THE STARS SHINE DOWN
I was very fortunate to get introduced to one of the most revered personalities of the land based Astrophotography scene in India, Dr.Suresh Mohan (Doc, as we call him). A doctor by profession, he is also an avid astrophotographer shooting images which, at first, I thought were downloads from NASA's Hubble archives. I didn't think such a branch of photography existed until I met him and was lucky to accompany him and his accomplices Mr.Ravi, Mr.Ranganathan and a very good friend of mine, Guru, on one of their astrophotography assignments.
We had to go as far away as possible from the city's light pollution and Guru's ancestral land just off Marakkanam on ECR was the perfect setting for the astrogasm. We set-off from Chennai in the afternoon and by the time doc got his rig setup, it was 10:00 PM. This was the night before the festival of Pongal and the locals were performing rituals nearby. We waited for them to clear out and get our work started.
The images you see below were captured that evening. The image at the very end was what Doc captured that night with his telescopic rig.
The kids in the village knew we were upto something and they came running in to help us set up the gear.
Doc with his baby.
Doc forgot to bring chairs and Guru brought some from the village panchayat head's home.
Doc and Guru catching up on some Facebook while waiting for the sun to go down.
The locals were performing a ritual under their sacred tree. It was the festival of Pongal and they were honouring the village Gods.
We started our experiments once they left.
What you see below on the right is a 2 hour exposure of the milky-way galaxy. The one on the left was a simple 30 second exposure.
Guru effortlessly setup the camera on the tripod centring the North-Star in the frame for the below shot.
I was the night-watchman.
The image you see below was shot by Doc's setup. This is the horsehead nebula which is 1,500 Light Years away from us. I was absolutely stunned on seeing this straight out of the camera.
I'll be accompanying them on many more trips in future. Many more images to be captured. Can't wait!
Let me know what you think in the comments section!