'The Explorer'

· 598 words · about 3 minutes

'The Explorer'

Firstly I would like to thank 'Best Of Our Shire' and Michele for running the wonderful competition and would like to thank everyone who voted. I am honored to now have my photo as the banner for the next year.

I am local photographer based near Banchory and have been taking pictures since I was a little boy but have started getting into it more seriously in the last 5-6 years. I always have had a love of the Stars and cosmos and after seeing some stunning images of the milkyway on a webpage many years ago I decided I would teach myself the techniques needed for Astrophotography. So I decided on the name 'WhiteSky Photographics' and made a facebook/instagram page to share the images and links (https://www.facebook.com/Whiteskyphotos/) (https://www.instagram.com/whiteskyphotographics/)

A lot of what goes into these Astro images is patience and planning, as moving around in the dark at night you can imagine can be difficult. Also the Sky is always moving (or should I say we are lol), thus some images have taken many months of waiting not to mention dealing with the lovely Scottish weather.

I have worked with the 'National Trust of Scotland' taking images of the local northeast Castles at night which are now available in the gift shops. I also attend a lot of the local craft fairs throughout Grampian selling my work.

My Images are available on my website: https://whiteskyphotographics.selz.com/

'The Explorer' came about after deciding to try and get to a good high spot in the mountains so the air is thinner and clearer to help with capturing images. The Munro of Lochnagar is probably one of the most iconic mountains in the northeast of Scotland and especially in the winter months can be a deadly place to be lost or alone. So after speaking to a good friend (Nigel Carter) who has a lot of experience with climbing many mountains around the world we decided to plan a trip.

We needed a good weather window with at least a few days of high pressure over the northeast thus giving us plenty of clear skies with very little chance of bad weather. So as we edged towards the end of November we spotted a perfect gap through the week to chance it.

On the morning up to Lochnagar we had clear skies with perfect conditions including very little wind. After about 5 hours we reached the top of 'Meikle Pap' which faces Lochnagar. We set up camp and I scouted the rock formations to get the right position and composition to take the images. At about 7pm and after waiting a few hours in the minus 16 degrees temperatures I got Nigel to switch on his head torch and stand very still on the rocks for a 30 second exposure making him look towards the night sky. This is the resulting image with the might of our wonderful Milkyway galaxy stretching out into the darkness.

That night I was up taking photos throughout the night into the morning and ended up capturing quite of few on the mountain especially as the sky rotated with the moon rising behind me lighting up Lochnagar in all it's splendour.

Now looking back on that trip standing in a foot of snow for hours on end in bitter cold temperatures I think it was worth it......

I love staring into the night sky and getting lost, it helps ground me and makes me feel part of something magical out there....... beyond the darkness lies the light of the WhiteSky.

Thank you

Simon White