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Celestial Arch

A close-up of "Celestial Arch" by David Meaux: an ultra-high-resolution VAST photo.
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650 megapixels! A very high resolution, large-format VAST photo print of the night sky and Milky Way above a lake and cave; astrophotograph created by David Meaux in Pont d'Arc, Vallon-Pont-d'Arc, Ardèche, France

Celestial Arch

Pont d'Arc, Vallon-Pont-d'Arc, Ardèche, France

Each time I photograph a night sky, I’m awestruck by the staggering magnitude of the universe with its billions of galaxies, and creating Celestial Arch was no different of an experience. For people who are like me and passionate about admiring our Milky Way, I strive to create images that not only showcase the starry sky but also the natural land formations, especially with natural heritage sites.

I wanted to capture the arch of the Milky Way with a natural land bridge so that they would exemplify the symmetry that can be found throughout nature. My search for the right location and the right time of year led me to Pont d’Arc in the Ardèche department of France on a summer night. Geologists believe the arch was formed as the Ardèche River broke through a narrow escarpment. This 60-meter (196 feet) tall natural bridge is the gateway to the majestic Ardèche Canyon, which is about 30 km (18 miles) long. Once a passage to cross the river, the site is currently one of France’s most famous natural heritage sites.

This particular spot at Pont d’Arc not only gave me the composition for which I was looking but also had the bonus of the tranquil river in the foreground, creating an alluring reflection of the arch and emphasizing the grandeur of the landscape. That night I was also lucky enough to have a beautiful wooden boat docked in just the right place, adding to the sense of scale and depth of the overall image.

I decided to light paint the landscape to accentuate the features of the natural land bridge. Five of the 172 images I captured with my Fujifilm GFX 100 on that clear night were used to light paint the arch. 160 of the images were used to create a relatively noise-free night sky with beautiful pinpoint stars and a dark violet background, and the remainder were used to bring up the details in the shadows of the foreground.

A benefit of creating a VAST image of the night sky with a more than full-frame camera is the additional faint stars that are recorded. When you see Celestial Arch at its full resolution you are immersed in the vastness of space and begin to appreciate the bountiful stars. When you look closely you start to see all the faint stars that don’t show up in a regular photograph.

This image was nominated as a finalist for the 14th Annual (2020) International Color Awards in the Nature Category.

Date & TimeAugust 14, 2020:  11:49pm - 1:07am
LocationPont d'Arc, Vallon-Pont-d'Arc, Ardèche, France
Coordinates44.382036, 4.414776
Focal Length23mm
Shutter Speed4-60 sec
Number of Exposures172

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This is not an ordinary photograph.

Its resolution is 2,995% greater than a typical photo. Click on the boxes below to zoom in.

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Print only

Our photographic prints are created using a specialty, large-format fine art printer designed to produce archival, museum-grade prints. They are true "chromogenic" prints: light-sensitive paper exposed in a darkroom using state-of-the-art lasers to produce the sharpest possible image. Click on the icons below to learn more or click here to explore further.

Our photographic prints are available in one of two finishes: glossy and lustre. Glossy prints have a rich, silky saturation and are great for environments where the lighting and reflections have been carefully thought through. Lustre prints have a bright, sparkle-like finish that diffuses reflections and are therefore more versatile for environments where the lighting and reflections are less under your control.

Your print comes with two certificates of authenticity hand-signed by the artist and the printmaker: one that you will affix to the finished piece and one that remains standalone. Additionally, your print's provenance is tracked and verified using state-of-the-art digital technology. Learn more.

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Acrylic glass display

Our acrylic glass displays are ready-to-hang works of art that contain one of our photographic prints sealed between flame-polished acrylic glass and an aluminum backing. A hidden mounting brace on the rear causes the display to gracefully "float" off the wall for a sleek, modern frameless look that complements nearly any decor style. Click on the icons below to learn more or click here to explore further.

Certificate of authenticity  
with artist signature
affixed to the back

Mounting brace floats the display
off the wall by 1 inch
Metal back
Paper print
Acrylic glass
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Digital file

Purchase a rights-managed license to use this photo file. A license provides you with the full resolution digital image file and a permit to use it for a specific project. Use the form below to begin the licensing process or click here to learn more.

Total Pixels649,630,463
Horizontal Pixels29,431
Vertical Pixels22,073
Aspect Ratio1.33 : 1
File Size3,712 MB
Width @ 300ppi (perfect)8.18 feet
Height @ 300ppi6.13 feet
Width @ 150ppi (near-perfect)16.35 feet
Height @ 150ppi12.26 feet

Date & TimeAugust 14, 2020:  11:49pm - 1:07am
LocationPont d'Arc, Vallon-Pont-d'Arc, Ardèche, France
Coordinates44.382036, 4.414776
Focal Length23mm
Shutter Speed4-60 sec
Number of Exposures172

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Photo id: 10827