PoW dec 13 silverstein feature
Discovering the wonders of the night. (Zach Silverstein)

Stargazers by Zach Silverstein

Tasked with choosing between nebulae, planets and crisp shots of the Moon, the judges picked this engaging winner for the magical moment it represents.

“Some nice ones in there, but the future of The RASC in Zach Silverstein’s ‘Stargazers’ is just so powerful a message,” wrote judge Dan Meek.

Shot in St. Lucia Dec. 22, 2019, Silverstein used a Canon 5D Mark IV for a 10-second exposure, zoomed to 24mm and set at f/1.4 and ISO 800. He said it was a two-image panorama, using bracketed exposures for the sky and foreground.

While the message came through the medium, Silverstein also told the story behind the shot when SkyNews asked the question.

“I was in St. Lucia with my girlfriend and my family. We were all staying in one house and Chelsy and I were relegated to the upper little attic space. In the daytime, I was below on the patio while Chelsy looked out our attic window.

“Looking up at her, I thought it was a wonderfully cute scene, especially when viewed from below. So we planned to revisit the setup that night, where Chelsy and I would pose with binoculars and telescope.

“I thought it was a great concept for an image, because while I see (and create) many stunning astro images, we don’t often see images focusing on people enjoying the act of stargazing and taking in these wondrous sights. So this image would feature a bit of both, and celebrate humans taking wonder at the night sky.

“I setup the shot on a tripod, and my dad, who was a professional photographer in his younger days, was more than competent to snap the shutter for me as Chelsy and I posed for the long exposure upstairs. I love the coppery warm glow from inside the window, the contrast of that glow against the blue sky, the streakiness of the cloud from the long exposure, and the glints of light on the lenses of the binoculars and telescope.”