On my first trip outside of Europe I went to the Himalayas with a group of school friends. We set off from Ladakh in Northern India and hiked for two weeks in the complete wilderness, barely seeing a soul. Each evening, before going to sleep in my tent, I remember gazing up at the stars and trying to spot The Plough, the only constellation I could recognize (even now I’d struggle to name others!).

Photo by Jake Egbert

Quite soon after this trip I went off to university and then moved to live in London, and then Moscow, where light pollution prevented me from seeing much in the skies. But even now, whenever I head into the countryside, I always find myself looking out for The Plough on a clear night!

Since moving to Argentina, a country with vast areas of uninhabited land, I’ve started to become a bit obsessed with star photography. Whenever I’m on a trip I’ll try to take pictures of the night skies – it’s something a bit different to other types of travel photography. I’m very much a beginner so won’t share my amateurish photos just yet. But here are some amazing shots from five cool Instagrammers who take extraordinary pictures of the stars. They’ve been kind enough to share what inspires them and their favorite shooting locations around the world.

Stephanie Sinclair

“I fell in love with night shooting soon after seeing the Milky Way and Aurora Borealis for the first time in the North Cascades a few years ago. The past couple of years I have spent a lot of time under the night sky at Mount Rainier, Mount St. Helens, and the North Cascades. There’s something captivating about watching the galactic core framing a beautiful volcano, as well as meteors streaking across the sky. One of my favorite places to shoot the night sky is Denali National Park in Alaska. Watching Aurora Borealis dance across the sky is the most fascinating thing I’ve ever seen.”

I think the universe loves me back… Solo shooting overnight in the North Cascades when airglow put on a show. 💃💃💃

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Austin Jackson

“I have always been interested in the stars since I was a little kid, and so when I started taking photographs, I wanted to try and tackle photographing the night sky. My favorite location to shoot the stars is in the Alvord Desert, in the most south-eastern part of Oregon. It provides the darkest skies I have ever seen, and there are so many different options of ways you can take photos. The desert is completely flat, but has cracks in the ground that provide amazing options for foregrounds.”

Sleeping while the earth turns… #happiertrails

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Mikko Lagerstedt

“I love to capture night, and atmospheric photography and I enjoy capturing simplistic landscapes. I love the feeling of being in the moment when capturing star photographs. The moment you press the shutter and wait for the camera to be ready is magical. I love to capture night sky photographs at the coast of Finland.”

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Nate Wyeth

“It’s my goal with every photo I take to inspire more people to get outside and play. As I spent more time in the great outdoors with my camera, I became more fascinated with the night sky. To me, taking a picture captures that moment in time forever, lying under a blanket of stars in the mountains staring up at the universe. I’m lucky to live in a place where we’re surrounded by a star-filled sky, away from light pollution. I really like to shoot anywhere with a dark sky, under a new moon, and my favorite of those places is the Cascade Mountains outside of Bend.”

Do you believe in magic?

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🙏⛺️🏔 So thankful for another superb weekend spent outside and disconnected.

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Jake Egbert

“I began shooting stars and night scenes a few years ago when I realized that my camera sensor can pick up even more than my naked eye when I’m standing out under the vast, unending depth of space, obscured by the intrusive lights of cities and progress. I now find my vacations even more exhausting and exhilarating than ever before… Because, of course, when I’m in a new place I make it a point to see the sunrise and the sunset. And… if it’s a dark place, a place unpolluted by light, I’m obviously gonna need to stay up all night to watch the heavens! My favorite starscapes always include some earthbound object. I need something to ground the photo and connect the immensity of space to the tangible world around me. Some of my favorites night subjects are volcanoes, sea stacks, windmills, or abandoned barns. If I can get the Milky Way reflected in the mirror of a still mountain lake along with one of these… all the better!”

Friday Night Lights . We’ve nearly survived one of the hottest weeks ever in Portland… And my mom, living in Mesa, AZ, is not impressed by all us PNW whiners, I’m sure. Our over-100 F degree (38 C) is like a cool stroll in a shady park in November in Arizona… It’s nearly jacket weather for the desert folks!😂🔥🔥🔥🌵😎🌵🔥🔥🔥 . . I’ve got two portrait shots scheduled Saturday and I’m pulling out the old guitar for a church talent show this evening (Yeah, they’re scraping the bottom of the talent barrel on this one…😂). What are your weekend plans! Any PNW locals gonna try and escape the wildfire smoke anywhere?🤔 . . . #FromUnderTheFedora #pnwonderland #awesomeearth #sunrise #sunset #landscape #pnw #portland #pdx #oregon #nature #ourplanetdaily #discoverearth #inspiring_photography_admired #moodygrams #earthfocus #watchthisinstagood #pnwisbeautiful #portlandnw #jaw_dropping_shots #ig_captures #visual_awareness #gottalove_a #beautifuldestinations #cascadiaexplored #oregonexplored #nightshooterz

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Last night I learned that Oregon is on the path of totality… EVERY NIGHT! . That’s right, every night the earth’s shadow completely engulfs the entire state. The shadow extends to nearly half the earth at a time! The transition between light and shadow often results in spectacular colors fringing one or all horizons. And if you’re lucky, during the peak of nightly total eclipse of the sun, you can look up and see deep into the center of the galaxy! . Science! #TheMoreYouKnow . . Also learned last night: – deer look like lions in the pitch dark of the night when only their eyes reflect your headlamp… From 25 yards away!!! 😳 – that funny smelling black and white cat… the one that smells like stale medicinal MJ smoke… might not be a cat after all! 💨🤢😱😱😱 – the smaller the mosquito, the more irritating the bite… and the more likely to treat deet as a condiment rather than a repellent! 😖 . . This is a phone edit of a D500 JPG. Until I see signal again after the eclipse, here’s wishing you all the best! 😎Don’t stare into the sun! 😉 . . #FromUnderTheFedora #pnwonderland #awesomeearth #sunrise #sunset #landscape #pnw #portland #pdx #oregon #nature #ourplanetdaily #discoverearth #moodygrams #earthfocus #nightshooterz #pnwisbeautiful #portlandnw #jaw_dropping_shots #ig_captures #visual_awareness #gottalove_a #beautifuldestinations #cascadiaexplored #oregonexplored

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Where’s your favorite place to look at the stars? And have you got any photography tips for me?!

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