most challenging shots I have ever captured, as it required climbing for 4 hours in 70km/h winds to reach the ice summit of Fanthams Peak – a volcano on the side of Mt Taranaki. At an elevation of 2000 m and -15ºC outside with gusty wind blasts, I had to choose settings that would get me the capture rather than what I may have considered more ideal settings. I am so stoked to have captured what I did under perfectly clear skies, as it was both a true test of both mountaineering and endurance carrying all my gear to this location, but one I will look back on with pride and success.” 6.
“Paradise” by Marcin Zajac. Bur Sur, California, USA. “If I had to choose my favorite place on earth, this might be it. Located on the Pacific Coast near Big Sur, it really has everything: a beautiful cove filled with emerald waters, an 80-foot waterfall that falls directly onto the beach, a palm tree that makes you feel like you’re on a tropical island, and a perfectly dark sky that shines bright with stars at night.” 7.
“Chamber of light” by Spencer Welling. Utah, USA. “The deserts of the Southwest are abound with places to capture the night sky. With all that the Southwest has to offer, it’s easy to overlook some of the more obscure hidden gems hovering under the radar. This is one such location, which is situated below a remote set of cliffs in Grand Staircase-Escalante. Due to its remoteness, this natural stone chamber provides some of the clearest, most pristine views of the Milky Way framed by the copper-colored opening of the cavern.” 8.
“Dragon’s Lair” by Daniel Thomas Gum. Mungo, NSW, Australia. “This is my favorite nightscape image to date. Mungo is a 12-hour drive away from my home in Sydney, but those Bortle 1 skies are the best I’ve ever witnessed and photographed at night. I had perfect conditions for three straight nights, with really good seeing throughout. The moment I came upon this scene, I knew exactly what I wanted to name the image. It was otherworldly – think Game of Thrones – and it lined up perfectly for how I wanted to capture it. Large, jagged walls framed a winding path leading to a centered spire to the west. There was only ever going to be one way to do it justice and that was as a multi-layered Milky Way panorama. I planned this image using PhotoPills during the day, but in post-processing, I decided to use the blue-hour blend for the foreground with a tracked sky for the cleanest possible image.” 9.
“Devil’s throat” by Victor Lima. Iguazu Falls, Brazil. “Photographing Iguazu Falls at night has always been one of my priority projects. In order to do so, I needed to obtain special authorization from the environmental agency that is responsible for national parks in Brazil. Finally, in early 2021, I got this authorization and set out to put my plan into practice. I spent 4 days inside the Iguazu National Park with exclusive access to the Falls at night for my students and me. The first challenge was to walk around the park at night knowing that several jaguars live there, which are frequently seen by employees and tourists. In the area closest to the main waterfalls, the big challenge was to make long exposure images with the strong water spray from the more than 1.5 million liters per second that fall through the waterfalls. Working with exposure times longer than 10 or 15 seconds became an almost impossible task and the lens was never dry. In this image, we have one of the main waterfalls of the Iguazu Falls complex, the “Santa Maria Jump.” Right over the fall, we can see Saturn and the zodiacal light illuminating the horizon. Further up there is the Milky Way Core. We can also identify some of the main emission nebulae present in this region of the sky.” 10.
“Volcano and cross” by Tomas Slovinsky. Villarrica Volcano, Chile. “If you’ve never seen the Southern Sky, it’s significantly different and truly amazing. In the Northern Hemisphere, we use Polaris as the polar star, but below the equator, there are other rules. To easily recognize the south celestial pole, the best indicator is the Southern Cross constellation, located in the image just above the Villarrica volcano. This cross points to the south celestial pole and it’s easy to identify, considering the brightness of the stars. Within the cross, we can see the dark area called “the Coalsack,” which is also visible to the naked eye. It’s one of the best-known dark nebulae in the sky. In the upper left corner, there’s another night sky gem: the red-colored Carina Nebula. This is also only visible in the Southern Hemisphere and, even though it’s visible to the naked eye, with a pair of binoculars, we can see all the beautiful details.”