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Please note: RPS House is closed for our exhibition install. We will be open again from 10am on Friday 9th August 2024.

Passing By

Just passing through

Images with personal symbolism

One of the blessings of twilight sky photography for me is that the image changes slowly, leaving plenty of thinking time. I saw this one coming, and went for a little personal symbolism. Taken from a trig point atop a Pennine hillside at around midnight in July.

That day I had been admiring the aircraft photography in the Distinctions section of the new look RPS Journal. Wonderful examples of the decisive moment in capturing images of aircraft in motion. I went out that evening but with no intention of doing anything any way similar.

Beautiful clear July night in the Pennine hills a short walk from home. I was looking for Jupiter and Saturn low in the south east to add to my Aperture project. The aim was to produce another startburst image around the brightness of Jupiter with the major moons in attendance. With a 105mm lens I should also get the slightly dimmer planet Saturn in frame too.

Having these two planets in frame took my mind back to an earlier source of inspiration. The Cassini spacecraft passed by Jupiter on the way to Saturn in 2000, just about the time I was doing a photo processing project with NASA. By the time of the major imaging runs past Saturn I was working in astronomy optics. We had made analogous journeys.

Back on the hillside exposures of 2 seconds at ISO 1250 were producing the effect I desired. There was also a slow but steady flow of aircraft inbound for Manchester airport. One ventured within the field of view, seemingly making the journey from Jupiter to Saturn. Snap went the shutter and symbolism captured.

Tech stuff

Nikon D750 at ISO 1250 with a 2 second exposure. Nikkor 105mm f/2.5 manual lens at f/2.8. Jupiter mid right with the starburst and moons Ganymede and Callisto in attendance. Saturn toward the lower left. Stars from Capricorn and Sagittarius. RAW conversion and cropping only.