by Marko Dutka Published 01/10/2016
Plough and Plane
This image is of the Memorial in Arnos Vale to all those who died in the First and Second World War and who were cremated there.
Astro-photography goes to great lengths to avoid scenes like this. Most photographers are looking for clear skies and little if any light pollution. Even the moon is not welcome as it significantly brightens the landscapes these images are set within and significantly alters the amount of detail that can be seen in the sky.
In doing this the photographers can create clear images of the night sky and the various heavenly processes that occur. In this series of images I was going against the grain of accepted practice and actively looking for the signs of human activity.
Arnos Vale is surrounded on all sides by the suburbs of Brislington, Knowle and Totterdown. The stone memorial and cloisters behind it are lit by a full moon and the white light in the background sky is actually street lighting. The camera is pointing towards Totterdown and in the sky above, the constellation The Plough is transiting across the centre of the sky.
The image was taken with an 11-minute exposure. This means that the Earth’s imperceptible movement was slowly recorded and the stars that make up the constellations are not recorded as pinpoints of light but rather as parallel streaks across the sky.
The camera is also pointing towards one of Bristol airport’s flight paths and the broken vertical streak that you can see travelling across the left-hand part of the sky is actually a record of a passenger jet that flew across the scene for a fraction of this exposure. You can see the streaks of its tail light and also the regular pulse of light from its wingtip-lights.
The image runs from west to east and if you look in the eastern corner you will see that the colour of the light becomes redder. This is the first sign of dawn.
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