Winter in the Northern Hemisphere is when many travelers cross the equator in search of warmer days on that side of the planet.
Except for those Milky Way hunters who, in search of impactful images of the galaxy, travel to the most remote places in search of the best recordings of the northern sky.
In its 5th edition, the “Milk Way Photographer of the Year” promoted by the site Capture the Atlas has just released the 25 best photographs of the Milky Way, selected from a list of more than 700 discs of the genre.
With the pandemic, we noticed that the photos were a bit limited in terms of location because people were moving around less. But in 2022 we have a variety of locations again,” says Dan Zafra, Spanish astrophotographer and site editor.
The announcement of the winning entries usually takes place at the end of May, as it coincides with the peak of the Milky Way observing season in the northern hemisphere, which runs from February to October.
In the southern hemisphere, the best time for this type of record is between January and November, approximately.
One of this year’s winning photos is the “Ice Age” photo, taken on a frozen lake at an altitude of 5,070 meters in Pumoungcuo, Tibet.
In addition to the artistic composition of this work by Chinese artist Alvin Wu, which includes a recording of different constellations and nebulae, such as the red spots in the sky, it is an unprecedented photograph.
It is very special because it brings together everything we are looking for. It is the recording of a place difficult to access for political and logistical reasons, where the Milky Way has never been photographed before”, explains Dan Zafra.
For him, the light on the lake complements the colors well, between the blue of the ice and the yellow of the light. [artificial]. “Technically, it’s perfect”, completes this Spaniard who usually gives advice to those who want to take night photos, especially of the Milky Way.
This edition was also marked by other images of remote places where the Milky Way had not been recorded either, such as the work “Vinchina Blue Nights”, by Gonzalo Javier Santile.
Taken in the village of Vinchina, in the province of La Rioja, in the north of Argentina, the image is a very rare recording of the Corona del Inca, “whose access is very difficult and which requires an ascent with oxygen due to the altitude,” says Zafra.
Another impressive South American disc in this edition is “The Salt Road”, which Alexis Trigo made in a salt desert of the Atacama, in northern Chile, “where the layer of salt reflects and enhances the rare light that comes mainly from the light zodiac and results in less noise in the photograph,” as the author of the book describes it.
As Dan Zafra tells it, several criteria are established when selecting the best photographs.
In addition to being an inspiration for people to learn about the galaxy, the record must be “technically well done, with the stars well focused”, and have a good composition with artistic components.
Last year, one of the selected was the Brazilian Victor Lima with the image of the Milky Way above the Devil’s Throat, in the Iguaçu National Park, in Paraná.
As the Spaniard told the report at the time, the photo was worth both the risk of working in an area with the presence of wild animals and the insistence on obtaining a special permit to enter the national park the night.
At the request of the report, Zafra has selected some of the favorite works that have been shortlisted in this edition of “Milk Way Photographer of the Year”.
Loneliness by Nick Faulkner
“It’s very special because it’s a very large panorama of about 200 degrees of amplitude, which is technically very complex.
For me it’s unique because there’s a lot of snow and it’s complicated because usually in few places you can see the snow and the Milky Way in the same photo.
In the northern hemisphere, the further north we travel, the less the Milky Way has. [para ver]. But if you go to the southern hemisphere, especially to the extreme, like Patagonia or New Zealand, there are certain regions and certain times of the year where it is possible to photograph it with snow.
“Secret” by Marcin Zajac
“What stands out in this photo are the petroglyphs embedded in the stone.
It seemed very interesting to me because of the connection that can be seen between man and the stars. It’s something that takes you a bit back to when they were made, thousands of years ago.”
“Lightning the Milk Way” by Jinyi He
“Like the photo taken in Tibet, this one in the Dahaidao Desert, Xinjiang Autonomous Territory, is a very remote place and very difficult to access.
This photo is the first record of the Milky Way in the region.”