Mark Gee

Guiding Light To The Stars

I'm happy to announce that this is the winning photo for the Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2013 I recently spent a night out at Cape Palliser on the North Island of New Zealand photographing the night sky. I awoke after a few hours sleep at 5am to see the Milky Way low in the sky above Cape Palliser. The only problem was my camera gear was at the top of the lighthouse as seen in the right of this image. I had set up a time-lapse there a few hours before, so I had to climb the 250 plus steps up there to retrieve my gear before I could take this photo. By the time I got back the sky was beginning to get lighter with sunrise 2 hours away. I took a 360 degree pano, with this being crop of around 180 degrees of that. From Novice to Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2013 copyright 2013 | markg.com.au

Road To Our Galaxy

This image was shot in one of my favourite 'dark sky' locations at Cape Palliser on the bottom of the North Island of New Zealand. It is a panorama made up of 28 individual shots, giving an overall image size of 275 megapixels. The photo shows the Milky Way high in the sky stretching from east to west. The Large and Small Magellanic Clouds can be seen below the arch of the Milky Way. These two objects are irregular dwarf galaxies and are only visible from the southern hemisphere. The light below the Milky Way to the left is the Cape Palliser Lighthouse, and the small glow on the horizon to the right is the Queen Mary 2 Cruise Ship en-route for Wellington, New Zealand. copyright 2014 | Mark Gee | theartofnight.com

Camping Under The Stars

This is a frame from my new film for International Dark Sky Week 2014: vimeo.com/markg/darkskies It's a simple thing that people have been doing since the beginning of mankind, an open camp fire miles away from anywhere with just you and the stars above. It's something I try to do as often as I can, even if there's no camp fire involved. In this world where technology usually keeps us company, I think everyone should experience this at some point in time. For me it certainly puts life in perspective - so look up and enjoy, it's free for everyone. This is a single exposure and part of a 12 second time-lapse. copyright 2014 | Mark Gee | theartofnight.com

Milky Way Over The Wairarapa

This is a frame from my new film for International Dark Sky Week 2014: vimeo.com/markg/darkskies The Milky Way rises over the Wairarapa on the North Island of New Zealand. The lights from the towns of Masterton, Carterton, Greytown, Martinborough and Featherston can be seen in the image from left to right. The photo was shot from on top of the Tararua Ranges at a height of around 1300m above sea level, and with the area being so remote and a long walk from anywhere, I had to be flown in by helicopter operated by Kapiti Heliworx for the shoot. copyright 2014 | Mark Gee | theartofnight.com

Levitation Under the Stars

I headed out with another photographer friend and some models to my favorite dark sky location of Cape Palliser in New Zealand. The aim was to photograph the models using the night sky as a backdrop. We managed to shoot all of the images a single exposures except for this one. This image is a composite of a foreground and background element. Both elements were shot through the same camera and lens and in the same position only minutes apart. For the foreground element, the shutter speed was increased to capture Sarah mid leap into the air. And for the background element, the shutter was slowed down again to 30 seconds to capture the night sky and Milky Way. The aperture and ISO remained the same during both shots. The two elements were then composited together in Photoshop. You can read a blog on the evening of shooting here: http://theartofnight.com/2014/03/under-the-milky-way-girls-by-starlight/ copyright 2014 | Mark Gee | theartofnight.com

Under The Milky Way Tonight

Kat poses during a model shoot out at my favorite dark sky locations at Cape Palliser in New Zealand. The stars and Milky Way were an amazing background to shoot Kat against. This photo was all done in one exposure, so no compositing or photoshop at all. You can read a blog on the evening of shooting here: http://theartofnight.com/2014/03/under-the-milky-way-girls-by-starlight/ copyright 2014 | Mark Gee | theartofnight.com

Moon Silhouettes

I'm happy to announce Moon Silhouettes has won the People and Space category in the Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2013. People usually gather on Mount Victoria Lookout in Wellington, New Zealand to take in the view of the surrounding city below. But on this particular day the moon rose right behind the lookout revealing the silhouettes of the onlookers. This photo was shot from over 2km away on the other side of Wellington city the day after full moon at the end of March 2013. I used the same technique to shoot this image as I had done with my Full Moon Silhouettes Video From Novice to Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2013 copyright 2013 | markg.com.au

Simplicity By Night

This is a frame from my new film for International Dark Sky Week 2014: vimeo.com/markg/darkskies Life doesn't get any simpler or better than this - out in the middle of nowhere with no one around for miles, set up a tent and camp for the night. The stars and the Milky Way above shine ever so brightly as our world rotates through the night. It's an experience everyone should have at least once in their lifetime...I highly recommend it! copyright 2014 | Mark Gee | theartofnight.com

Star Gazing In Solitude

This image is shot only 15 minutes from the central business district in Wellington, New Zealand. The south coast of Wellington is dark and remote, but easily accessible, and it's a place I spend a lot of time at night taking photos and watching the stars. I was shooting a time lapse this night and decided to climb up the rocks and stand there watching and admiring the sky above. For me, star gazing really puts into perspective just how small we are in the grand scheme of things, and just how vast the mind boggling the universe really is. copyright 2013 | markg.com.au

Sunspots over the Rimutakas

The Sun rises over the Rimutaka Ranges to the east of Wellington, New Zealand. This image was shot with a solar filter and sunspots can be seen on the Suns surface. The larger sunspot seen in the upper portion of the sun is sunspot AR1944. This sunspot is one of the biggest in many years and bigger than Earth itself. This sunspot was responsible for an M-class solar flare on January 4th 2014. This caused elevated aurora activity around the earth's poles when the highly charged particles from the coronal mass ejection collided with Earths magnetic field a few days after being ejected from the sun. copyright 2014 | Mark Gee | theartofnight.com

Aurora in the Mountain

Intense Aurora activity lights up the sky near Fredvang, Norway early one evening in December. We were photographing other landscapes in the area as part of The Art of Night photography workshop, when this aurora flared up and spanned the entire sky from the east to west. The Aurora looked as though it was coming from within the mountain as it danced across the sky. The moon out of frame to the right added to scene by illuminating the landscape. That night was by far the strongest aurora activity I had seen during my time in Norway. copyright 2013 | Mark Gee | theartofnight.com

A Night at Devil's Gate

The south coast of Wellington, New Zealand as the Milky Way hangs low just above the horizon. This view is from Devil's Gate looking south across the Cook Strait to the South Island of New Zealand. copyright 2013 | markg.com.au

Princess Bay Aurora and Milky Way

There has been a fair bit of Aurora activity lately, so I've been getting all excited and heading out with my camera as soon as I hear there is a possibility of seeing one. I'm in Wellington at the bottom of the New Zealand's North Island and you rarely get to see the Aurora Australis here, but I did manage to get this shot around 4am on Sunday 7th July 2013. It wasn't much of a display, especially compared to the one the week before, but I was excited just to capture this. This image was shot at Princess Bay on Wellington's South Coast, and you can see the Milky Way arching above Island Bay to the right of frame, and the faint glow of the Aurora Australis can be seen in the left of frame. The Large Magellanic Cloud can also be seen high in the night sky frame left. copyright 2013 | markg.com.au

Supermoon Bikers 2013

My 3rd and final attempt of getting a good shot of the Supermoon this weekend. After cloudy conditions in Australia, I flew back to New Zealand and I'm happy to say success at last! Thank you Wellington New Zealand for the fine weather tonight! copyright 2013 | markg.com.au

Minimalist Moon

A simple capture of the waxing crescent moon just before sunset.

Rising Star Byron

http://vimeo.com/83126935 Rising Star Byron is a real time video of the sun rising behind the Cape Byron Lighthouse at Byron Bay on the most easterly point of mainland Australia. People gather up around the lighthouse at dawn to watch the first rays of sun to hit mainland Australia as it rises over the ocean to the east. You may notice the tiny silhouettes of the people in the video walking around the lighthouse as the sun rises behind them. I used a similar technique to film this video as I did with Full Moon Silhouettes, except this time I was positioned 5.7km away from the Cape Byron lighthouse when I shot the video. I would have positioned myself closer if I could, but was restricted by the location I had to be in to capture the sun rising directly behind the lighthouse for this time of year, but still I'm quite happy with the result! I shot the video on a Canon 5D MkIII with a Canon EF 600mm f/4L lens and a Canon 1.4x extender II, giving me a focal length of 840mm. copyright 2014 | Mark Gee | theartofnight.com

Moonset Over Brooklyn Wind Turbine

The full moon sets over the Brooklyn wind turbine in Wellington, New Zealand. Wellington is one of the windiest cities in the world, and the Brooklyn wind turbine is Wellington's first and also the oldest operating wind turbine in New Zealand. At 31 meters tall, it is easily seen from most parts of the city. Over the course of a year, the turbine generates the same amount of electricity as 80 homes use in the same period. copyright 2013 | markg.com.au

The Milky Way Rises Above A Foggy Wellington, New Zealand

A heavy fog rolled into Wellington, New Zealand on the night of the 15th May 2013. This image was captured from Wrights Hill overlooking the city as The Milky Way rises high above in the night sky. A short time-lapse from the night can be seen here: vimeo.com/66287748

International Dark Sky Week 2013 - Wellington Photo Project - Red Rocks

Final stop as part of the International Dark Sky Week photo project at Red Rocks. After a 10 minute ride in the 4WD out towards Red Rocks, we all emerged from the car in awe of just what we could see in the night sky. The Milky Way was clearly visible and towering above us. There was still a glow from the lights of Wellington city in the distance, but this was by far the best of the star gazing spots. More information on the project here: http://markg.com.au/2013/04/chasing-night-skies-above-wellington-new-zealand-idsw/

Moonset Over Island Bay

Clear skies over Wellington, New Zealand last night and a setting moon was enough motivation for a early morning photo mission. I managed to get a lot of really nice images, but this one of the moon setting over Island Bay and the South Island of New Zealand was my favorite.

The Milky Way above Wellington, New Zealand

A cold and crisp winters night as the Milky Way rises high above the glow of the capital city, Wellington in New Zealand. copyright 2012 | markg.com.au

The Heavens Above Palliser

Cape Palliser Lighthouse on the south eastern tip of the North Island of New Zealand, lights up the surrounding landscape as the Milky Way shines ever so brightly behind. copyright 2012 | markg.com.au

3am At The Gap

Around 3am the Milky Way shines brightly above The Gap at Castlepoint, as the nearby lighthouse illuminates the surrounding landscape. Castlepoint is on the south east coast of the North Island of New Zealand just a few hours from from the capital city of Wellington. copyright 2012 | markg.com.au

Tree Under the Stars

A lone tree stands in silhouette against the night sky with the milky way rising overhead on the south east coast of the north island of New Zealand. copyright 2012 | markg.com.au

Guiding Light To The Stars 360

I recently spent a night out at Cape Palliser on the North Island of New Zealand photographing the night sky. I awoke after a few hours sleep at 5am to see the Milky Way low in the sky above Cape Palliser. The only problem was my camera gear was at the top of the lighthouse as seen in the right of this image. I had set up a time-lapse there a few hours before, so I had to climb the 250 plus steps up there to retrieve my gear before I could take this photo. By the time I got back the sky was beginning to get lighter with sunrise 2 hours away. This is a 360 degree horizontal pano of my Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2013 winning image. Featured astronomical objects in this image are the The Milky Way, the Small Magellanic Cloud, the Large Magellanic Cloud and the Zodiacal Light which extends up from the horizon in the right side of the image. You can explore the 230 megapixel image here: www.gigapan.com/gigapans/145198 copyright 2013 | Mark Gee | theartofnight.com

Ancient Light

This is a frame from my new film for International Dark Sky Week 2014: vimeo.com/markg/darkskies Here's a fun fact - the light my camera is capturing here of the Milky Way galactic center is approximately 27,000 years old. This means this light would have left the galactic center of the Milky Way during the late stone age period here on earth. It's not easy to get a photograph of this clarity without a finding a location with the darkest of skies free from light pollution. Thankfully there are still locations like this not far from where I live in Wellington, New Zealand. copyright 2014 | Mark Gee | theartofnight.com

Wellington Twilight From The Tararua Ranges

The lights of Wellington, New Zealand on a perfectly clear evening just after sunset. In the foreground you can see the lights of Upper and Lower Hutt with Wellington situated on the other side of the harbour. The mountains in the background are the Kaikoura Ranges on the South Island, with Cook Strait being the body of water separating the North and South Islands. This image was photographed from the Tararua Ranges approximately 1300m above sea level. copyright 2014 | Mark Gee | theartofnight.com

Aurora Hunters

Photographers taking part in The Art of Night photography tour experiencing their first ever Aurora Borealis on the Lofoten Islands in Norway - they weren't disappointed in what they saw. copyright 2014 | Mark Gee | theartofnight.com

Arctic Twilight Over Nusfjord

Nusfjord is a quaint village on the Lofoten Islands of Norway. It was 2.19pm during the seemingly endless twilight of the arctic winter, and the light was amazing! I had to climb an icy ladder up a tower to get this shot and it was totally worth it! copyright 2014 | Mark Gee | theartofnight.com

Castlepoint Dreaming

Castlepoint is one of the most spectacular sites along the Wairarapa coastline. It's located on the east coast of the North Island of New Zealand, and is known for its fossil-rich limestone reef, lighthouse and magnificent 162 metre high Castle Rock. I headed out there recently on a perfectly clear night. The stars and Milky Way were shining ever so brightly above the coastal settlement, as the sweeping light of the lighthouse lit up the surrounding landscape. It was an amazing sight somewhat like a dream, which I will remember for a long time to come. copyright 2014 | Mark Gee | theartofnight.com

Yoga By The Honey Moon

Friday the 13th and a rare 'honey moon' rises. This event won't happen again until 13 October 2049, so I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to capture a friend of mine practicing some yoga in front of the moonrise. This is a single exposure photograph shot with a 600mm lens plus a 1.4x extender. copyright 2014 | Mark Gee | theartofnight.com

Luminous Nights

Dark and remote with no artificial light at all, with a sky full of stars as the Milky Way rose to the east. This whole environment was lit by starlight and the intense air glow that was present amongst the darkness - it was certainly a night of astrophotography to remember. copyright 2014 | Mark Gee | theartofnight.com

Breaker Bay Serenity

Breaker Bay is located on the South Coast of Wellington, New Zealand. The bay faces almost directly south, and is exposed to huge seas and strong southerly gales which blow during the large winter storms. This night was quite the opposite of that, with a calm and serene feeling as the Milky Way rose towards the east of Breaker Bay. copyright 2014 | Mark Gee | theartofnight.com

Universal Bonding

It was a short road trip to New Zealand's South Island with my son that was only 4 days long. We did a lot of driving and exploring the country side, and had some amazing adventures together. But it was this moment on the last night of the trip, that will stick in my mind for a long time to come. I got to share my passion of photographing the night sky with him - we spoke about the Milky Way, stars and planets, and the immense distances of space. It's something we really bonded over, and we're both looking forward to doing more of these adventures together in the future. copyright 2014 | Mark Gee | theartofnight.com

Camper's Sunrise

I recently went on a road trip to the South Island of New Zealand, and stopped off at the coastal township of Kaikoura. I didn't have any accomodation so headed just out of town to freedom camp for the night. The next morning I and the other campers woke to this amazing sunrise. copyright 2014 | Mark Gee | theartofnight.com

Kiwi On The Mountain

The Kiwi is a long beaked, flightless, nocturnal bird from New Zealand, but it can also be seen in the night sky. The Milky Way Kiwi is located right next to the Sagittarius region of the Milky Way, and can be viewed from both the northern and southern hemispheres. I had to wait for the Milky Way to get low enough in the western sky near Hanmer Springs in New Zealand to get this single exposure shot of the Kiwi appearing to walk on the mountain. copyright 2014 | Mark Gee | theartofnight.com

Celestial Drive

I drove out to the back country area above Hanmer Springs on the South Island of New Zealand to capture this 360 degree seamless pano of the night sky. There's quite a lot going on with this image - you have the Milky Way which can be seen arching over the landscape in the right of frame, and below that you can see a natural phenomena know as gravity waves. The glow in the centre of frame is from the lights of Christchurch 130km away, and to the left of that are the Magellanic Clouds, which are a duo of irregular dwarf galaxies visible only from the Southern Hemisphere. The faint triangular glow to the far left of frame is the Zodiacal Light, which is caused by sunlight scattered by space dust in the zodiacal cloud, and in this case, is seen just before morning twilight. For the tech buffs out there, this image is a 218 megapixel image made up of a stitch of 28 individual images, which were shot on a Gigapan Epic Pro. The images were shot 4 rows vertically by 7 columns horizontally, each on a 24mm lens with an exposure of a 25 second shutter at f/2.8 with an ISO 6400. The whole pano took a total of 14 minutes to shoot with all the images. copyright 2014 | Mark Gee | theartofnight.com

Galactic Pearl

This is a 360 degree pano taken from atop of Castle Rock at Castlepoint in the Wairarapa, New Zealand. I made the climb under darkness, which made it somewhat more challenging than normal. Castle Rock stands at a height of 162m above sea level, and the Castlepoint lighthouse is perched 62m above sea level at the opposite end of the beach below. The galactic core of the Milky Way was rising to the east over the ocean, and the Small and Large Magellanic Clouds can be seen to the left of it. The Zodiacal Light is seen to the bottom right of the sky dome. The 400 megapixel image consists of 32 images all shot at 24mm on a Gigapan Epic Pro. copyright 2014 | Mark Gee | theartofnight.com

Supermoon Over Cape Palliser

People gather at the base of the Cape Palliser Lighthouse in New Zealand, to view the biggest Supermoon rising for 2014. It was a challenge to find a location to shoot this evening's moonrise. Cloud threatened the party in Wellington New Zealand, so I drove for a few hours to a location I have spent many nights photographing the stars. It was tricky to get a perfect lineup tonight and it didn't work out exactly as planned, but I'm still happy with the result! And the people next to the lighthouse were a great scale reference! This is a singe exposure shot taken 3.7km away from the lighthouse. copyright 2014 | Mark Gee | theartofnight.com

LMC and I

The Large Magellanic Cloud is one of my favourite night sky object viewable from the Southern Hemisphere. At a distance of 163,000 light years from earth LMC is considered an irregular type galaxy and the third closest galaxy to our own Milky Way. For the tech specs of this image, it was shot on a Canon 6D with a Canon 90mm tilt-shift lens, which is such a super sharp lens! The exposure was 10 second shutter at f/3.2 ISO 6400. I had to shoot two single exposure frames to get me and the Large Magellanic Cloud in the one shot, and I stitched them together in Auto Pano Giga. copyright 2014 | Mark Gee | theartofnight.com

Night Streaker

I headed out to the Wellington South Coast in New Zealand to attempt to capture some of the recent aurora activity. The aurora wasn't visible to the naked eye, and the camera was only capturing a faint glow on the horizon, but I proceeded to set up a time-lapse. Within minutes, a huge meteor streaked across the sky burning up in the Earth's atmosphere, and fortunately for me, it was captured in one of the frames of my time-lapse. That certainly made up for the lack of aurora that night! Hope you guys like the image! copyright 2014 | Mark Gee | theartofnight.com

Nature's Drive-In

I remember the novelty of going to the drive-in theater when I was young - you pull your car up, and either grab the external speaker or tune into the movie audio on your car radio, then sit back and enjoy the movie projected on the big screen. Things have certainly changed when watching movies these days, but when I pulled into this location above Hanmer Springs on the South Island of New Zealand, the Milky Way looked like it was being projected across the sky, and thoughts of the old drive-in theatres came to mind…but the big difference here is nothing can ever match the experience of nature's own drive-in! copyright 2014 | Mark Gee | theartofnight.com

Dark Skies of Wonder - Castlepoint

Last night was an amazing night of astrophotography which was great, because Rob Dickinson and I were holding our Dark Skies of Wonder astrophotography workshop at Castlepoint in New Zealand. Weather had threatened the workshop all week, but it cleared up perfectly for the night. It didn't come without hitches though - the wind was gale force and we were all drenched by a couple of freak downpours of rain. But after a short wait sheltering in the cars, we emerged to a sky full of stars with the Milky Way setting over Castle Rock. The added bonus was we there was Aurora activity towards the end of the night, and we scored the faint red glow of the Aurora to the south. This was my last shot of the night as we all headed back to the car. The red light on the beach is from the headlamp of the last workshop attendee who decided to stay behind a little longer. I'm sure they got some stunning shots in doing so! copyright 2014 | Mark Gee | theartofnight.com

End of the Night

Attendees on the Dark Skies of Wonder astrophotography workshop capture their last shots of the galactic core of the Milky Way as it begins to set below Castle Rock at Castlepoint in the Wairarapa on the North Island of New Zealand. copyright 2014 | Mark Gee | theartofnight.com

Nature's Balance

I shot this on Saturday night on the South Coast of Wellington, New Zealand. It was a perfect night for astrophotography before the moon rose...I even managed to get the faint red glow of some aurora activity on the left of frame in this one. The colour on the right is from the glow of the city lights of Wellington. copyright 2014 | Mark Gee | theartofnight.com

Hole In The Rock

Twilight at the Hole in the Rock, Waverly, on the North Island of New Zealand. Unfortunatey, this iconic rock was destroyed by rough seas in 2013. copyright 2014 | Mark Gee | theartofnight.com

Night On The Ridge

I shot on the west coast of Wellington, New Zealand as the galactic core of the Milky Way was beginning to dip towards the horizon. The white triangular glow coming up from the horizon is the Zodiacal Light, which is caused by space dust scattering sunlight in the zodiacal cloud. It was amazing up there on the ridge that night under a sky full of stars - it's something everyone should do every now and then. copyright 2014 | Mark Gee | theartofnight.com

Look Up

Sometimes in life you just need to stop and look up...looking up at the Cape Palliser Lighthouse on the North Island of New Zealand as The Milky Way hangs high overhead. copyright 2013 | markg.com.au

The Halo

There has been some stunning weather around Wellington, New Zealand recently, and the sky just before sunset last night was incredible. As the sun was setting, a stunning sun halo formed and set the perfect scene for the perfect sunset amongst some spectacular cloud formations. Sun halos, also known as a 22 degree halo, are formed by sunlight passing through ice crystals in cirrus clouds within the Earth's atmosphere. The crystals bend the direct sunlight projecting it elsewhere in the sky and at a certain angle - which just happens to be 22 degrees. You may also notice the bright areas on the halo on either side of the sun - these are known as a pair of Parhelia (sun dogs) complete with tails, also known as Parhelic Circles. copyright 2014 | Mark Gee | theartofnight.com

AR 2192

26 Oct 2014 - the end of another day as the sun sets to the west of Wellington, New Zealand. It's been quite an active period lately for our Sun, and a massive sunspot - AR 2192, has formed. The sunspot is approximately 128,000km across, which is 10 time wider than our own planet Earth. The active region has already produced with 2 X-class flares with the potential of more to come. If this happens, then there is a chance of intense Aurora activity around the high and mid magnetic latitudes here on Earth. You can see sunspot AR 2192 in this photo just to the right of the bank of cloud which partially covers the sun from the left. copyright 2014 | Mark Gee | theartofnight.com