My passion is to capture the essence of Australia's natural landscape under the stars.
This image is a vertical panorama of four shots with a 24 mm lens at f1.4 and shows the amazing alignment of 4 of the naked eye planets viewed at around 5 am on 18 April 2022.
Planetary alignment 18 April 2022
This is what it looked like with the approaching dawn. No photo can do rustic to what it looks like with the naked eye!
About the image above of the full extent of the Emu from Mt Brogden, Cocoparra National Park, NSW
The full stretch of the Milky Way core area known as the Emu - an epic walk!
On 4 - 5 February David and I after some difficulty located the start of the track, a 5 km round trip up Mt Brogden in the Cocoparra National Park. The climb involved a 200 m ascent, some involving steep sections with steps.
I decided to lighten the gear I was carrying including not taking a spare battery, a decision I was partially to regret later.
It turned out to be a bit of adventure. After locating the terminus for the track on the internet, we thought the track was pretty vstraightforward with the first bit around 400-500 m along the adjacent state forest to the south. The walk started well with davi locating a Southern Leaf-tailed Gecko as we walked along in the darkness. David managed to grab a shot of the lixard with his mobile phone.
We then started to hit a snag, suddently the tack branhced into two with the right hand side a bigger track. I consulted my map and saw a line where out GPS put out location branching off the left so all good. Then about 150 m later we saw another fork in track which wasnt on my map, so we opted for the bigger one to the right. I rermarked to David, "surely we should be doing some climbing now". I noticed that we had been following an old fence which I thought was the boundary to the National Park.
I was getting a little concerned about getting lost so marked the return track to be taken with some sticks to form an arrow.
We kept on going. We decided to check out positon on the mark which seemed to correlate with a track we expected to start heading west back to where the track up to Mt Brogden went up but we encountered yet another fork which did not correlate to the map I had down loaded of the walk or our location on a GPS with the marked tracks.
I said to David, I think we should go back, the thought of spending 7 hours out in the dark fumbling around did not appeal. So we retruned following our direction sticks. It was then at this juncture, david showed me our position on the GPS, it appeared we had backtracked (we don't know how) to a point where the route up the mountain was supposed to start an yet on the way earlier we had not seen a track. By this time I was about 20 m behind David trying to look up my map again when suddenly I noticed a turn to the right and signage which indicated the start of the walk. It really needed to be marked on the track we had started on but I guess the assumption was that you would seee it - but not ncessarity if you had not done the walk before and decided to do it in total darkness! I said to David game on lets go so we took the hour to do the climb passing two fabulous lookouts lookouts, one shpwing Griffith and Yenda to the south and a sea of lights. When we reached the summit, I made out easily the lights of Leeton about 45 km to the south east.
We set up our gear on rocky ledges near the lookout and started taking photos. David has a timelpase of about 3 and half hours of the rising Milky way, my one is much shorter as I wanted to take the rising Milky way with first light but my battery ran out just before 5 am.
This is one of a number of shots showing the full extent of the Emu which encompasses the Milky Way core with the Southern Cross to upper right. Venus can be shown rising just above the horizon to the lower left. It is a single image as I did not want to loose the detail of the delicate cloud patterns. It was quite misty in the sky and incredibly windy which blurred some of the tree branches in the image. It was getting cold I estmated at around 15 degrees but upon relfection it was probably closer to 13 with it sittig on 17 degrees down at Griffith. Unseasonably cold conditions fort early February.
It was an epic night and we were stuffed retiring to our tents to be woken up by the heat at around 9:30 am.