Insight into night sky photography

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ALEXIA.JOHNSTON

@alliedpress.co.nz

Astro photographer Simon Williams is shining a light on Central Otago’s night sky.

Mr Williams, of Queenstown, hosted a workshop in Alexandra on Friday night where he passed on his astro photography skills as part of World Environment Week.

Nine people attended the workshop, which included an introduction, technical basics and planning.

Participants put some of those skills to the test with a visit to Butchers Dam where they explored the night sky behind the lens.

Mr Williams studied astrophysics in the UK when he was 18 before turning his attention to photography.

“I studied the Milky Way when I was at uni, [but] I never really saw it until I was in my mid-20s.

“The concept that you could see something like the Milky Way was so alien to us [as students].”

In about 1997, Mr Williams got a job working on websites for professional football clubs before moving into online bookmaking.

Until then, Mr Williams had worked with others’ photos.

However, he moved to New Zealand 14 years ago where that all changed.

He initially got a job as an Enviroschools facilitator, but in 2017 left that job to focus on photography.

Friday night’s workshop allowed him to bring his lifelong skills together.

Mr Williams said part of his work behind the camera was to dispel the myths.

“People say don’t go out [and photograph] when it’s cloudy, but I like to play with the clouds. People say you can’t shoot when the moon is up, but I beg to differ.

“It’s about using photography to replicate what is there,” he said.

“[Sometimes] you can get amazing detail that’s been illuminated by moonlight.

“I’m always trying to not replicate what other people have done.”

Mr Williams said he had been looking forward to linking his work to last week’s World Environment Week, which he was “passionate” about.

He was also pleased to be taking the class in Central Otago where he had previously captured a range of night sky photographs.

“While I might not live here, I feel at home here.”

Mr Williams, speaking just before taking the workshop, said he hoped to host more in the future.