Galactic talent: Contest showcases best Milky Way photos of the year

Astrophotography is one of the most stunning genres of photography. So much so, that more and more landscape photographers are discovering an irresistible urge to image our home galaxy as it arcs across a dark night sky. In fact, travel and photography blog Capture the Atlas — known for its spectacular imagery — particularly loves to share how amazing the cosmos is through breathtaking Milky Way photos.

Recently, Capture the Atlas released its latest installment of the Milky Way Photographer of the Year astrophotography compilation; and these photographers have clearly mastered their craft. The blog site even published a calendar charting the best days and times to photograph the Milky Way to make it easier for photographers to take more stunning photos of our galaxy. Since our plant is situated in the Orion Arm of a spiral galaxy, sometimes, just sometimes, we can see deep into our galaxy’s centre — a distance of around 25,000 light-years.

Milky Way photo from the Badlands of New Mexico
“Alien Eggs” by Debbie Heyer. Badlands of New Mexico, USA.

This list has become an annual tradition at Capture the Atlas, with editor Dan Zafra not only featuring well-known astrophotographers but also spotlighting new talent. Features photographers for this year’s contest come from 14 different countries, as well as provide Milky Way photos in remote locations like Antarctica.

According to Capture the Atlas: “Photographing the Milky Way is one of the most challenging but rewarding experiences. It requires great planning, and there are always a few technical things to consider. However, seeing the galaxy captured on the screen of your camera is an excitement that is difficult to describe…”

Photo of our galactic centre from Italy
“Base Camp” by Giulio Cobianchi. Dolomites, Italy.
“Good Night Utah”
“Good Night Utah” by Julio Castro. Kanab, Utah, USA.

The Milky Way photos also highlight the adventurous spirit of these travellers and photographers. Whether its climbers scaling a glacier in the Dolomites under the glow of the galaxy or a solitary traveller standing alone in the Sahara, each photographer has a special story to tell. In fact, these stories prove that what we’re looking at is more than a simple photograph, it’s a special memory that can’t be replicated.

If anything, these pictures will certainly be an inspiration to get out in the open and try to get your own glimpse of our beautiful galaxy.

“Milky Way over Parque Nacional del Teide”
“Milky Way over Parque Nacional del Teide” by Mehmet Ergün. Tenerife, Spain.
Astrophotography from the Sahara
“Alone & Together in the Stardust” by Marco Carotenuto. The Sahara desert.
“Gran Firmamento”
“Gran Firmamento” by Jorgelina Alvarez. Marambio Base, Antarctica.
An old monastery under the Milky Way in the Spanish mountains
“Enchanted Monastery” by Ramón Morcillo. Ávila, Spain.