|"Beam Me Up" is a single 30-second exposure "selfie", using a low power head torch on a string to|
spin around the photographer. Canon 5D Mark II, 14mm, f/2.8, ISO 3200 ~ © Greg Gibbs
"I'm not sure I have a particular style of night photography that is easily definable," says Greg. "If I do [have a style], it is constantly changing, depending on the mood I am in, or what I want to achieve in a particular image."
Early History: Ever since Greg witnessed Halley's Comet at the age of seven he has had a background interest in astronomy. Growing up, he enjoyed seeing things like lunar eclipses, meteor showers, and other bright comets. But, it wasn't until he purchased his first DSLR camera in 2010 that he discovered a passion for photographing the night sky.
"I was playing around with the camera one night and I thought to myself, 'what would happen if I just went outside and held the shutter button down for a long time? Could I capture a couple of stars on camera?' The resulting image whilst completely out of focus and riddled with noise, blew my mind so much that I started devouring as much information about astrophotography as I could, and I have been hooked ever since," says Gibbs.
Keeping it simple: Although Greg enjoys experimenting with telescope based astrophotography, his real passion is doing what started it all —using nothing more than a camera and normal tripod to capture the beauty of the night sky that surrounds us all.
I certainly like to keep things as simple and real as possible. With the exception of things like panoramas and star trails, I really like the challenge of capturing as many of my images in a single exposure where ever I can. Out of necessity, I might occasionally exposure blend or focus stack, but that is about as far as I go.
Equipment and software: Gibb's most valuable equipment is actually his astrophotography telescope equipment and he doesn't even want to think about how much that has cost him! For most fixed tripod night sky-scapes, he feels wide angles lenses with fast aperture lenses are very important. His favorite pieces of equipment are are also his two main lenses — the Samyang (which also goes by the brands of Rokinon, Pro Optic, and Bower) 14mm f/2.8 and 24mm f/1.4. Coupled to his two cameras (Canon 6D and 5D MkII) they are hard to beat for image quality.
"I must be getting close to the only person in the world who has not yet got a smart phone, so I am still firmly computer based at this stage," quips Greg. "I use Google Maps, Stellarium, and The Photographers Ephemeris extensively for location scouting and image planning. I have a whole host of weather prediction sites that I use to check conditions; and being just a little bit obsessed with chasing Aurora Australis from mainland Australia, I always keep an eye on a number of aurora forecast websites."
|"Midnight Rainbow" is a 9-image panorama of 30-second exposures.|
Canon 5D Mark II, 14mm, f/2.8, ISO 3200 ~ © Greg Gibbs (click to enlarge)
Another challenge he has is finding good locations. Greg prides himself on trying to find the best composition, but some locations just don't work with night sky images. "I have found myself doing a lot more time lapse imaging lately, with the view to releasing something, hopefully, early this year; and that has been a really challenging project, with steep learning curves. I take my hat off to the people doing night sky time lapses full time," reports Gibbs.
Greg hopes that through his hobby of photographing the night sky he can inspire others to get away from artificial lights and just look up at the night sky. Halley’s Comet will return to our skies in 2061. If you're in Australia that year, keep an eye out for an 82 year old man standing next to a camera on a tripod with a huge smile on his face!
Greg Gibbs is a 36 year old resident of southern New South Wales, Australia. He's a horticulturalist by day and hobbyist landscape astrophotographer by night. More of Greg's photography can be found on his website, his Facebook page, Google+, or on 500px.