Meld the power of Adele with the eclecticism of Kate Bush, the intimacy of Tori Amos, the charming flair of Stevie Nicks and a dash of Taylor Swift, what do you have? You have Samsara, of course. Hailing from the UK, singer-songwriter Samsara traipses across jazz, pop, country and rock with her evocative vocals and melodies. From fronting a teenage band at the age of 15 to singing with stars like Don Henley, Steve Winwood, and Bryan Adams, and now releasing music as a solo artist, Samsara is an exciting artist to say the least.
After leaving music behind because of a cumulative abusive marriage where her husband wouldn’t allow her to sing, Samsara steps up to prove she may have taken a step back, but music is in her soul. Reaching audiences across the globe with chart-topping songs like ‘Love For All Time’, ‘Without You’ and ‘Hard To Love’, Samsara is difficult to ignore and we’re taking a gander into her single ‘Invisible’.
Released in 2022, ‘Invisible’ followed her single ‘Anything’ and brought listeners a soft, soothing country sound. Easily placed on any stage in Nashville, ‘Invisible’ has a toe-tapping element reminiscent of acts like Reba McIntyre and Tori Amos. Yet, while there is a powerful mainstream country sound, Samsara’s obscure vocals add a unique tinge to the ballad. Rich, confident and warm, her voice pulls you tight in a big hug while the instrumentation wraps you both in a comfortable blanket. Interestingly, while the song has a simplistic acoustic soundscape, the single is kaleidoscopic with a charming harmony in the arrangement.
A natural storyteller, Samsara shares reflective songs of life, love and journeys. ‘Invisible’ uses an intimate personal narrative to resonate with people who “feel invisible”. Yet, while there is a melancholic tone, hopefulness also exists in the moving single.
In addition to the single, Samsara released a lyric music video for ‘Invisible’. You can view the video below or on her YouTube channel.
For more from Samsara, check out her Facebook, TwitterInstagram and Spotify.
This artist was discovered via Musosoup #sustainablecurator
A genuine picture taken on an iPhone was thrown out of a photography competition after the judges suspected that it was generated by artificial intelligence (AI).
Suzi Dougherty had captured a striking photo of her son with two smartly-dressed mannequins in an intriguing pose while visiting a Gucci exhibition. Happy with her creation, she entered it into a photo competition.
Dougherty didn’t think much more of it until a friend showed her an Instagram post declaring her photo ineligible because the competition’s organizers suspected it to be an AI image.
“I wouldn’t even know how to do an AI photo,” Dougherty tells The Guardians. “I’m just getting my head around ChatGPT.”
The photo competition was held by Charing Cross Photo, a store in Sydney, Australia. In their Instagram post disqualifying Dougherty’s photo, the judges said they were “first intrigued” but then “suspicion set in.”
“We want the images to come from your real-life experience, and not sourced from cyberspace,” writes Charing Cross Photo.
“There is no way we can be completely sure the image submitted was made by AI but you really can’t ignore the gut instincts of four judges.”
Charing Cross Photo owner Iain Anderson tells The Guardians that the judges looked at the metadata on the image but weren’t able to tell if the image was AI-generated or not.
“When this image came up, we all loved it, then I said ‘Hang on it looks a little AI-ish’, then we all started talking about it and went well, we can’t know for sure it is or isn’t’ t, but on the basis we’re suspicious we can’t allow it in,” says Anderson.
“It gave us an opportunity to reinforce that this is about taking the image of yourself, being present in the environment.”
An Apology, Of Sorts
Yesterday, Charing Cross Photo made an Instagram post saying they spoke to Dougherty and confirmed the photo is real.
They called the photo a “great play on what is real” and what is not. But it was too late for Dougherty to win the $333 (500 Australian dollars) prize because her photo had already been rejected from the competition.
However, Charing Cross Photo has offered to waive Dougherty’s entry fee for the next photo competition.
“I probably will [enter] — just for fun,” she added.
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In the world of photography today, it is pretty common that the relationship between creative concept and photography skill is intertwined and is very much expected from a photographer. In this article, we’ll dive deeper into this discussion between these two relationships to see how photographers can unleash their artistic potential and bring their work to the next level and how one skill affects the other skill. Everything from the spark of inspiration from the basis of creative concepts to the technical skills required for project execution will be discussed in hopes of achieving a balance between creativity and technical skills to push a photographer’s work to greater heights.
What Is Creative Concept?
“Creative concept” in photography refers to the underlying idea behind a photograph, which is what I called the key to artistic expression. A skilled photographer subconsciously has the ability to envision and conceptualize captivating ideas for their work. That usually includes visualization, planning the desired message, tone, mood, and story that the photographer wants to deliver through their images. Creative concept is usually also known as the foundation for the entire photographic process, forming the essence or, commonly known as the “soul,” of a photograph. It also provides a base guide to the image composition, lighting, subject choice, and ultimately, post-processing decisions in the image.
What Is Photography Skill?
Photographic skill is the technical proficiency and knowledge to operate and manipulate camera settings in the process of image-making. This includes the ability to understand exposure, composition, lighting, focus, and post-processing techniques. This skill involves learning most of the technical aspects of photography, such as camera settings, equipment operation, editing software, and even honing the eye of the photographer to read light and recognize visually pleasing composition. By being proficient in technical skills, it will enable photographers to bring their vision to life, which, in turn, unlocks the full potential of their creativity. In short, this is known as the key to artistic expression.
Which Skill Is More Important?
Here comes the golden question: which is more important? When it comes to photography, the dilemma between what’s more important between creative concepts and technical skills often resurfaces. The urge to succeed in a short amount of time compared to our competitors doesn’t help any further, as we have to decide which to prioritize. As a result, you may find it difficult to produce artistic results despite having excellent technical skills or not being able to translate your ideas into high-quality images despite having excellent creativity skills. This happens due to the lack of ability to make stylistic decisions or technical skills to deliver the final output.
In today’s world, we are almost expected to have both good creative concept and technical photography skills, especially in smaller scale commercial projects where there isn’t much budget and client awareness at that level of work. The clients at this level will often relate to your inability to produce a creative result to have poor photography skills. Therefore, you may need to cover your drawbacks with all sorts of fancy stylings to impress lower-level clients. As one progresses to higher-level clients, the emphasis will shift from fancy cheap tricks to having an outstanding, clear, and precise creative sense that truly captivates and aligns with the client’s creative direction.
I understand, as photographers, we have the tendency to only focus on delivering images with our solid technical skills, but honestly, in real-world practice, if your technically perfect image does not have a solid creative concept to back it up, it will not be enough to capture the interest of viewers. It is our creative concept, unique point of view that helps clients sell their services and products that are what attracts client’s attention. Therefore, ultimately, the goal is to work towards creating a workflow that is capable of combining a strong idea, distinctive style, precise vision, and good technical skills that will eventually make your work distinctive and outstanding compared to others.
A Marriage of Both
As we like to say, harmony begins when two lovebirds take flight as one. The very same concept applies here as well. When a photographer successfully combines both creative concept and photography skills, they can produce a really captivating result, which effectively delivers the intended message, story, and mood while bringing their vision to life. While technical proficiency is important, photography is still an art form by itself. It is the demand from creative concepts that pushes the photographer to experiment with different techniques and creatively solve issues in technical requirements that ultimately enable photographers to truly express their perspective beyond image limitations and leave a lasting impact on viewers and the end users.
Tips for Achieving Balance
After expressing my thoughts above, where we know it is important to balance both having creative concepts and photography skills to be successful in photography. While I am still nowhere near the realm of being extremely successful as a commercial photographer, here are a few tips that I have gathered through my years of building this career path that I can offer from experience to make your journey in professional photography a little easier .
Tip 1: Collaborate With Artists and Stylists
Artists and stylists are people who are surrounded by art all day and all year long. In fact, they breathe art. By collaborating with them, you are able to offload the creative stress and rely on them to come up with a creative concept while you work on the technicalities in photography. This will result in a unique and compelling image, as each team player is playing their strengths, with a common goal, which is to produce outstanding work.
Tip 2: Study and Reference the Work of Other Successful Photographers
By studying and referencing, I do not mean directly copying what they do. Although there is the saying of faking it until you make it, I would generally not recommend that. The goal here is to study their work that attracts you, learn the thought process, and the approach they have when creating a certain image that catches your attention. By learning from their work, you are able to broaden your own artistic horizons, which will eventually build into your subconscious and skill sets.
Tip 3: Work With Creative Briefs
Working with creative briefs is one of the best ways that you can develop your skill set. Not only are you able to challenge yourself creatively, you can also learn how to execute a specific request and put your technical knowledge to use. Your ability to translate concepts into tangible output will greatly expand.
Tip 4: Printing and Curating Your Work
Printing will open a new dimension of your creative journey. As you learn to appreciate your images in physical form, it unlocks a new way for you to analyze your work and think of the medium that your photos will be used in. Printing will also improve your technical skills, as it allows you to correct mistakes that are made in the image-making process that are not visible on digital screens. Curation is probably the most important step in the creative process, as it involves carefully analyzing and organizing your images to tell a cohesive story to the audience. This will, in turn, train your creative skills.
Tip 5: Find a Mentor
Lastly, a mentor or someone you look up to will be able to help you in your pursuit of your photography career. They are able to provide useful advice, guidance and insight based on their experience which is invaluable. However, it is important to approach this relationship with an open mind and be receptive to feedback. As photographers can sometimes have a high ego and tunneled vision, it is important to note that the willingness to grow from the expertise of others will significantly improve our skills.
By following these steps and continuously striving for improvement, you can nurture your photography skills and elevate your creative concepts to new heights. Remember, the journey of a photographer is a constant evolution, and embracing these practices will help you develop your own unique style and leave a lasting impact on your images.
Known for melding poetic introspection in soul-stirring melodies, US-based singer-songwriter Ben Freeman weaves intimate adventure into his music. First releasing his EP Providence in 2015, Freeman’s journey began quite a few years ago; however, it was only several years later that he “…arrived in a place of wanting to make music in a sustained way…the first summer of the pandemic became the context where a lot of other things that had previously seemed important fell away and I was able to get real with myself that this is what I wanted to do” (quote taken from our interview with Ben Freeman). The latest addition to his discography is the single ‘Long Distance’.
Following his well-received album Quiet Fury, ‘Long Distance’ is Freeman’s first release in 2023. A collaborative project with long-time friend, collaborator and fellow artist Nora Rothman, ‘Long Distance’ oozes old-school soul with a passionate slick of alternative pop. The multi-layered vocals showcase not only Rothman’s inspiring voice but also Freeman’s wide vocal range. Bold and starting with a hint of soulful sensuality, ‘Long Distance’ is one of those tracks you could play alongside Sade. Yet, while there is a nostalgic flair to the melody, it has a contemporary feel making it perfect for a Bruno Mars meets Shawn Mendes playlist.
Produced with Jackson Hoffman at Hoffman’s studio in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, ‘Long Distance’ is the first track off Freeman’s upcoming EP. Groovy and laid back, the single has an elegant charm in its sophisticated arrangement. Yet, it appears to look at the core of human feeling in an intimate, slightly vulnerable way. Freeman explains that “this is a song about feeling close and far from someone at the same time. It’s nostalgia, ambivalence and desire in sonic form…”
For more from Ben Freeman, check out his Instagram and Spotify.
This artist was discovered via Musosoup #sustainablecurator
I grew up in the northern rivers of New South Wales in the 1990s. It was a place of stark contrasts: utopian dreams, alternative culture and objectionable social disadvantage. Since that time I have spent many years reflecting on my coming of age in such an unusual place and how it has shaped my adult life.
In 2014 I started taking pictures in an effort to reconcile the complexities of my past. Having witnessed up close the devastating ramifications of addiction, poverty and discrimination, I recognized that I had been carrying the weight of these burdens through my life. Fueled by nostalgia and longing I was compelled to return to my home town over and over, using photography to rebuild my history from the perspective of an adult and a mother. The unprocessed grief of my youth was setting the foundation for my photographic practice.
My series In Australia is ongoing. It focuses on the lives of adolescents, as I remember them, in Lismore, examining the residual effects of colonization and the Aquarius era of drugs, free love and political rebellion.
Lismore sits in a low-lying basin on unceded Bundjalung country, with rivers forking out to surrounding pockets of valleys, dairy farms, hippy communes and ancient Gondwana rainforest, then snaking towards the sea.
Growing up there my friendship circle embodied the diversity of backgrounds that shaped the region, from the original Widjabul Wia-bal people and established working-class residents to the newer alternative hippy communities from the surrounding hills. Sharing turbulent home lives and strong feelings of restlessness in a small town, a wide group formed of friends, each with their own complex and tender story.
The hippy movement that I and many friends were born into rejected the restrictions, values and expectations of middle-class society and embraced peace, love and drugs. There were idyllic aspects to being raised on a commune, living in nature with boundless freedom. But it could sometimes be a balancing act between free love and dysfunction, freedom and neglect, drug use and drug abuse.
There was an intentional lack of structure as our parents rebelled against the trauma of their own childhoods – which often left their children unprepared for the world. With the “ganja” capital of Australia down the road at Nimbin, at certain times of the year we had helicopters circling above and swarms of police conducting marijuana raids on our community. From a young age there was a strong feeling that we existed on the other side of the law.
I remember now those adolescent years as being filled with freedom for which most of us were unprepared. Interwoven with ordinary teenage experiences such as smoking cigarettes, drinking alcohol and skipping school were darker elements of domestic violence, drug use, incarceration and death. Many of us had seamlessly transferred our childhood freedom on communes to excessive and at times self-destructive freedom in small-town suburbia.
Yet I also remember the feeling of belonging, of friendship, of intoxicating first love and of rebelling against authority.
In 2014 I also began taking self-portraits, creating scenes that loosely resembled experiences from my teenage years. Then I began to cast people to feature in my photographs, using scenarios that drew from my memories. The images are taken at dusk, with sunset symbolizing the shift into newfound freedom. The landscapes resemble sites where, in the 1990s, my peers and I would find our autonomy.
The images in the series explore adolescence while also revealing how the idealism of the counter-culture movement played out when met by small-town boredom and social disadvantage.
I’m able now to look back with a deeper understanding of how we were shaped by our childhoods and the places we occupied during our youth.
I’ve come to see meaningful connections that can emerge from hardships, and that beauty and pain can coincide.
Photography has long been celebrated as a medium that captures moments, freezes time, and conveys stories. It’s an art form that requires careful consideration, often a great deal of research, and – sometimes – months of planning.
Canon recently launched a series called Beyond the Kitbagwhere Cecilie Harris, head of creative services at Canon EMEA spoke to 20 Canon ambassadors to find out how what motivated them to pick up their cameras and continue exploring their passion.
Recent scientific studies emphasize the significance of storytelling and emotion in photography and how psychological events such as entering a “flow state” can be a contributing factor to a successful career.
In this study, Cecilie Harris enlisted the help of Dr Richard Stephens, a senior lecturer in psychology at the University of Keele in the UK who analyzed 20 interviews in an attempt to work out if there is something that unifies freelance photographers.
What Stephens calls a “flow state” comes from a recurring theme through his research interviews. Participants described feeling completely in the moment, as if on autopilot where creating felt calm and peaceful, and their mind was free of stress and anxiety. But that’s only a small factor in what keeps these professional photographers going.
Stephens was able to break down the photographic process into four psychological states, all of which contributed to a feeling of satisfaction and complete immersion in the task. They are the flow state, creativity, the eureka moment, storytelling, and emotion. Although flow state might not be possible at all times, it’s this feeling that often drives photographers to create their best work.
If you’ve ever experienced a feeling of pure contentment in your photographic practice, you’ll know how rewarding it is. That feeling of pure bliss and unadultated focus is what we all strive for; your mind doesn’t wander and you’re not left with any feelings of self-doubt. With imposter syndrome not knocking at the door, you tend to feel free of stress and anxiety ie you have entered a flow state. According to Dr Stephens, a flow state can be defined as an experience that is “intrinsically rewarding, leading to a great sense of achievement”.
Several Canon Ambassadors mentioned times when they had experienced this without knowing what to call it. Lucia Griggi describes how she can “look at the camera and nothing else matters,” Julie Pike explained how when she holds the camera, things happen automatically, while Emmanuel Oyeleke uses his camera as a tool to “overcome and mask my shyness.” He says it gives him a sense of boldness when it’s in his hand.
To be completely lost in the moment, unaware of your senses and surroundings, and not constricted by any doubts in your abilities, the result is a dreamy, flow state that is the epitome of creative success. You’ll feel like the time has been well spent and the positive effects will often carry into other parts of your day and life.
The science of creativity
Photographers constantly strive for creativity, seeking to capture images that are authentic and engaging. The science of creativity defines it as the ability to generate ideas that are both novel and satisfying, but the pursuit of creativity can be challenging, especially when there are no clear goals at the beginning of a creative process.
Stephen Kotler, an American author, suggests science-based strategies to enhance creativity such as cultivating a good mood since it promotes a willingness to take risks and embrace unconventional ideas.
There are several ways to coax creativity, you just have to find which suits you best. Canon ambassador Julie Pike tries to create a relaxing atmosphere on a shoot so, when she worked with the Norwegian singer Aurora and her sisters, she supplied Norwegian Bolle (sweet buns) and beer as a way of connecting with them and breaking the ice.
You could also listen to your favorite music, set guidelines such as not shooting on sunny days, using a tactic Martin Booth or even passing the creativity baton to your subject allowing them to be as actively involved as Helen Bartlett does when shooting with children. By embracing these approaches, photographers can unlock their creative potential and continue to produce captivating work.
Eureka moments are sudden, euphoric breakthroughs that leave you and give you an instant, overwhelming feeling of victory. They often arise after a period of frustration or a creative block which is something most creatives will have to battle with at one point or another.
For photographers, these moments are not uncommon, considering the inherent difficulty of the creative process, which can lack a clear strategy from the start. These insightful breakthroughs where the solution finally emerges hold long-term motivational effects for photographers who can look back on these moments for reassurance.
Several photographers shared their experiences of eureka moments during their creative processes. Helen Bartlett described it as a moment when you have a vision but it hasn’t materialized yet while Audun Rikardsen knows immediately when a personal image would have a lasting impact on him. Lucia Griggi, one of the few female surf photographers recalls a perfect wave breaking suddenly, leaving her in awe and Julie Pike recalled a moment when the perfect frame appeared before her eyes. These eureka moments serve as powerful reminders of the magic that happens when creativity aligns with intuition and inspiration.
Storytelling and Emotion
Narratives are essential for human cognition and communication, encompassing elements such as sequential plots, dramatic moments, archetypal characters, and moral lessons. Photographers adeptly capture the tension between exposition and impending action which evoke emotions and grab the viewers’ attention. Emotional connections between photographers and subjects drive powerful images but purpose-driven storytelling required photographers to break boundaries, depict reality and often raise awareness around a topical or sensitive issue.
Finbarr O’Reilly is a war photographer, but rather than capturing the cliché photos you often see of war, he tries to capture the affected people trying to maintain some normality in their everyday lives through his powerful image. Similarly, Wanda Martin strives to break down gender boundaries and depict the model’s personalities and the backstory of fashion through her editorial portraits.
Photography is after all storytelling through images but more often than not it isn’t quite as simple as clicking the shutter and taking a nice photo. The most engaging images that elicit emotion from the viewer require careful planning, a lot of thought and a deep connection to the subject being photographed whether it be a person, a landscape, or even a memory. By combining the four psychological states, photographers are able to push themselves further and delve deeper into the heart of who they are as creatives and what type of work they want to present.
These are the best Canon cameras to suit beginners and professionals
We present to you the latest Album Titled “4GOD II” from Rob49 Ft. Roddy Ricch, G Herbo, Trippie Redd & NoCap, Rob49 release a new album download that hits the internet today and we are delighted to inform you of the latest fresh out of the Conner. This zip album covers multiples songs and that’s what the fans have been waiting for. A top request from fans this period,
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TRX (feat. Roddy Rich)
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Despite being only 19 years old, a freshman in college, singer-songwriter Sean Kennedy has the sophistication, maturity and elegance to stand up among his contemporaries. We spoke with Kennedy about his new album Forever Usbeing a musician in the 21st century, and much more.
OSR: What does music mean to you?
Kennedy: Music is my way of expressing myself. Each of my records is like a time capsule that preserves the emotions and stories of myself from that time.
OSR: What inspired you to become a musician?
Kennedy: I started writing songs when I was 9 years old, and I immediately fell in love with it. I did it every day and eventually, I learned how to record. I started putting out music because I wanted to share what I had been making with the world, and I haven’t stopped since.
OSR: What can you tell us about your album Forever Us? Is there a backstory or theme to it?
Kennedy:Forever Us is a very special album for me. It’s about my first relationship, and the emotions surrounding it as I was getting ready to leave school. It’s a record that revolves around love and loss, but at its center, it’s an album about feeling lucky enough to experience love. It’s very different both sonically and thematically from my previous work.
OSR: What was the most exciting and least exciting thing about creating Forever Us?
Kennedy: Making this record was beyond exciting. Working with Francesco Massidda, a producer from Italy, was so creatively fulfilling. My last three records were made primarily on my own, so working with different collaborators, especially my friends, this time around was such a nice change. I don’t think there was anything not exciting about this album’s process.
OSR: What do you hope people take from your music?
Kennedy: I hope people find themselves within my music. I want people to be able to take my songs and set them for their own lives.
OSR: If you could change one thing about Forever Us, what would it be?
Kennedy: I took some time off between my last album and this one to really hone in on my craft and conceptualize a clear idea of what I wanted the next record to sound like. This album is exactly what I set out for it to be, so I don’t think I’d change anything about it
OSR: Of all the songs you have ever released, which is your absolute favorite and why is that one?
Kennedy: My absolute favorite song tends to change a lot. I don’t listen to my music much after it’s been released, so I think my favorite always tends to be whatever I’m currently working on. The song ‘Golden’ on this record is one of my current favourites, though.
OSR: What bad decision did you make that turned out to be a good decision?
Kennedy: I think some people in my life were very pessimistic when I made plans to release my debut single. I had just turned 15, I didn’t know what mixing or mastering was, and I was doing it all on my own. Some people told me I should wait, but I think releasing that song was the best decision I’ve ever made. It introduced me to the music industry and I wouldn’t be where I am today without it.
OSR: What do you think are the challenges and advantages of being a musician in this digital era?
Kennedy: I think the digital age made it possible for artists like myself to get out there without signing to a label first. Just a few years ago, I wouldn’t have been able to just decide to start releasing music. I think the downside to this is that the market is more oversaturated than ever, so it can be hard to stand out.
OSR: Do you have future plans as an artist?
Kennedy: I’m not sure what the future holds for me after this album. For so long I felt the need to always have a plan and I like that recently I’ve been letting the music come to me instead. I’ve been in talks with some very cool people within the industry, so I’m very excited to see what the future holds.
OSR: What message do you have for our readers?
Kennedy: I would tell the readers to remember to find the purpose in everything they do. Don’t go through the motions, find meaning.
Many thanks to Sean Kennedy for speaking with us. For more from Sean Kennedy, check out his official website, Facebook, TwitterInstagram and Spotify.
Adding stars and the milky way to your images is a great way to transform your landscape photography, night photography and astrophotography, and you can see some fantastic examples by the winners of the latest Milky Way Photographer of the Year competition.
The competition was organized by Capture the Atlas, a travel and photography blog, and this year’s 25 winning milky way shots were selected from over 3,000 entries from 16 countries. ‘Modern cameras can capture vibrant details and colors in the night sky beyond what our eyes can see,’ said the organisers. ‘However, what really matters in any great image is the photographer behind the camera, who provides the idea, plan, and creativity to bring the image to life.’
Below are our top 10 favourites. In the meantime, don’t miss our guides to the best cameras for astrophotography and night landscape photography. We’ve also got an essential guide to manual focus, which is an important skill in this kind of photography.
Our 10 favorite images from Milky Way Photographer of the Year
1. Cafayate star factory, by Gonzalo Santile
Astro-modified Sony A7R III. Sky: F/2.8, 120 seconds, ISO 1600. Foreground: F/6.0, 20 seconds, ISO 800
‘To capture this shot, I arrived before the blue hour and as soon as the first stars appeared, with some light still shining on the landscape, I took the images for the foreground,’ Gonzalo, who took the shot in Argentina, explained. ‘After that, when it was completely dark, I shot the vertical photos of the sky. As the milky way was already very low at that time of the year I had to hurry as I only had one chance to get the images of the sky once it got dark. I aligned my tracker and the action began.’
2. Night under the Baobab Trees, by Steffi Lieberman
Astro-modified Sony A7R III. Sky: F/2.8, 120 seconds, ISO 1600. Foreground: F/6.0, 20 seconds, ISO 800
‘Here you can see the complete milky way arc over the imposing baobabs’ says Steffi, who took the image in Madagascar. ‘This photo means a lot to me, and I can’t even begin to tell you how difficult it was to take it. From the road conditions to the armed security guards protecting you while you take photos, everything about it was an adventure.’
3. South of Home, by Lorenzo Ranieri Tenti
Astro-modified Sony A7S, Sony A7R IV. Sky: 35mm, 30 seconds, F2.8, ISO 6400. Foreground: 20mm, 20 seconds, F2.5, ISO 6400
‘The panoramic photograph captures the breathtaking scene in the Gross Spitzkoppe Nature Reserve in Namibia, where the southern milky way gracefully spans a remarkable formation of smooth granite boulders,’ explains Lorenzo. ‘This area holds a unique charm, with Mount Spitzkoppe being the sole prominent feature for kilometers, majestically rising 700 meters above the endless savannah.’
4. Shapes of Nature, by Uroš Fink
Nikon Z6. Sky: 16 panels x 3 rows, ISO 1000, F2.2, 90 seconds. Foreground: 9 panels, 1 row, ISO 1250, F2, 120 seconds, focus stacked.
‘A double arc of light adorned the Mangart Saddle in the Julian Alps,’ explained Uroš, who took the image in Slovenia. I must confess, staying awake for 30 hours, lugging 30kg of gear, and planning compositions all day was no easy feat,’ he explained. ‘But every effort paid off! In the sky, two arcs of light shine. One represents the winter belt of the milky way, while the other is the soft glow of the approaching sunrise.’
5. The La Palma Astroexperience, by Jakob Sahner
Astro-modified Sony A7S. Sky: 9 panel panoramas with 8×30 seconds per panel in RGB and 3 extra images with 15×30 seconds for H-Alpha around the Milky Way core. Foreground: 6 panel panorama with 30 second single exposure. All images were taken at F/1.4 and ISO 2000
‘La Palma and the Canary Islands are ideal for astrophotography due to the trade wind clouds that sit at around 1000 meters,’ Jakob explains. ‘Being above these clouds makes it clear enough for capturing images, provided there are no haze or high cirrus clouds. On the first night of the trip, I was exhausted from a long journey and had no sleep, but I couldn’t resist going out to capture the clear sky, as it was the first time I’ve experienced this much cloud cover.’
6. Milky Way over Cuenca’s Hoodoos, by Luis Cajete
Nikon Z5. Foreground: ISO 6400, F/2.8 120 seconds. Sky: tracked, ISO 640 F2.8 120 seconds
‘Living in a big city, I have always battled against intense light pollution,’ says Luis. ‘That’s why I’ve spent years searching for places where I can truly appreciate the beauty of the stars. Witnessing the arc of the milky way is an absolutely awe-inspiring experience.
Some of Spain’s darkest skies can be found in the Serrania de Cuenca, an area of remarkable geological beauty. In the southern region lies a place where water has carved the landscape, creating intriguing formations and limestone chimneys.’
7. Celestial Radiance, by Tom Rae
Nikon Z7. Five rows of seven images (sky rows were tracked). ISO 2000, F/2.8, 30 seconds
‘As night fell at Mount Tekapo in New Zealand, the autumn sky revealed itself, and I began shooting,’ says Tom. ‘Midway through my milky way panorama, a faint glow appeared on the horizon – my first aurora! What followed was a spectacular light show of flowing beams and vibrant colors.
The image also showcases airglow, a wave-like pattern of red and green caused by ionized molecules in our atmosphere. But the true focus remains the milky way galaxy gracefully spanning the sky, accompanied by the Magellanic Clouds, its smaller satellite galaxies, hovering above the aurora.’
8. The Scenery I Wanted to See,’ by Mitsuhiro Okabe
Sony A7R III. Foreground: 14mm, ISO 2000, F/7.1.30 seconds (20 photos to reduce noise). Sky: 14mm, ISO 500, F/5, 20 seconds (40 photos)
‘Mount Fuji, Japan’s iconic symbol, dominates the backdrop of this image, set during cherry blossom season,’ explains Mitsuhiro. ‘Amidst the landscape, you can see a sacred temple dedicated to honoring the spirits of the departed. And there, against the dark canvas of the night sky, the ethereal beauty of the milky way came into view.’
9. Alien Forest, by Marcin Zając
Nikon D810. Foreground: F/11, 30 seconds, ISO 100. Sky: (panorama) F/1.4, 4 minutes, ISO 200
‘These strange, cream-colored rock towers located near Mono Lake in California are called tufas,’ Marcin explains. ‘They are formed when underwater springs that are rich in calcium are mixed with the waters of the lake, which are rich in carbonates. The resulting reaction formed limestone. Over time, the buildup of limestone formed towers, and when the lake’s water level dropped, the towers became exposed.’
10. Celestial Shield, by Iván Ferrero
Astro-modified Sony A7 S, Sony A7R III. Foreground: F2.8, ISO 1600, 76 seconds, nine-photo panorama. Sky: 30 seconds, ISO 1600, F2.2, four-row panorama.
‘Taking advantage of a free night with clear skies, I embarked on a two-and-a-half-hour drive to reach Mironcillo in Spain, home to this castle perched at 4500 feet,’ says Iván. ‘Once it got dark, I captured a panoramic shot of the ground before tracking the milky way as Orion took its position.
Despite challenging weather conditions, with biting cold and strong winds, the sky cooperated. I kept the tripod low to prevent blurring and ensure stability.
Editing the sky involved individually stacking the 40 panels in Sequator (two shots per panel + 15 dark frames), blending the panorama using PTGui, and extracting information with Pix Insight. Finally, I merged the resulting sky with the ground panorama using Photoshop.’
To enjoy the full 25 image shortlist, check out the Capture the Atlas website.
Further reading Best cameras for astrophotography How to photograph the moon How to shoot star trails Best photography competition to enter in 2023