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Elixir

985 megapixel VAST photo
Banks Peninsula, Canterbury, New Zealand

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985 megapixels! A very high resolution, large-format VAST photo print of a beach at night with the Milky Way stars in the background; landscape astrophotograph created by Paul Wilson in Banks Peninsula, Canterbury, New Zealand

Elixir

985 MEGAPIXEL VAST PHOTO
Banks Peninsula, Canterbury, New Zealand

I had planned to head out for photography on this night for a few weeks prior, but what I hadn't planned on was the last-minute decision to turn around and head in the opposite direction to a different location. I'm not sure what drew me to this place, maybe it was a “photographer’s hunch,” but I'm very glad I ended up there.

It was quite cold on the hilltops above this Banks Peninsula bay, but I noticed it was surprisingly warm down in the valley after getting out of the vehicle. I then loaded 20 kilos of gear onto my back and started the short hike down to the bay. There was a surreal feeling in the air; being under the beautiful clear winter sky while only wearing a t-shirt at this time of year felt very strange.

I arrived at the beach and began setting up my equatorial tracking mount, aligning it to the SCP (southern celestial pole). This process was especially difficult due to the care needed when working with sensitive mechanical objects around sand. After 45 minutes of mucking around, it was time to power up and start tracking the stars! I flicked the switch. Nothing happened, no power, no glow of the LED light. Disappointment and shock started to set in. I had jammed and broken the power cable in the pelican case the last time I had been out shooting and not realised. This meant all my work setting up and carrying the heavy load to the bay was for nothing.

The Milky Way was getting higher and my window of opportunity was rapidly closing. I then quickly decided I would stack images for noise reduction, a process that would be a first for me with a multi-row panorama. Tracking allows longer exposures and a lower ISO making for cleaner and better quality images, not being able to do this I instantly thought of stacking images. In short- noise has a random nature, every image has a different pattern, stacking evens this out and gives a nice average.

I began shooting some test shots and noticed something that made me very excited. Bioluminescence! I have wanted to see and capture bioluminescence for a very long time. Each time a wave crashed, the light from the glowing microorganisms would get stronger. It was a truly magical sight.

Later, I would discover that this bioluminescence makes creating stitched photographs much harder to put together because of the changing shape of the light on the waves. However, the extra time it took me to accomplish the stitch was well worth it.

The image is titled Elixir for a few reasons. First, the water was like a magic potion stirring these creatures up. Second, photography and getting out under the stars is a kind of elixir and medicine for me, a meditation and therapy while standing under the vast night sky.

Date & TimeJune 16, 2020:  10.08pm - 10.46pm
LocationBanks Peninsula, Canterbury, New Zealand
Coordinates-43.739190, 172.873638
Focal Length40mm
Aperturef/2.2
Shutter Speed1/8th sec
ISO6400
Number of Exposures145

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Photographic print

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.

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 blockchain encryption 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.

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Mounting brace floats the display
off the wall by 1 inch
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Licensed 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 Pixels984,538,170
Horizontal Pixels38,430
Vertical Pixels25,619
Aspect Ratio1.5 : 1
File Size5,626 MB
Width @ 300ppi (perfect)10.68 feet
Height @ 300ppi7.12 feet
Width @ 150ppi (near-perfect)21.35 feet
Height @ 150ppi14.23 feet

Date & TimeJune 16, 2020:  10.08pm - 10.46pm
LocationBanks Peninsula, Canterbury, New Zealand
Coordinates-43.739190, 172.873638
Focal Length40mm
Aperturef/2.2
Shutter Speed1/8th sec
ISO6400
Number of Exposures145

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Photo id: 10674