STARRY NIGHT: The Harwood Mill under a night sky captured with some digital wizardry from local photographer Jeremy Billett.
STARRY NIGHT: The Harwood Mill under a night sky captured with some digital wizardry from local photographer Jeremy Billett.

Photographer exposes a heavenly beauty

THERE'S more to this stunning shot of the Harwood Sugar Mill under a starry sky than meets the eye.

Harwood photographer Jeremy Billett came up with this stunning image - you could say two images - when he set out to capture Tuesday's partial eclipse of the sun.

"I wanted to get the eclipse at around 4.30pm, but there was too much cloud around," he said.

Instead he set up across the road from the back of the mill to settle for an old favourite of shooting the night sky.

"I had to set up my tripod and stand on the roof of my car to shoot above the wire fence," he said.

"It was lucky for me the sky cleared and I was able to get the shots I wanted."

Faced with the problem of needing two different exposures, Jeremy decided to take two separate shots.

He took a shot focussed on the sky with the camera's ISO on 6400 and aperture f2.8. The exposure time was 20 seconds.

"That's the longest time before you start to get star movement from the rotation of the Earth," he said.

For the mill shot, he was able to lower the ISO rating and increase the shutter time so there was less grain in the image.

"I put the two images together in Photoshop," he said.

"I was a bit surprised it came out so well. I was worried about how the smoke coming out of the chimney would look."

Jeremy said long-exposure photography was his favourite shooting method.

"It's a challenge, but you get the rewards of some really interesting images," he said.

"Focus can be a problem, but with a few different test shots you generally get it right.

"You also need a remote shutter activation or use shutter delay so you don't move the camera pressing the shutter button."

He said taking early morning shots of the ocean used to be a favourite, but an addition to the family had forced a change.

"Shooting night skies takes a lot of time and patience, but when you get it right it looks great," he said.

On this evidence, we have to agree with him.



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